Bowhunters Unite

By Dwight Schuh, Editor

In the March/April 2005 issue of Bowhunter, M.R. James wrote an editorial alerting you to the merger of two animal-rights groups, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Fund for Animals. This wealthy antihunting alliance has placed bowhunting at the top of its hit list.

To survive, bowhunters cannot sit passively by, hoping things will turn out okay. We must act. And we are. Led by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), a number of hunting organizations, including Bowhunter Magazine, met in January to launch the Bowhunter Rights Coalition (BRC).

"The BRC will build a grassroots network capable of defending against attacks in courts, in legislatures, and at ballot boxes," said Rick Story, Senior Vice President of the USSA. "The BRC's value will be in communicating effectively and responding rapidly."

We strongly urge you to support the BRC (see USSA below for contact info), as well as other organizations that promote and fight for bowhunting. Following are a few such groups.

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance The USSA defends the rights of hunters, fishermen, trappers, and wildlife professionals through coalition building, lobbying, ballot issues, and legislative and government relations. Formerly known as the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America, the USSA has promoted and defended hunters since 1978. The USSA is now preparing a website for the Bowhunter Rights Coalition to keep hunters informed and to provide a forum for discussion of bowhunting issues. Contact: USSA, 801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229; (614) 888-4868; www.ussportsmen.org.

Pope and Young Club Established in 1961 as a nonprofit scientific organization, P&Y advocates fair chase hunting and sound conservation. Through its Records Program, the Club promotes quality bowhunting and gathers scientific data on North American big game taken with bow and arrow. The Club's Conservation Program mission statement reads: "To protect the future of our bowhunting heritage and promote the conservation and welfare of habitat and wildlife." In recent years, P&Y has annually awarded more than $80,000 to habitat conservation, research, and education. Contact: P&Y, 273 Mill Creek Road, PO Box 548, Chatfield, MN 55923; (507) 867-4144; pyclub@isl.net; www.pope-young.org.

National Bowhunter Education Foundation In 1979, the NBEF formally adopted avid bowhunter Bill Wadsworth's International Bowhunter Education Program. Wadsworth believed that education was the key to saving bowhunting, and that belief remains the basis for the NBEF mission today. By teaching safety, ethics, and successful techniques, Bowhunter Education has helped deter antihunters' efforts to eliminate bowhunting. The NBEF is updating its materials to stay current, and it is emphasizing advanced classes and mentoring curricula to help retain existing bowhunters. Contact: NBEF, PO Box 180757, Fort Smith, AR 72918; (479) 649-9036; www.nbef.org; mbentz@nbef.org.

SCI Safari Club International shapes policies and legislation that protect the freedom to hunt locally and worldwide. In recent years, SCI has developed a strong bowhunting contingent that maintains a bowhunting record book and fights for the rights of bowhunters. SCI also contributes heavily to humanitarian efforts, such as the Tsunami Disaster Relief '04. Contact: SCI, 4800 West Gates Pass Road, Tucson, AZ 85745-9490; (520) 620-1220; www.safariclub.org.

International Bowhunting Organization The IBO was created in 1984 to help secure the future of bowhunting for future generations. Although known primarily for its national 3-D tournaments, IBO has a much larger mission, as seen in its statement of purpose, which reads: "To promote, encourage and foster the sport of bowhunting; further bowhunter education; act as a political coordinator and liaison for the protection and advancement of bowhunting; function as a clearinghouse for essential bowhunter information; and adhere to the basic ideal of the unification of bowhunters." Contact: IBO, PO Box 398, Vermilion, OH 44089; (440) 967-2137; www.ibo.net; ibo@ibo.net.

Archery Trade Association Formerly called AMO (Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization), the ATA directs the industry's annual archery and bowhunting trade show and provides core funding and direction for two charitable, tax-free foundations critical to the future of archery and bowhunting: ArrowSport, and the Bowhunting Preservation Alliance (BPA). ArrowSport concentrates on growing the sport of archery, while the BPA protects bowhunting by connecting to other organizations in the hunting, conservation, and recreational communities. Contact: www.archerytrade.org; info@archerytrade.org.

State Organizations State bowhunting organizations literally are the grassroots. All bowhunters should support such groups within their own states as well as states in which they hunt. To get information on state organizations, visit www.bowsite.com. The Bowsite also is an active supporter of the Bowhunter Rights Coalition.

Many other worthy hunting and conservation organizations merit support, but those mentioned above are core groups in the mounting fight for bowhunting. We at Bowhunter heartily support them, and we encourage you to do the same.

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