The Michigan Legislature has passed a bill, The Michigan Wildlife Management Public Education Fund, which attempts 'to sell the public on the benefits of hunting.' It will be financed by increased fees for hunting and fishing licenses.
Well, where to start? To begin with, and we know before we say this that it's going to draw the ire of hunters and fishermen, we don't really see the point in hunting and fishing in this day and age, at least in the western world. We're not saying it's wrong either, but it surely can't be about getting food. That's much more easily done by a trip to Meijer's, and with a lot less trouble and expense. Yes, we know that it's fun for hunters, and that's as may be. It still seems like a lot of trouble, and it concerns us that so many get a thrill from a kill, so to speak. Still, so long as they properly harvest what they hunt we see no reason to condemn the practice.
It's good to hear that the Fund will be financed through hunting and fishing licenses, that is, by those who hunt and fish rather than through the general taxes. If a government is going to be involved in the hunting business then at least only those already involved should have to pay the higher fees. It would be nice if the government would in like manner apply that logic to state parks and increase the fees to where only those who used them funded them. But, oh dear, we've probably just offended another group, haven't we?
It remains to ask, though, why 'sell' the public on hunting at all? The practice doesn't appear to need selling. If it's to convince the populace of the need to thin herds or ward off predators, well, that strikes us as a different matter. Yet even there, can we be so sure the government knows what it's doing? Surely persons can defend themselves and their property as need be...until we remember all the regulations involved with hunting, fishing, and self defense. It seems we can't just shoot predatory animals without Lansing's approval, if the wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula outcry means anything. And thinning herds must be terribly problematic for anyone less than a higher organized body, at least in the minds of those in legislatures. So what's the real answer?
As with so many issues, it's to let the people alone to hunt, fish, and repel dangerous creatures. But that's just far too simple of an idea for a government to grasp, isn't it?