At least we’d finally have a hunter where it counts!
As Donald Trump seeks to win over skeptical Republicans on Capitol Hill and fence-sitting voters, he seems to have wooed one important voting bloc: sportsmen.
With the help of his son, Donald Jr., an avid sportsman and ambassador for the campaign, Trump Sr. is saying all the right things to America’s hunters and anglers. He’s capturing endorsements and positive reviews from sportsmen’s trade publications — hook, line and sinker.
The Trump campaign has pledged to nominate a hunter to lead the Fish and Wildlife Service, aggressively fight lawsuits by anti-hunting groups, make wildlife habitat more productive, and control predators like wolves that prey on game species like elk.
Most notably, Trump in January broke from the GOP establishment by pledging to oppose efforts to transfer federal lands to states, gaining plaudits from sportsmen across the political spectrum who oppose the privatization of federal lands, fearing it would reduce places to hunt and fish.
“It says he is smart,” wrote editor Mike Schoby in a Jan. 31 article in Petersen’s Hunting endorsing Trump for president. “It says he realizes that 13 million hunters and 80 million gun owners represent a large voting block, one that will likely agree with his policies on hunting and protection of Second Amendment rights.”
Yet some Republicans say Trump’s public lands platform is alienating potential allies, particularly those in Congress and industry who oppose the federal government’s massive landholdings and believe states could better manage them for activities like drilling, mining and logging. By catering heavily to hunters and anglers, Trump may be shooting himself in the foot.
“They have made the calculation that the hook-and-bullet crowd is the relevant demographic here, but the reality is the professional hook-and-bullet crowd is a small group compared to [those who care] about federal land management in the West,” said Mike McKenna, a GOP strategist and energy lobbyist. “I can’t think of a single issue other than this one where he’s so far out over his skis.”
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