It’s very easy to ignore national politics. Even when those matters are related to the hunting and fishing communities.
“The swamp,” as Washington, D.C., has become known, is so messed up that it’s tempting to put your head in the sand and just go to the camp.
I admit I’m all too often in this crowd, tiring of the constant bickering and endless stream of emails sounding the alarm. Over and over again.
As with Henny Penny constantly yelling the sky is falling, we easily become deaf to the warnings — so we’re caught off-guard when something untoward actually happens.
But one last-minute action by the administration of President Barrack Obama before handing over the reins of the country to President Donald Trump shows we really should be paying attention — and be activists to protect our interests as outdoorsmen.
With but a day remaining in Obama’s tenure, leaders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an edict phasing out the use of lead fishing tackle and ammunition on hundreds of thousands of acres of land under the agency’s management.
Yes, we’re OK with the lead ban for waterfowl, but fishing, squirrel hunting and shooting rabbits? Ridiculous.
To be sure, there already are similar bans on hunting at national wildlife refuges. For instance, if you squirrel hunt on Cat Island NWR, you already have to use non-toxic shot.
However, this action dramatically expands the lead assault.
To bring it home to our backyard: Delta National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the Mississippi River teems with bass, redfish and speckled trout.
But under this action, you would likely no longer be able to just grab some spinnerbaits off your shelf and head down to tussle with bass and redfish.
Instead, you would have to ensure the models you packed in the boat are lead free.
Such a mandate is insane. Are lures lost while fishing? Certainly. Are there enough lost to up the odds that some poor bottom-feeding bird or fish contracts lead poisoning? Not hardly.
And the impacts are more than an inconvenience. If fully implemented, it would force the entire industry to consider moving away from lead — and anyone who fishes with tungsten weights knows just how expensive non-toxic options can be.
President Trump moved quickly to stop a number of such last-minute policy changes from being implemented.
It’s time we make enough noise that he hears and buries this idiotic plan.