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No 'Buck Fever' this Season--Sportsmen Line Up for Bennet

5:42 PM ET, 10/26/2010
Snow is draping the mountains as autumn colors still frame the valleys, now filling up with hunters. For many who frequent Pols this time of year is all about elections--but for many who may not regularly grace our boards, it's all about hunting season.

Sportsmen of course have a long history as conservationists. Without untrammeled, healthy habitat and undammed, wild streams wildlife and fish suffer.  

Without the great Colorado backcountry framing their hunt, for many the trip to the Western Slope or to the Centennial State would not be worth the effort.  Hunting is a Colorado tradition and sportsmen are among some of the fiercest defenders of our state's wild and undeveloped places.

Understanding this need for strong stewardship, many sportsmen have come to realize that Colorado's Republicans do not represent them well on these issues.

As a strong conservationist, Sen. Bennet  has won the support of many who make the health of our lands and environment a priority.  

As sportsmen we follow one general rule:  The passion for the rod and gun must be equally matched by a passion for conservation.  We feel Senator Bennet strikes that balance in a way that will best address the 21st Century challenges hunters and anglers in Colorado face.

Bull Moose Sportsmen Alliance Action Fund

The Bull Moose Sportsmen Alliance Action Fund is up with radio ads and out with mailers supporting Sen. Bennet.

Although Ken Buck got the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (along with a strong rebuke from one of its board members), many sportsmen understand protecting their sport is not only about protecting their 2nd amendment rights but also about preserving healthy habitat and hunting lands.  

In considering their endorsement, the Bull Moose Alliance looked at both 2nd amendment and conservation issues, according to a background document the group provided to media:

Senator Bennet has demonstrated strong support for our Second Amendment rights, including on key NRA issues such as:

1. Voting to allow firearms to be in checked baggage on Amtrak
2. Voting to allow the carry of firearms in National Parks
3. Voting to support the Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act

Senator Bennet is also a cosponsor of the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act - a bill highlighted by the NRA.  The legislation would provide more flexible funding for public shooting ranges and protect the government's liability for shooting ranges constructed, for instance, on lands owned by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).  (The USFS in Colorado currently uses the liability issue as an excuse to roadblock more appropriate ranges constructed on their lands.)  

Senator Bennet has also demonstrated strong support for conservation measures, including those supported by some of our largest sportsmen conservation organizations:
1. Cosponsoring the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act
2. Cosponsoring the Good Sam bill and the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation - cleaning up abandoned mines from leaching into our alpine streams and rivers.
3. Cosponsoring the Hunting Heritage Protection Act - protecting public access for hunters and anglers

We also feel Senator Bennet has a more balanced approach to energy development - that takes into consideration both economics and impacts to critical wildlife habitat - such as those expressed by organizations such as Trout Unlimited and the Colorado Wildlife Federation.  Bennet is also working to gain better access through our National Parks for bowhunters.

In the struggle over where and how energy development should occur, sportsmen have led the effort for strong protections. Of course Coloradans from all walks of life, and of many interests, favor regulations that protect our land, water, air and communities as numerous other surveys and polling have shown.  

Conducted on behalf of the educational health-care nonprofit Western Colorado Area Health Education Center (WCAHEC), the phone survey of 2,300 Garfield County residents found the majority had serious concerns about the environmental and public health impacts of natural gas drilling in the area.

Fully 68.5 percent of those surveyed said they were either somewhat concerned or very concerned about their air quality as the result of natural gas drilling; 72.4 percent felt the same way about water quality; and 68.1 percent were somewhat or very concerned about the traffic impacts of the oil and gas industry.

And  another:

A new poll released Thursday by the National Wildlife Federation found that nearly two-thirds of Coloradans surveyed favor more oversight of the state's oil and gas industry, as well as mandatory requirements for best technological practices to better protect public health and wildlife habitat.

Ken Buck--global warming denier and energy fossil, Buck throws stark light on the difference between what Coloradans care about and how Republicans threaten to govern.  

Poll after poll, survey after survey, Coloradans continue to say they have serious reservations about the "drill, baby, drill" method of economic recovery. But still, Republicans and former Republicans on third-party tickets continue to run on regulation-roll-back platforms.

When it comes to 2010, this year many of Colorado's sportsmen are saying 'no' to 'Buck Fever.'


Based on the results of a recent survey by the National Wildlife Federation, it's clear that most Colorado voters want greater oversight of oil and gas development. Like most of us, I'd bet the people polled understand how vital energy is to everyday life - and they realize some drilling is inevitable.

They just want it done carefully, so we can protect fish, wildlife and their habitat. And, based on the survey results, people don't appear to trust the energy companies to police themselves.

Steve Torbitt, National Wildlife Federation

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