Tom wrote this to an even better- known hunter:
I guess I don’t see a downside to “saying something.” Fear of looking ineffectual? Isn’t that exactly what we are being by not at least trying?
Slowly, by barking from the end of my chain, I have caught the attention of the former US ambassador to Burkina Faso (I will copy you on our e-mails) and Congressional staffers on the Hill and the US embassy in Ouagadougou. Sound pathetic? Perhaps, but I see progress.
OK, tune up the harps, what did Theodore Roosevelt hope to accomplish by raising the issue of saving North American big-game through the Boone & Crockett Club in 1887, or your country’s own John Harkin in the early 20th century? For that matter, what good did “Walden” or the writings of John Muir or “A Sand County Almanac” or Ding Darling’s cartoons do for shaping modern conservation? On the other hand, think of the immeasurable havoc “Guns of Autumn” continues to wreak upon us.
I think that before people act, they need to have an idea about what they are acting for. And I believe that hunter’s like you can help foster that idea.
Speaking entirely for myself, I feel obligated to raise this matter, even if nothing concrete comes of it. I owe habitat and wildlife and native peoples and, yes, the spirit of the hunt; and it’s time to try to repay.
We are certainly quick enough to rail against anti-hunters and PETA and “emotion-based” wildlife management and about all the “chassis,” to turn to O’Casey, in the world we once hunted so freely and all the other usual suspects when we think, often rightly, that they threaten hunting, even if that only amounts to “Oh, I didn’t know. Too bad…what’s for dessert.”
If you want a specific to-do list, and I certainly should have one to offer, start by informing at least the following of this, to make sure they are aware, or should that be “woke,” when it comes to Burkina Faso?:
Safari Club International
Dallas Safari Club
Boone and Crockett Club
Wild Sheep Foundation
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Your Congressional delegation–or for you your Parliamentary one
Public figures (if you want to write the Prince of Wales, you must address the envelope by hand, include your initials in the lower left corner, and use “Dear Sir” for the salutation, to stand a ghost of a chance of its reaching his own desk and not halting at some equerry’s)
Fellow hunters, especially the rich ones, and in particular those looking for a”cause”
For myself, I have done that, and am even contemplating contacting, God forbid, the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Clinton Foundation. If I could get Sarah McLachlan to write a song about Burkina Faso, I’d ask her, too.
I can understand your thinking I’m chasing my tail, or that I’m purely delusional. I won’t argue with you about either score. Maybe when it comes to caring about the situation in Burkina Faso, you had to be there. I have been there, as have you, and calling it “beautiful” country is not enough for me. But I can only speak for myself about speaking for Burkina Faso.
If you want a completely grandiose, probably megalomaniacal, statement about what we may ultimately stand to lose when Burkina Faso burns is the entire system of hunting-based conservation in Africa that we have so fervently championed now for generations. And that for some reason, in this case, we seen disinclined to voice our support for, if by nothing else than decrying its destruction.
THE BATTLE CONTINUES…
He then got this from a former ambassador, and also got Doug Peacock, through me:
Which narrative do you want me to send to the Embassy? This email or the concern expressed in a document you send to various places?
World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Clinton Foundation, and multiple others are attempting to address many of these issues. Of course most need public support. They do in fact have programs to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with environment and wildlife, as well as programs to educate the populace and do such things as micro-finance that helps women, especially, to contribute to their family. It has long been proven that focusing on girls’ education will make a big difference in population, economy, good governance and health. And good governance includes environment and wildlife. We were making extremely good progress in Malawi on strengthening the country’s policies and processes related to the environment and wildlife management. Funding was cut last year however.
I urge you to continue looking at what you and others with the same passion can do to make a difference short term and long term.