Expert Opinions

If you had the power to change any of the challenges facing sportsmen, where would you start?


"I would start by asking every sportsman to have conversations with their family and among their network of friends to build support for shooting and hunting. Many of us don’t take the time to bring what we love to do into the everyday conversations we have at home, at work or in social settings. Getting our friends and family to try shooting and hunting is the most important first step in bringing shooting and hunting back into the mainstream of American culture. Only be increasing the value of shooting and hunting to all Americans can we ensure the future of shooting, hunting and conservation."

Jay McAninch
President & Chief Executive Officer - Archery Trade Association
EDUCATION B.S. 1974 Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, Iowa State University. M.S. 1976 Zoology/Wildlife Management, Ohio State University. Certification - Wildlife Biologist.  1982  The Wildlife Society. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE August 2000 – Present: President/Chief Executive Officer, Archery Trade Association. August 1998 – July 2000: President, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Washington, D.C. January 1989 – July 1998: Wildlife Research Biologist, Minnesota DNR. September 1976 – December 1988: Wildlife Ecologist, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York Botanical Garden PROFESSIONAL AWARDS Special Appreciation Award, Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia, February, 2011. Special Recognition Leadership Award, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 100th Annual Meeting, September, 2010 Muzzy Tall Man Award, Muzzy Products Corporation, 2009 Special Congressional Service Citation, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, 106th Congressional Session, July, 2000. First Honorary Membership, Pope and Young Club.  1996. First Lee Gladfelter Memorial Award for Professional Excellence and Achievement on behalf of Bowhunting. Pope and Young Club.  1995. Special Recognition for Outstanding Leadership and Improvement of Bowhunting Award, Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc. 1995. Outstanding Professional Recognition – White-tailed Deer Research, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. 1995. Exemplary Contributions to America's Bowhunters and the Conservation Movement, American Archery Council.  1995. Special Recognition Award for Deer Wounding Research Study, World Bowhunting Chapter, Safari Club International.  1995. Special Recognition Award for Excellence and Professionalism, Minnesota Fish and Wildlife Employees Association.  Awarded in 1992, 1993. Outstanding Contributions to Fish and Wildlife Management Award, Minnesota Fish and Wildlife Employees Association.  1992. Natural Resource Communication  and Presentation Award, North Dakota Chapter, The Wildlife Society. 1992. Special Meritorious Achievement Award, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  Awarded in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Certificate of Recognition, Northeast Section, The Wildlife Society. 1989. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS I have authored or co-authored 52 publications on deer biology, ecology and behavior, landscape ecology and management, Lyme Disease, urban deer ecology and management and bowhunting and hunting. I have authored or co-authored 3 books and been a Technical Editor for book publishers. I have authored articles for many hunting magazines and had a column for 8 years, “Issues and Answers” for Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine. I authored or co-authored 312 abstracts on deer biology, ecology and behavior, landscape ecology and management, Lyme Disease, and hunting. POLITICAL, LEGAL AND POLICY EXPERIENCE I have been an expert witness in 24 court cases involving urban deer management, bowhunting and hunting programs. I have testified in front of state legislative and Congressional committees, in front of state natural resource and wildlife commissions and boards and in front of county and local government agencies and councils. I have worked with many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, been involved in the development and management of 5 major pieces of legislation that passed the US Congress and were signed by the President. I have attended 3 White House Conservation Conferences, visited the White House on 2 occasions, and have attended meetings with President’s George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"With the mobilization of sportsmen/women, uniting them as one.  This is the key to change.  Until the fishing and hunting community is recognized as a large and powerful voting block that is an active advocate for their sport, we will have limited power for change."

Gordon Robertson
Vice President, Government Affairs - American Sportfishing Association
Gordon Robertson has a natural resources career than spans more than 30 years, much of which has been in natural resource policy, state and federal legislation, as well as administration of fish and wildlife programs. He is currently Vice President of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) in Alexandria, Virginia. The ASA represents the sportfishing industry and has over 900 manufacturing, wholesale, distributor, and retail members. The Association protects its members’ interest for fisheries and angler issues and a variety of trade issues, as well as operating its annual trade show. An avid hunter and angler, Mr. Robertson is an experienced lobbyist and administrator. He is a member of the American Fisheries Society, Wildlife Society and the Society of American Foresters, as well as numerous natural resource and wildlife conservation organizations. He has chaired and served on numerous national committees and task forces that have helped shape issues ranging from wilderness management to assuring that dollars paid by manufacturers and hunters and anglers remain dedicated to the purpose of sound fish and wildlife programs. Throughout his career, he has been involved in key federal and state legislative and policy decisions for the benefit of anglers and hunters and the resources they pursue. Prior to joining the American Sportfishing Association Robertson, was Deputy Chief of the fish and wildlife program of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. He previously held the position of Legislative Counsel for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C.; Northeast Representative for the Wildlife Management Institute; Conservation Biologist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife; and Service Forester for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. A native of West Virginia, Robertson received both his bachelor’s degree in Forestry with an emphasis on wildlife management, and his master’s degree in wildlife management from West Virginia University. He has been recognized at the national and regional level for his contributions to resource management and civic activity.

"Thomas Jefferson said it best: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Anglers, hunters and fishing and hunting businesses help pay for conservation through license fees, self-imposed manufacturer excise taxes on sporting equipment, direct financial donations and by annually volunteering more time to fish and wildlife restoration efforts than all other groups combined. This support results in multiple benefits to many non-game fish and wildlife species in all 50 states, to the state natural resource agencies, and to the American public in general.  We need to do a better job of telling our story."

Phil Morlock
Director of Environmental Affairs - Shimano, Inc.
As Director of Environmental Affairs for Shimano in the U.S. and Canada, Phil Morlock oversees Shimano’s environmental stewardship programs in both the fishing and bike divisions, and represents the company in advocacy issues with federal, state and provincial governments and natural resource agencies in the U.S. and Canada. He is frequently in Washington working with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation as a BOD member  and groups like the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) (serving as Chairman of the ASA Government Affairs Committee on Freshwater Issues) and as a BOD member of the Center for Coastal Conservation to advance  and protect the rights and privileges of all recreational anglers. As an avid angler and hunter Mr. Morlock represents the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) and serves as Chair of the Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada in dealing with Canada’s Parliament.  Mr. Morlock has dedicated countless hours to the issues facing sportsmen on both sides of the border and received the 2008 CSIA Chairman’s Award for his work to establish the Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus, modeled after the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.

"We need to dispel the myth that hunters, trappers and anglers only take game from our lands and waters with no greater public benefit. Seventy-five years ago, the conservation community supported the use of funds from an excise tax on sporting equipment exclusively by state fish and wildlife agencies to professionally manage fish and wildlife populations and provide access for sportsmen and the larger public to enjoy the benefits of this management. Accordingly, these groups produced the American System of Conservation Funding. This user pays-public benefits funding strategy has produced numerous benefits that far exceed our own personal gains, including: abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, wetland protection and its associated water filtration and flood retention functions, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges, and boating access facilities that are available for the enjoyment of the entirety of the American public – hunters and non-hunters alike."

Jeff Crane
President - Congressional Sportsman Foundation
Jeff Crane joined Congressional Sportsman Foundation (CSF) in 2002 and brings thirty years of experience in on-the-ground natural resource management and policy expertise at the federal, state and international levels. A life-long outdoorsman, Jeff spent five years working in the US Congress and was instrumental in establishing the Maryland legislative sportsmen's caucus prior to joining CSF.  In addition he has experience developing wildlife habitat management plans in the United States and South Africa. During his eight years in Africa, Jeff obtained his professional hunter's license and guided hunts for big game animals. Jeff holds a BA in political science and an MBA. At the CSF, Jeff is the primary interface with the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. In this role, he helps develop policy, facilitate meetings and coordinate legislative strategy with legislative staff, members of the Caucus and the conservation community. Jeff also oversees CSF's State Caucus programs. Jeff Crane is the only person to sit on both the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC) and on the Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC), federal advisory councils that report to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior. In addition, Jeff is a member of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) serving as its Chairman in 2005.  He is a member of the Government Affairs Committee for Safari Club International (SCI) and the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee for the National Rifle Association (NRA).

"Elect a pro-gun President."

Rick Van Etten
Editor - Gun Dog
Rick Van Etten, editor of Gun Dog, graduated from Western Illinois University with a B.A. in communications and an M.A. in English. A lifelong outdoors enthusiast, Rick has hunted upland gamebirds and waterfowl throughout North America with all breeds of sporting dogs, including his own field-bred Irish setters. He lives in Iowa, where he is currently introducing Mattie, his latest setter puppy, to Hawkeye ringnecks.

"Recognize and increase our sporting traditions with any takings based on sustainability and solid values."

Karl Wickstrom
Founder/Editor-in-Chief - Florida Sportsman
Karl Wickstrom, born Moline, IL, Sept. 20, 1935, grad. University of Florida BSJ, 1957: U.S. Air Force reserve 1958-1966; reporter/editor Orlando Sentinel, 1958-59; writer, The Miami Herald 1960-68, first place investigative reporting Florida Associate Press, 1966, national first place public service, Sigma Delta Chi journalism society. Executive asst., The Florida Senate, 1967; Founded Wickstrom Publishers, 1968, publishing Aloft Magazine for National Airlines passengers, Florida Sportsman Magazine. Titles presented more than 25 awards, Florida Magazine Assn., Florida Outdoor Writers Assn. Continuous publishing of magazine-generated conservation content and Openers editorials, summarized separately as Florida Sportsman’s Conservation Record. Initiated gill-net ban constitutional amendment campaign, adopted ’95; recognized as man of year by IGFA and nationally by the American Sportfishing Assn. and several other organizations. Board member of constitutional amendment campaigns to require that polluters  pay for Everglades degradation, and unification of fresh and saltwater management under one agency. A founder/honorary chair, vp, of Florida Conservation Assn./Coastal Conservation Assn., Appointed to governor’s Commission on the Future of the Environment; board member National Coalition for Marine Conservation, board member Florida Oceanographic Society, vp, Rivers Coalition of Martin/St. Lucie County. Remains as founder/editor-in-chief, Florida Sportsman.

"Inform local sportsmen and women of both local and national issues of importance."

Steve Mealey
Vice President for Conservation - Boone and Crockett Club
Born: Waldport, Oregon, 1942. Raised: Sweet Home & Blue River, Oregon. Education: BA Pol. Sci., U of O, 1964; BS Forestry, U of Idaho, 1973; MS Wildlife Mgmt., Mont. State Univ., 1975. Work Experience: US Air Force Intelligence Officer, 1964-68; Big Game Hunting and River Outfitter and Guide, Salmon, Idaho, 1968-72; Grizzly Bear Researcher, Wyoming and Montana 1975-77; US Forest Service, 1977-97 (positions included wildlife biologist, forest supervisor on Shoshone and Boise National Forests, co-leader of Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, Assistant Director of Wildlife and Fish, and Assistant Chief for Strategic Planning); Director, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 1997-99; Executive Director, Boone and Crockett Club, 1999-2001, and Manager of Wildlife, Watersheds, and Aquatic Ecology, Boise Cascade Corporation, 2001-2005. Current Positions: Retired; President, Mealey Timber Company; Honorary Life Member, Boone and Crockett Club; Vice President for Conservation, Boone and Crockett Club. Home: On the McKenzie River near Leaburg, Oregon. Family: Married since 1964 to Marty; 3 grown children, and 3 grandchildren  

"I’d work toward more pro-sportsman representation at all levels of government, from local right up to federal. You can’t begin to fix big problems without the political will to do so, and that will is sadly missing in many of our leaders."

Gordon Whittington
Editor-in-Chief - North American Whitetail
Gordon Whittington has been an avid deer hunter for more than 50 years, the last 28 of those while associated with North American Whitetail. His passion for whitetails has led him to hunt and observe them in nearly 40 states and provinces from northeastern Canada to Mexico and even New Zealand. Gordon edited NAW for almost two decades and currently serves as editor in chief. In addition to being a regular contributor to the magazine and a founding cast member of both NAW TV and Dr. Deer, Gordon is a popular seminar speaker and book author on a broad range of topics associated with deer hunting and management.

"Get every hunter and shooter to get two others to become lifelong participants in our sports."

Steve Sanetti
President & CEO - NSSF
Prior to becoming President and CEO of the NSSF in May, 2008, Steve culminated his 28 year career at Ruger with a five year term as its President and Chief Operating Officer. He has served on the boards of the NSSF, SAAMI, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, and the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. A hunter and target shooter since his college years on the VMI Rifle Team, he is an avid firearms collector, NRA Certified Rifle, Pistol and Home Firearms Safety Instructor, and a Technical Advisor to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. Steve is the recipient of the 2004 Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Award, a professional member of the Boone & Crockett Club and a member of the Board of Firearms Advisors for the Cody Firearms Museum.

"I would develop a market system that identifies and monetizes the public benefits of natural resource systems, i.e. the ecological services that are provided, such as clean air, clean water, carbon sequestration, and flood control.  In this way, what we treasure would become a genuine component of resource policy decisions."

Dr. Steve Williams
President - Wildlife Management Institute
Steve Williams is the President of the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), a 101-year old, non-profit conservation organization dedicated to science-based, professional wildlife management.  WMI provides: science and management support, program review and policy development advice, conservation information and education, conservation project administration, and service to our profession and partners. As President of WMI, Steve serves on the Board of Directors for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, National Conservation Leadership Institute, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partners, and is a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club and The Wildlife Society. Prior to joining WMI, Steve served as Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Assistant Director for Wildlife and Deer Project Leader of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. from the University of North Dakota.

"I would begin by emphasizing the importance of conservation and outdoor recreation to our economy now, and in the future.  I would make sure that conservation is not defunded as collateral damage in our current “deficit wars.”  I would make sure that some of this money goes to planning for our land and water use in the future so a robust wildlife resource will be conserved in the future to continue to support outdoor recreation and our hunting/fishing heritage."

Jim Martin
Conservation Director, Berkley Conservation Institute - Pure Fishing
Jim Martin retired after 30 years with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and now works as conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute, a branch of Pure Fishing.  Pure Fishing is the largest fishing tackle company in the World and is an industry leader in conservation advocacy. During his career with ODFW, Jim spent six years as chief of fisheries and three years as salmon advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber.  Jim led the team that developed the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, a state conservation plan to address Endangered Species and clean water issues in Oregon. Jim has a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Masters Degree in Fisheries from Oregon State University. Jim formerly held a courtesy appointment at OSU, where he taught Natural Resource Problem Solving in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Jim is the former Chairman of the Board of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.   He is a science and policy advisor for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Assn.  In 2005, Jim was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.  He was recognized for lifetime achievement as an alumni fellow by Oregon State University in November, 2011. Jim is a lifelong sportsman and loves salmon, ducks and Labrador Retrievers.  He lives in the small community of Mulino, about 15 miles south of Portland, Oregon.  He shares his dream home in the country with his wife of 43 years, Carolyn, and Kodiak and Yukon, the wonderdogs.

7 Responses
  • Penn

    Environmental stability must be achieved through educating the youth of America. Some sort of time line should be produced to illustrate how our country has change over the years in this area to Jeff Crane’s point to dispel the myths, which surround how sportsmen have treated the environment. This time line should be a part of the curriculum in every K-12 classroom in the US.

  • Donald Chambliss

    I would ban the sale of grouper and snapper for 3 years and and seperate the head boats from recreational quotas. Have all boats lanch from listed areas and pay the owners by adding to our fishing license a fee to count and weigh all fish caught.(like we do deer) Then you would have real science!

  • Rez Goodpace

    Disqualify all activist judges from serving on the bench, impose lengthy mandatory imprisonment for all elected officials conspiring with lobbyists, limit Corporations and PACs to $1000 contributions and require full disclosure of corporate and private sponsorship of public forums, political action committees and political party affiliations.

    • greg

      best reply yet. right on the money! literally.

  • terry bale

    get as many folks as you can to vote, vote right & vote often

  • Jack

    Ref: 2nd Amendment… The paragraph above “…the right to keep and bear arms. .” says “…a well regulated militia.” Have every state governor issue state militia cards (nominal $5.00) to all citizens who (1) have a valid state drivers license — with photo, (2) are registered voters, and (3) are not convicted felons. This should stop all the damned nonsense about gun laws! We would all be militia members. If someone does not want to have a gun, so be it. During a time of conflict, some civilians could choose to be food handlers or medical assistants.

  • randall

    we need to clean out D.C. and restart with people that can use there head for something other holding there ears apart. . we need some new ideas to get this country back on track. srink the size of goverment to usable level . guns DO NOT kill people . bad thinking people kill people .

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