Hunting for Government Priorities

Following Oregon’s startling $577 million budget shortfall, state departments must strategically refine and prioritize the core issues they need to address. What sportsmen wear is not one of them. However, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently issued a report investigating whether it should mandate that all outdoorsmen wear an observable piece of hunter orange clothing while hunting.

According to the report, bicycling is more dangerous than hunting. 1,351 bicyclists are injured for every 100,000 participants, compared to just 5 injuries per 100,000 hunting participants. Yet, bicyclists over age sixteen are not required by law to wear a helmet or reflective clothing. Cyclists are given the liberty to make those decisions themselves.

Among Western states, Oregon’s hunter safety record is second only to Nevada’s, a state which also doesn’t require orange clothing. Also, while 19% of reported hunting accidents in Oregon involved people wearing hunter orange, the report failed to mention that only 15-25% of outdoorsmen wear hunter orange. This is in equal proportion to the accident rate, thus negating any statistical argument that a person is safer wearing hunter orange.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s concern for hunters’ safety may seem admirable, but making Oregon the safest state in the West for hunters won’t be achieved through clothing regulations. Rather, Oregon needs an outdoor culture supportive of hunter safety education opportunities and personal responsibility.


Karla Kay Edwards is Rural Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute. She has held positions of leadership in numerous organizations focusing on agricultural and rural industries and issues, including the Fresno (California) Farm Bureau, Washington Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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  • Rupert in Springfield

    The point is a lot of hunting regulations are not for the benefit of hunters, but for the benefit of non hunters. They are put in place not for any real reason other than to make non hunters feel good.

    I actually was sitting around the campfire this weekend talking with a very liberal crowd about exactly this issue. I pointed out to them that there was no statistical correlation between increased safety and increased wearing of orange. I also pointed out the safety argument, that statistically hunting is one of the safer endevours one can engage in.

    Nope – didn’t matter, requiring people to wear orange was a no brainer to them. It should be required, and preferably everyone in a helmet as well.

    “So even though there is no evidence whatsoever that wearing orange makes one safer, you think it should be required, and that that decision is a no brainer”

    “Yep”

    This was a unanimous decision from the crowd I might add.

    In the end though what mattered was making them feel better. Liberals hate hunters, and generally any blue collar activity. I know, I live in Springfield, the town effete Eugene liberals love to make fun of. Honor diversity only extends as far as it makes liberals feel good. Actually associating with working class people, or having their proclivities impinge on lefty NPR society is another matter.

    So in short, liberals hate hunting, unless its done with a bow. Then they will ooh and ahh over it. Hunters wearing orange? It’s about making liberals feel good, not hunter safety.

    I covered my bases and told them I hunt with a sword, my sole garb being a hunter orange loincloth, and changed the subject.

    • dartagnan

      “Liberals hate hunters, and generally any blue collar activity.”

      Jeez, stereotype much?

      My blue-collar, bowling, beer-drinking, deer-hunting liberal father would have been interested to know that.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Jeez, stereotype much?

        Not really

        When gun control is part of the Democratic party platform, it is hardly a stereotype, its a fact since liberals are the more left wing of the Democrat party, as conservatives are the more right of Republicans.

        On the whole the gun control movement is largely liberals.

        Sure, your dad might have been a liberal who hunted. But by and large efforts to restrict hunting come from liberals, not conservatives.

        A liberal who is pro second ammendment? Sure, it happens every now and then, but its rare, especially if you step outside of Oregon. The last far left guy I voted for, Mike Kopetskiy, congressman from Oregon was one. Some might argue John Dingle or Harry Reid would be other examples. However by and large, opposition to the second amendment is a defining issue for liberals. Sure most of my friends are liberal and most pro second amendment, However I am aware that is an Oregon phenomenon, and definitely is not the case in most liberal bastions.

        Liberals not liking blue collar activity? That’s classic. Remember I live in Springfield. Just go to Eugene if you want to see the attitude. Yep, liberals love the working man during election season. However when its not election season, expect liberals to yuck it up with jokes about NASCAR or referring to Springfield as Springtucky.

        • valley p

          “Liberals hate hunters, and generally any blue collar activity. ”

          Oh boy…Rupert starts the day off fresh with yet another bizarre claim based on his extensive research with his 3 liberal friends from Eugene.

          Lets start with the obvious. Unions = liberals. Unions also largely = blue collar. And many union members are hunters. Therefore, not all liberals hate any blue collar activity, not do they hate hunting. A segment of liberals may hate hunting. A segment of conservatives hates urban bicyclists. We are even.

          “When gun control is part of the Democratic party platform…”

          Gun control as in semi automatic weapons. There is nothing in the Democratic party platform advocating banning hunting weapons or hunting. Buy your tags and blast away at poor Bambi. In fact, if someone wants to shoot the one eating my nursery trees, I’m totally ok with that.

          “But by and large efforts to restrict hunting come from liberals, not conservatives.”

          Fine…. “by and large” you are right. But why conflate “by and large” into all liberals hate hunting or hate blue collar people? Because you are Rupert, that is why. Conflation is your MO.

          “However by and large, opposition to the second amendment is a defining issue for liberals. ”

          Total crap, even expressed as a “by and large”. I don’t know a single liberal who is against the second amendment, though I’m suspect one can be found somewhere in the dark corner of a vegan restaurant. I know a lot of liberals, including myself, who are against interpretations of the 2nd amendment that conclude the government has no right whatsoever to regulate firearms.

          “Liberals not liking blue collar activity? That’s classic. Remember I live in Springfield.”

          Well how can we ever forget? I mean, where else would Rupert from Springfield live? Cottage Grove? Liberals don’t just “love” the working man (and woman) Rupert. Many of us ARE working men and women, and we actually support policies, like the minimum wage, universal health insurance, the 40 hour week, the weekend, paid time off, maternity leave, worker safety regulations, social security, the ability of workers to organize themselves into unions, regulated (not free) trade, and a few hundred other policies designed to make the life of working people a bit more secure and comfortable.

          You and your kind on the other hand, dredge up a not Joe the not Plumber and a phony love of NASCAR every 4 years to express your love for the working person while opposing every policy that might help working people. Unfortunately you manage to fool some of the people some of the time.

          By the way, preserving the right of hunters to increase their odds of getting accidentally shot is a strange way to show your love of them. But, odd as it might seem we agree on this issue. Since the only harm here is to the one who wants to hunt in dark colors and assume the risk that a blurry eyed geezer like Cheney will mistake him for a chukar, I’m totally ok with it.

          • Steve Plunk

            Hasn’t union membership become mostly white collar? Government unions especially aren’t blue collar.

            Beyond that point I have to point out how irritating it has become reading your responses. Some call it “Fisking” which I believe is from Robert Fisk the columnist. Taking individual sentences out of context and attacking them one by one is obviously unfair way to debate any point or argument. Rupert’s argument as a whole is solid and informed yet by dissecting it one can make effective small counterpoints while missing the overall point.

            Public policy arguments must at times generalize groups. Conservatives = pro gun, liberals = anti gun is an accepted example. Sure there are exceptions but bringing those up doesn’t advance the debate it merely mires it down. Those with an interest in advancing real public debate should avoid such tactics.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Lets start with the obvious. Unions = liberals. Unions also largely = blue collar.

            And Deans point = non existent.

            Once again, read before doing a pop off.

            Liberals love the blue collar vote. Hanging out with them? No thanks.

            >Gun control as in semi automatic weapons. There is nothing in the Democratic party platform advocating banning hunting weapons or hunting.

            Obviously you don’t know a hell of a lot about hunting.

            Or your parties platform.

            Also can you please point out where I claimed there was something in the Democratic platform about banning hunting?

            This is where you start making things up to argue against that no one ever said. Obviously you know your point is weak if you have to do that.

            >Fine…. “by and large” you are right.

            Obviously.

            >But why conflate “by and large” into all liberals hate hunting

            Because I didn’t,

            you did,

            so now you are arguing against yourself. It’s pointless. You always get called on it here. Why you persist in a tactic that has never worked is beyond me.

            That’s why I used the term “by and large” and then gave several specific examples of exceptions. Obviously I wasn’t conflating anything. You have to make up the idea that I did, and then argue against that.

            Sorry, when you argue against something no one ever said you have a pretty weak case.

            Oh well.

            Let me know when the conflation dodge ever works will you? It doesn’t work here too well obviously.

  • JTT

    Karla, did you even read the report or do you just get your talking points from OGO/OHA?

    *”As a consequence of the low support levels among hunters, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission directed hunter education staff to undertake an aggressive public relations campaign to increase hunter support for voluntary use of hunter orange. According to Mikitk, the campaign was not effective in terms of behavioral change in the field. It was not until six vision-related fatalities in one hunting season that the Washington Commission decided to act and created regulations requiring the use of hunter orange. Compliance to the regulation has been high and statistics have shown that the regulation reduces hunting-related injury and fatality incidents.”*

    Oregon already has a HO education program. You seem to be recommending exactly the thing that didn’t work for Washington…

    • Karla Kay Edwards

      In fact I did read the entire report. But you obviously missed my point, in that it is important to have a comprehensive education program that goes well beyond what you should wear, and emcompasses personal responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and the potential for humans in the same area that may or may not be wearing hunter orange.

      • Drooling

        …and smart too!

      • valley p

        Karla, no disrespect intended, but isn’t “the potential for humans in the same area that may or may not be wearing hunter orange ” a no brainer? I mean, is there any hunter alive who does not know there may be other people walking around in the woods? Do we really need an education program for this?

        Maybe, to borrow a technique conservatives often use, we ought to simply increase the penalty for shooting someone accidentally. If we had a mandatory minimum for such a thing, then hunters might think 2 or 3 times before pulling the trigger.

        • Duh?

          What you just wrote actually made sense to you?

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >we ought to simply increase the penalty for shooting someone accidentally.

          Might not be a bad idea.

          While we are at it it would probably be a good idea to increase penalties for bicycles running stop signs and other such havok “accidently”.

          After all, bicycle injuries are far more of a problem than hunting accidents.

          • valley p

            Steve: “Taking individual sentences out of context and attacking them one by one is obviously unfair way to debate any point ”

            Well I just did it again didn’t I? Darn. The thing is Steve, I’m not taking statements “out of context.” I can’t since the context is right above what I write. I use partial quotes as a way of referencing the argument you or Rupert or whomever just made. I don’t repeat entire paragraphs because it seems redundant to do so.

            Generalize away. But when your generalization exceeds the bounds of what you can logically defend then be prepared to be called on it. I expect the same treatment.

            On to Brother Rupert: “Because I didn’t”

            Ok. So when you write “liberals” you don’t mean ALL liberals. You mean SOME liberals. That is so obvious Rupert. How did I miss that?

            “That’s why I used the term “by and large”

            Sometimes you did, and I acknowledged that, and sometimes you didn’t, so I responded to that. Multiple times you just state “liberals” and follow up with whatever generalization you care to make, as in: “So in short, liberals hate hunting”. Now, does that mean some? Most? All? We are left to guess, and you are left to claim whichever guess we made was wrong. Whatever.

            “Also can you please point out where I claimed there was something in the Democratic platform about banning hunting?”

            You didn’t do so directly. You merely implied it by riffing off from your 3 liberal friends and shifting from hunter education to liberals hate hunting and hunters to Democrats have gun control in the platform (big surprise there) and from that somehow onto (all, most, some) liberals want to repeal the 2nd amendment. I simply did a Beck dot connect for you. If I had a blackboard I could make it simple for you: Rupert’s friends = all, most, or some liberals = anti hunting = anti hunter = hate blue collar people = Democrats are pro gun control = want to repeal 2nd amendment. I think I could even add another dot. HITLER! He was for gun control! Therefore, by connecting all these Rupert dots I prove that your 3 friends are Nazis! Therefore…Oh My Gawd…you yourself must be a Nazi because you are friends with them!

            And finally: “After all, bicycle injuries are far more of a problem than hunting accidents.”

            Well if hunters did their shooting while standing in the middle of busy intersections, this might not be the case. But then they should definitely wear orange vests.

  • tonyspdx

    The facts are pro gun liberals will not vote for a candidate that they agree on only “one” issue with. The same can be said from the Conservative side. I don’t expect a lefty lib that likes to shoot guns to vote for a conservative. If they do, they are considered an “Outlier” and would be excluded from any legitimate statistical data. It’s that simple. Plus, It is very true that Unions have been loosing there “blue color” membership for years. The biggest unions are “public” sector government jobs and should be labeled “white color” union membership. This distinction between the two should not be a determining factor if a union member in pro/anti gun. Worker demographics are trending from a “blue color” manufacturing membership to a “white color” service orientated membership. This same argument can be made for any no-union member.

  • Big K

    If biking is more dangerous than hunting, then how dangerous are bikers with guns?