Roadless areas are for elitists

  Recently, Pat Wray claimed that the National Rifle Association does little for hunters (HCN, 1/23/06: What's the NRA's beef with roadless areas?). He is wrong.

The NRA works with federal, state and local legislatures and regulatory agencies to preserve and improve hunting rights and opportunities throughout the country. Wray acknowledged that the NRA is working to protect Sunday hunting, pass No-Net-Hunting-Loss legislation and lower the minimum hunting age.

But the greater part of the NRA’s work was ignored. We led efforts to create dove-hunting seasons in Minnesota and Michigan; we support federal legislation that will open public hunting access on private land; we help state wildlife agencies acquire new public hunting lands; and we are working to guarantee that every piece of public land is open to hunting.

Wray decries the NRA for our opposition to the wholesale declaration of roadless areas across the West. It does not serve the average hunter to have millions of acres of publicly owned land to be virtually inaccessible or to have to quit hunting earlier because hunting land is too rugged to access. Therefore, the NRA works to ensure as many possible hunters have the most hunting opportunities possible. Wray, conversely, wants to ensure that the best hunting is accessible only to him and to those who can afford it.

Dawson R. Hobbs
National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action, Manager of Hunting Policy
Fairfax, Virginia

(The above letter originally appeared in Gun Week magazine, in response to Pat Wray’s Writers on the Range column.)