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Vantage Point: Knowledge is Gear and It's Time to Gear Up!

Smart bowhunters take the time to get informed about every aspect of the outdoors — including the things that are happening in the political arena.

One of the most attractive facets of bowhunting, at least for this bowhunter, is that it's such a gear intensive endeavor. Bowhunting makes other types of hunting look quite simple. Yes, bowhunting can be simplified, but if you're into it seriously you have lots and lots of gear. And that's the fun part.

One of the most important pieces of gear all of us must possess is knowledge. There is much to learn about game, tactics, destinations and all that, but it's also crucial that we know and understand the political forces that ultimately influence our life as bowhunters. In today's world, wildlife managers spend an ever-increasing portion of their time managing people rather than wildlife. Those "people" include hunters, other non-hunting resource users, and politicians who have little understanding of how things really work in the outdoors. It's those politicians I fear most. Once they start delving into wildlife management bad things happen.

Though lawmaking can be as difficult to watch as sausage making, we have no choice but to keep our eyes wide open. We must stay on top of things at the local, state, federal and even worldwide level. And since this is an election year, we must be doubly vigilant because there will be a lot of sausage making going on!

To help you with this huge responsibility I'm going to take the liberty of directing you to a new website, Sportsmen Vote. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you this website was created by InterMedia Outdoors, the parent company of Bowhunter Magazine. That said, I have been genuinely impressed with this site as it grows into what could be a significant entity in the outdoor arena. I really don't need to describe it to you because it is so user-friendly it won't take you but a few clicks to discover the possibilities.

You'll find a section where you can read the stances of the presidential candidates on all sorts of outdoor issues. For example, you'll discover that Rick Santorum doesn't believe in the Conservation Reserve Program, or that Mitt Romney doesn't understand why the federal government owns so much land. And we already know that President Obama doesn't think much can be done about escalating gasoline prices and obscene oil company profits. Does anyone wonder why politicians need watching?

You'll find the latest outdoor-related "Hot Button" news, polls of all kinds, political updates, expert opinions and plenty of places to add your comments and opinions.

I think you will be impressed with the scope of the information available at the Sportsmen Vote website. You can't possibly visit that site without developing a more thorough understanding of "outdoor politics." Just a few minutes a day will help you gear up with some serious, useful knowledge. An informed bowhunter is a more successful bowhunter.

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