Expert Opinions

Why is it important for sportsmen to register and vote?


"Sportsmen and sportswomen simply must have their voices heard! In a world of increasing urbanization and escalating pressure on access to public lands, our politicians on both sides of the aisle must hear from all of us at the ballot box. Additionally, we have a proven track record of influence in this regard. The election of George W. Bush was certainly determined by sportsmen and sportswomen as evidenced in public statements by Al Gore."

Thomas L. Millner
President and Chief Executive Officer - Cabela's
Thomas L. Millner has been the President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of Cabela's since April 2009. Mr. Millner was the Chief Executive Officer of Remington Arms Company, Inc., a leading manufacturer of firearms and ammunition, from April 1999 until March 2009 and was a director of Remington from June 1994 until March 2009. From December 2008 until March 2009, Mr. Millner also served as Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Group, Inc., a holding company, which directly or indirectly owns Remington and related companies. Mr. Millner served as President of Remington from May 1994 to May 2007. Mr. Millner served as a director of Stanley Furniture Company, Inc. from 1999 to March 2011 and Lazy Days’ R.V. Center, Inc. from 2005 to June 2009.

"Every vote counts. More important, if sportsmen aren’t participants in the process, we don’t have much credibility when we voice our concerns over the actions and outcomes generated by elected officials at all levels."

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.

"If you don’t vote, your voice is lost.  Anglers and hunters need to select the candidate they believe will best advance the nation and the model of conservation that perpetuates a healthy fish and wildlife resource and access to those public resources."

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.

"If America’s 50 million anglers and hunters stand together and “Vote Our Sport”, we can affect the outcome of any election at any level of government—municipal, state or federal. The people we elect in 2012 will, more than any time in history, determine much of the future of fishing and hunting in America. If we don’t take the time to register and vote, it could well be the most costly time we ever saved."

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.

"Encouraging sportsmen’s involvement in the political process is an important method for preserving and promoting our outdoor heritage. Increased participation helps ensure that the sportsmen’s voice is heard, particularly at the ballot box, which also strengthens the sportsmen’s ability to collectively advance a pro-sportsmen’s agenda. Facilitating voter registration for sportsmen at the time they purchase their sportsmen’s licenses is one way to increase the number of registered sportsmen voters."

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).

"With a current five-to-four conservative majority on the Court, it’s obvious the appointment of one or more liberal justices to the Court—something almost certain to happen if President Obama is re-elected—could swing all gun-rights decisions toward more restrictions."

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.

"If you don’t participate in the process, it’s hard to complain about the results! You can bet the enemies of sportsmen will be well mobilized in November, and we should be, too."

Christian Berg
Editor - Petersen's Bowhunting
Christian Berg is editor of Petersen’s BOWHUNTING. Berg is an avid hunter and angler, but his biggest outdoor passion is getting close to trophy whitetails with bow in hand. When he’s not hunting or working at “The Modern Bowhunting Authority,” Berg enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, two sons and Goldie, his shed-hunting Labrador retriever.

"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.

"To exercise a fundamental democratic right and responsibility; influence important conservation issues."

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  

"All the complaining in the world won’t do any good unless we do something about things. And the one way we all have an equal voice is to vote!"

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.

"Sportsmen and women comprise a small percentage of the electorate.  In order for our concerns and priorities to receive attention, we must register, vote, and demand representation on issues that are important to ourselves, our families, and our friends.  In the last few elections, sportsmen and women have been specifically courted by both political parties.  This fact is a testament to the recognition that we do register and vote in a higher proportion than other interest groups in the electorate."

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.

"Because sportsmen and women can make a difference in who is elected to the House, Senate and the Presidency….and the conversation between the voters and the candidates needs to include conservation issues and funding priorities.  60 million votes are still very significant in America’s political landscape…and sportsmen and women are often very pragmatic and bipartisan in nature. Candidates need to hear from sportsmen and women and they need to know what is important to the sporting public.  If we don’t register, we can’t vote. And if we don’t vote, we aren’t much of a priority in the political process.  If hunting and fishing is considered a non-priority, we will lose out in the competition for attention and funding."

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.

5 Responses
  • Joe Salerno

    It’s important for everyone to vote and have your say on values and issues important to you and the country. It’s an expression of you beliefs and concerns for your community and country.

  • Donald Chambliss

    Take the power away from Washington and the commerical fisheries—does anyone remember when Florida finally banned the nets and the fish came back?

  • terry bale

    every election is important, your local school boards, county commissioners, & state reps. look at 2006 & 2008. it`s why we are in such trouble today, voting is the only way to change this. never give up and pass the word.

  • Walkerman

    A person who does not vote automatically gives a vote to the other side and should not complain about the outcome.

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