This photo was taken during an elk hunt at Opal Butte Outfitters in September 2017. Opal Butte specializes in hunting elk and mule deer and is located in northeastern Oregon. (Photo by Drew Pellman)

Earlier this summer, to many hunters and fishermen living outside the beautiful state of Oregon, it might have sounded like a slapstick cartoon straight out of Saturday morning children’s television programming.

Except that the craziness of the Oregon Initiative Petition 13 (PI 13) was very real, as supporters of the initiative seek to make Oregon a “sanctuary state” for animals and in so doing have created a dangerous precedent in the rest of the United States.

What exactly is IP 13, you might ask?

Specifically, according to Sportsmen’s Alliance, “The Oregon Initiative Petition 13 (IP 13) is an anti-hunting, anti-agriculture voting effort that will make harvesting any fish or game a crime. IP 13, known as the Abuse, Neglect and Aggression Exemptions Amendment and Improvement Act, will prohibit the harvesting of any animal by hunting, fishing and trapping and will only allow a self-defense exception. It will also criminalize common husbandry practices, slaughter for food and common husbandry practices, such as artificial insemination.

“Supporters of the initiative have until July 8, 2022 to collect 112,000 valid signatures for it to be eligible for the November 2022 ballot.”

What does it all mean? Simply this according to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, that if passed, “… IP 13 would prohibit harming or killing all mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians, unless it occurs as an act of self-defense. In addition to banning hunting and fishing, this radical initiative would have an impact on current animal husbandry practices, research and education. “

Pretty sobering stuff. While the Oregon initiative may initially have sounded like humor straight out of the weekend’s funny papers, the truth is that now there really is a safe falling from the sky here and what It is for Oregon outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy some of the best big game hunting, waterfowl, highland bird hunting, and fishing on private, state and federal lands.

This word comes from CSF, which noted a few days ago that the IP 13 initiative comes from End Animal Cruelty, a group of animal rights activists in Oregon.

According to the CSF press release earlier this week, this group’s efforts received approval from the Oregon Secretary of State on July 15, allowing the signature-gathering process to begin trying to qualify IP 13. for the 2022 poll.

If the group can muster the required 112,000 signatures by next July, IP 13 will no longer make Oregon’s outdoor crowd laugh, instead heading towards the November 2022 ballot where voters will decide the fate of the hunt. , fishing and agriculture. in the state.

As the shadow of safety falls and the idea of ​​ballot box biology begins to grow, now is no time for athletes in Oregon and across the country to turn around and run. In fact, it’s time to dig in and embrace the fight, because it all depends on the outcome of it all.

What is in danger of being lost if IP 13 were to somehow go to the polls and be adopted? In short, everything if you care about the future of wildlife and wildlife conservation in Oregon, and potentially, elsewhere.

Why is that? As the CSF points out, “if adopted, PI 13 would end all hunting, fishing and trapping activities, which would have an immediate impact on the 940,000 Oregon athletes who participate in the full. air to support conservation efforts, the food supply and tradition. “

And then there’s the economic cost of Oregon’s fish and wildlife management, huge numbers even at a time when little seems to surprise in daily news cycles.

“The proposed initiative would also have a significant impact on the state’s ability to manage and protect its natural resources, wildlife and public lands,” notes the CSF press release. “Without the income generated by athletes through the sale of licenses and tags, as well as the (excise tax) income generated by Pittman-Robertson for sports-related purchases, ODFW would see its budget significantly reduced. by almost half. ODFW, the primary stewards of our state’s wildlife protection and enhancement and habitat, would lose over $ 50 million a year just on sales of hunting and fishing licenses. “

How is this money collected? As many outdoor enthusiasts know, the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid for Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingell-Johnson / Wallop-Breaux Federal Act on Sport Fish Restoration Assistance were authorized by Congress years ago and have received a number of amendments over the years.

But the basic idea has never changed, that thanks to this legislation, American sportsmen will contribute through excise taxes on various sports equipment, firearms and ammunition, and fishing tackle, to help to provide essential funding for state conservation efforts and outdoor activities. leisure projects.

As Ducks Unlimited noted a few years ago, with the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act at the height of the Dust Bowl and American Great Depression era, the conservation foresight of lawmakers who have approved the bill is simply amazing and still worth celebrating to this day.

Why? Money is one obvious reason, but the other is that legislation has long been seen as the foundation of fish and wildlife conservation efforts across the United States, efforts that have seen many wildlife rebound from the edge of total loss to become prosperous parts of the modern landscape.

This includes Oregon, by the way, where the Sport Fish Restoration Grant funding for fiscal 2020 was $ 7,777,008; Wildlife restoration grant funding for fiscal year 2020 was $ 14,373,165; and the total amount of grants awarded for fiscal 2020 was $ 22,150,173.

Even Scrooge McDuck would smile at those numbers. And many more across America are doing it too, as every annual chapter in the ongoing saga of the North American model of wildlife conservation is successfully written year after year.

“The firearms and ammunition industry is a long-time and proud contributor to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust,” said Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation Lawrence G. Keane in the Home Office press release, noting last year’s disbursements. to state agencies, figures that amounted to over $ 1 billion.

“Our industry, in partnership with the Home Office, plays a critical role in sustaining the North American model of wildlife conservation,” Keane continued. “This partnership demonstrates that investing in our wildlife and the habitats in which they thrive pays dividends for the outdoor men and women of tomorrow.

“Over 80 years ago, firearms and ammunition manufacturers had the foresight to recognize the importance of industry’s partnership with government, which has contributed to more than 12.5 billions of dollars in wildlife restoration since 1937. the plains, the white-tailed deer in our woods, have opened millions of acres to public access by hunters and fishermen and have inspired environmentalists for generations to come .

At last check, Oregon received such funding for the conservation of wildlife and the success of America’s fish and wildlife species. As is the case elsewhere, these funds are still very much needed in Beaver State.

Why? Because while many government ideas don’t work very well these days, the North American model of wildlife conservation clearly does.

“The Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson sport licensing funds are the lifeblood of national fish and wildlife agencies,” CSF President Jeff Crane noted in the DOI press release. mentioned above. “These funds – generated only by athletes – often represent 80% or more of the revenues of national fisheries and wildlife agencies and are of crucial importance in ensuring the completion of conservation, research and conservation projects. access to the field. “

As noted elsewhere, the financial numbers for all of this are huge. In fact, the CSF notes that more than $ 71 billion has been generated by this federal funding over the years, money that state fishing and wildlife agencies – like the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. from Oregon – have received.

Change of pocket, eh? Barely, and America’s fish and wildlife are the beneficiaries, including those that live within the borders of the Beaver State.

What has such money actually accomplished in the state of Oregon? Well, according to the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, these funds are credited with helping restore elk, cougar, bighorn sheep, salmon, rainbow trout and interior redbanded trout, among other species. The state agency also notes that these funds have also helped the state secure and conserve approximately 200,000 acres of land, state wildlife areas managed exclusively for outdoor recreation and habitat needs. from wildlife.

But now all of that is in danger of being lost if IP 13 somehow goes to the ballot and is passed.

Because if the safe really crashes to the ground and opens, there will be no more Scrooge McDuck level funds, only a memory of what once was thanks to the most successful wildlife conservation model. in the world – a model that has worked for over 90 years now.

It cannot be lost and there is a lot of hard work to be done to ensure that it does not happen. Stay tuned Petersen’s bow hunt while we work to keep you informed and show what you can do to help.