Hunter involvement

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
14,907
Location
Colorado
What are the barriers for Colorado hunter participation in the regulatory process? Common complaints I have heard include:

PWC meetings are held on weekdays.
PWC meetings are "clear across the state."
"I wanted to attend but was tied up with _______ [work, kids, meetings, watching Dancing with the Stars, etc]."
"They always have these public meetings on weeknights."

I would like to hear what the perceived barriers to participation are, and how things could be fixed so that you would participate. And if the answer is "I just don't care," I'd like to hear that as well.

When I attend Commission meetings, there are rarely more than 10 members of the public there (usually less than 5). If it's an evening meeting about a specific topic, there might be 15-20, and I can name half of them that will be there right now, because it's the same players.
 

T Bone

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2001
Messages
5,302
Location
West Slope, CO
guilty as charged, except the Dancing with the Stars thing.

I don't actively look up when and where meetings are. Perhaps better notification would get the meeting into my brain.
 

L. I. Yankee

New member
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
1,627
Location
L.I. New York
Hey Oak, I could be wrong but usually they are just a bunch or excuses by the complainers and nothing more. In my experience 95%of he work is done by 5%of the people and the rest like you said "just don't care". .....:cool:
 

Big Fin

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,790
Location
Bozeman, MT
We talked about this on the Podcast yesterday The younger guys asked me how they can be more involved. I think I kind of take it for granted that people know the ropes of how the process works, when in actuality, I have the benefit of 25 years experience of doing it. And doing it before Al Gore invented the internet, so attending meetings, in person, is just part of what I am habituated to.

That said, I am interested in hearing any comments to your question. You could cross out "Colorado" and insert Montana, or just about any other state and I think the question would be relevant.
 

dihardhunter

Active member
Joined
Aug 12, 2013
Messages
282
Location
Columbus, OH
Apathy is America's quiet curse - your actions speak to whether or not you actually care...easy to **tch and complain, but quite another to return surveys, make a phone call, sign a petition, or HEAVEN FORBID show up to a public meeting.

I'm in wildlife research and every time our work interfaces with the public and requires surveys or public meetings, it's like pulling teeth. Most dissatisfied cohort of deer hunters in quite some time during the last few years in Ohio...public meeting for 2015 deer management input - 12 individuals from the public showed up at the headquarters of the state's capital. More than half of those 12 had an economic stake (outfitters or private land consultation business persons) or were prominent land owners, exactly 3 "every man" deer hunters in attendance.
 

RobG

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2010
Messages
5,503
Location
Bozeman, MT
I don't think it is different in Colorado... I used to be really active but starting my own business and family killed the amount of energy I had to do it. I'm still sort-of active (beyond screwing around on this board,) but I've announced FWP meetings here and I have been the only one to show up. It isn't a priority for most.

Like Fin said, it is hard knowing when the meetings are or the processes in place or even admitting you don't know how the process works. Huge barrier for years for me. Voicing an opinion that someone will write down is scary, even if it just an letter to the editor or a comment at a meeting. I still google up comments from 15 years ago. It is scary to take a stand on something in front of people you know and face potential ridicule. Public speaking - even offering a comment - is terrifying and only some get over it. Topics seem to be either too uncontroversial to need more input or so controversial/complex that you are afraid of being on the wrong side. These were my biggest barriers at first, but not so much now except for the last one.

It doesn't take much involvement before people start recognizing your face and you might meet some pretty cool people in the process. Perhaps even Mr. Fin or the famous lobbyist Ben L. :D. This board helped me a lot in understanding wildlife issues and process - I was mostly interest in water before.
 

Khunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
2,730
Location
western Colorado
offer free sandwiches

+1

I fill a lot of rooms with stakeholders who would otherwise not show up for meetings by feeding them. Unfortunately they then verbally abuse me but that it part of the draw I suppose ...in additional sandwiches. Professionally I take a great 'punch' so-to-speak. Which none of my friends can fathom cause I don't take crap from anybody on a pro bono basis. I digress.
 

Mudranger1

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
2,784
I'm not saying they do not have meetings here in the Colorado Springs because honestly I have never been involved with this kind of stuff. I have seen a few up in Denver. But why wouldn't they hold them closer to where the majority of people live? That is one of my biggest hurdles. I know that I'm not going to drive over an hour for a meeting so I can drive the same distance home so I can be up at 2 am to go to work. (and I do realize not many people work the schedule I do) Second reason is I have no idea how any of this stuff works. I do realize that taking part would help this but you say 5 people show up for these meetings. 1) I don't like people, 2) I hate arguing with people especially if I don't like them. I just envision these meeting being like this forum during non hunting season. Again this is just my pre conceived notion. I will go to one some day it is definitely something that I feel needs attention.
Cliff
 

Corax

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2011
Messages
744
Location
Texas
First off, I admit I do not show up at these meetings either. My excuse is that I live in Texas. However I get frequent emails from Colorado and Wyoming Game and Fish Departments - it is free to sign up - and there are regular announcements of Dept of Wildlife meetings. So finding out where and when these are scheduled is no great feat.

My guess is that all of these groups accept written comments.

I write letters to politicians on a variety of topics, so I guess I need to start weighing in on these issues also.
 

Corax

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2011
Messages
744
Location
Texas
JWill's link will get you signed up for the emails I get. On May 27th I got a notice:

SPORTSMEN INVITED TO NORTHEAST REGION MEETING ON CPW ISSUES JUNE 9

DENVER --Hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts are invited to a meeting at the Hunter Ed building at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Denver office Tuesday, June 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss current issues facing wildlife managers in the northeastern region of the state.

Other than a more detailed agenda, this had the necessary information.
 

one ate E grain

Active member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
274
Location
25 miles N of Denver amongst sprawl
I am signed up for that email list, and I admit I was a lazy ass and didn't go to the NE meeting. 20 people did go which is a good turnout I guess. I should go, I'm politically active otherwise and for sure I consider hunting issues more important than anything going on with politics. I was one of the 92 people who responded to the email questionnaire.

I got this email lately.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife seeks applicants for a two-year membership to the statewide Colorado Sportsmens Roundtable. Applications are accepted now through 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.

Responsibilities of members include: 1) Participating in a half day in-person meeting twice a year at meeting locations that rotate around the state. 2) Participating in conference calls every two to three months. 3) Sharing information and ideas with other sportsmen and CPW staff including the Director and Leadership Team members on pressing issues.

The two-year term runs from August 2015 until August 2017.

Volunteering for the Sportsmens Roundtable is a great opportunity to share information with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on recreation and management issues that are relevant to hunters, anglers, and trappers. Be an integral part of the conversation!


And the following is a roundup of the meeting.
we held a regional sportsmen's caucus on the evening of 6/9/15 with the following response. We had approximately 20 attendees, which was a very good group for the NE region. Participation and interaction was very good as well. Attached is a copy of the agenda, although we didn't follow it precisely.

NE PIO, Jennifer Churchill sent out a survey to previous NE caucus attendees to find out what their issues were and better ways for CPW to connect with them. We had 92 responses with many responding that they were more interested in mechanisms where they did not have to attend a meeting in order to have their interests conveyed. The top areas of interest/ concern by survey participants were:

1. Access
2. upland hunting
3. license distribution
4. overcrowding
5. habitat
6. influence of non-hunters on hunting related issues
7. How to instruction- Novice Hunter Program, seminars etc.

Suggestions from the attendees of the sportsmen's caucus:

1. CPW needs to do a better job of selling itself. Highlight when we achieve significant goals. Show our constituents what it is that we do with their license fees. Example was given of the recent Whirling Disease accomplishments reached through the rearing of Hofer rainbow trout.

2. Suggested that CPW seek alternative funding for non hunting and fishing related activities so that the burden isn't placed on the sportsmen constantly. Suggested user fees associated with development that impacts wildlife habitat (oil and gas, residential, wind energy development etc.)

3. Do a better job of requesting permission to use mailing information from our database to better market things that CPW may wish to convey to our users.

4. Institute a whole fee increase package instead of piece mealing.

5. Demonstrate what sportsmen are paying for with a fee increase. Even if it is to keep the "lights burning" that may be turned off if revenue generation doesn't improve.

6. Earmark special areas of interest for additional funding like funding an access program in the funding package so that sportsmen know a piece of what they will be getting.

7. Would like to have smaller groups specific to special interests, i.e. angling, big game hunting, upland hunting etc. As a follow up we are initiating a angler roundtable meeting in early July to accommodate angling interest in the coming 5 year Chapter 1 fishing regulation revisions.


That was a cc from Steve Yamashita NE Director to Jennifer Churchill public information officer. I saw Steve on a video of a long meeting of front range counties to try to resolve the access to places for public shooting on front range public lands, and as with most employees of Parks and Wildlife he seemed like a very stand up kind of guy.

I'm not betraying a trust by reposting, the copy of the email was sent to everyone who'd responded to the initial email.

Seems like CO is making an effort to get regular hunters involved.

Figured I should stop lurking and say something, I stop by most evenings or more, good source of info here on both hunting and issues hunting. Back to lurking.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
7,390
Some of my excuses are, lack of awareness of how certain regulatory changes will affect me, a sense that what I have to say won't matter anyway, and a very real distaste for the personal attacks that inevitably accompany the political process.
Some issues are definitely game changers, some are minutiae, some I really don't think anyone knows the effects.
I'm usually pretty good a giving my comments to proposed legislation and letting legislators know when I do have a strong opinion. However, I find that in dealing with raising a family, running a business and dealing with all the other issues of real life I tend towards apathy when it comes to the drama of wildlife or other politics. Quite honestly, hunting is my escape from the pressures of daily life and I lack the drive to invest more energy making it more like real life.
It's not the right attitude to have I'm sure, but it is what it is.
 

LopeHunter

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
3,142
Location
MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ-->NV
If the government want participation in the process then live cast the events and allow questions to be sent in ahead of time as well as real time. If the government want to restrict participation to those of us that can actually take the time to drive perhaps hundreds of miles using up a vacation day to possibly have a moment or two to interact with them in a meaningful way then they will continue to get a partial conference room of attendees.

Most government meetings and events I have attended were not actually fact-gathering but the fix was in and pretending to hear from the public was a dance orchestrated so speakers had only a minute or two to address the panel and only if were one of the first few on the sign up list since often not only was your time limited but the number of speakers was throttled since the meeting had a hard stop.

I suspect the game is rigged in CO with the hunter clawing to get a seat at the table that has padded chairs in place and reserved for the ranchers, etc. that provide campaign money for the legislature that in turn holds the purse strings over the bureaucrats at F&G.
 

cornfed

Active member
Joined
Mar 19, 2006
Messages
1,106
I've attended a few meetings in Iowa. Across the state they live feed the meetings from some of the community colleges and high schools. They had different topics up for discussion. As a group we went over the topics and got a general consensus on things. Then were given a chance to try and voice your concerns over the live feed or have a spokes person for the group report on how the group felt or somewhat voted on the topics. Most people had a location within an hours drive if they wanted to participate. Attendance was fair depending on the issues covered. The state employees from the area close to the live feed location were in attendance and could be talked to also. Still seemed like it was more of a formality than actual discussion but some good things have come from the meetings.
 

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
18,011
Location
Cedar, MI
If the government want participation in the process then live cast the events and allow questions to be sent in ahead of time as well as real time. If the government want to restrict participation to those of us that can actually take the time to drive perhaps hundreds of miles using up a vacation day to possibly have a moment or two to interact with them in a meaningful way then they will continue to get a partial conference room of attendees.

Most government meetings and events I have attended were not actually fact-gathering but the fix was in and pretending to hear from the public was a dance orchestrated so speakers had only a minute or two to address the panel and only if were one of the first few on the sign up list since often not only was your time limited but the number of speakers was throttled since the meeting had a hard stop.

I suspect the game is rigged in CO with the hunter clawing to get a seat at the table that has padded chairs in place and reserved for the ranchers, etc. that provide campaign money for the legislature that in turn holds the purse strings over the bureaucrats at F&G.

Best post of the thread.

MT has streaming commission meetings where people can go to the seven regional HQ's and be a part of the meeting rather than attend in person. It seems to help with hot button issues.

Agencies often speak in only agency and it is incredibly frustrating to get a straight answer out of some folks. Clean, simple language is important not because people are slow, but because these are complex issues with a lot of moving parts. The better the explanation and the less acronyms, etc, the better informed people are, and the more likely they are to participate.

The only way to combat the feeling that the fix is in is to participate and see how your voice makes a difference. It takes time and patience, something a lot of us don't have in dealing with government employees or agencies.
 

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
14,907
Location
Colorado
I don't actively look up when and where meetings are. Perhaps better notification would get the meeting into my brain.
Notification of when the meetings are being held.

As Jwill posted, you can sign up for email alerts about meetings.

Like Fin said, it is hard knowing when the meetings are or the processes in place or even admitting you don't know how the process works. Huge barrier for years for me. Voicing an opinion that someone will write down is scary, even if it just an letter to the editor or a comment at a meeting. I still google up comments from 15 years ago. It is scary to take a stand on something in front of people you know and face potential ridicule. Public speaking - even offering a comment - is terrifying and only some get over it. Topics seem to be either too uncontroversial to need more input or so controversial/complex that you are afraid of being on the wrong side.

I absolutely understand the fear of public speaking. I still get a dry mouth and nervous stomach every time. Very silly, because I know I'm right. ;)

offer free sandwiches

+1

I fill a lot of rooms with stakeholders who would otherwise not show up for meetings by feeding them. Unfortunately they then verbally abuse me but that it part of the draw I suppose ...in additional sandwiches. Professionally I take a great 'punch' so-to-speak. Which none of my friends can fathom cause I don't take crap from anybody on a pro bono basis. I digress.

There is actually a lot of truth to those statements. Food brings people together. Even better to hold the meetings over shared food. That's why you should all be attending the summer Commission meetings and the accompanying community BBQ's held by CPW.

I'm not saying they do not have meetings here in the Colorado Springs because honestly I have never been involved with this kind of stuff. I have seen a few up in Denver. But why wouldn't they hold them closer to where the majority of people live? That is one of my biggest hurdles. I know that I'm not going to drive over an hour for a meeting so I can drive the same distance home so I can be up at 2 am to go to work. (and I do realize not many people work the schedule I do) Second reason is I have no idea how any of this stuff works. I do realize that taking part would help this but you say 5 people show up for these meetings. 1) I don't like people, 2) I hate arguing with people especially if I don't like them. I just envision these meeting being like this forum during non hunting season. Again this is just my pre conceived notion. I will go to one some day it is definitely something that I feel needs attention.
Cliff

My guess is that all of these groups accept written comments.

I write letters to politicians on a variety of topics, so I guess I need to start weighing in on these issues also.

I do understand the difficulty of attending meetings. It seems like it is never-ending, and if I had a "real" job it would be much more difficult. But write comments! Send an email! At the most recent Commission meeting I attended, one of the Commissioners said that the email comments he received on a very divisive issue were overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal, indicating that sportsmen did not take the time to comment, and landowners and outfitters who had a financial stake in the game did take the time.

Some of my excuses are, lack of awareness of how certain regulatory changes will affect me, a sense that what I have to say won't matter anyway, and a very real distaste for the personal attacks that inevitably accompany the political process.
Some issues are definitely game changers, some are minutiae, some I really don't think anyone knows the effects.
I'm usually pretty good a giving my comments to proposed legislation and letting legislators know when I do have a strong opinion. However, I find that in dealing with raising a family, running a business and dealing with all the other issues of real life I tend towards apathy when it comes to the drama of wildlife or other politics. Quite honestly, hunting is my escape from the pressures of daily life and I lack the drive to invest more energy making it more like real life.
It's not the right attitude to have I'm sure, but it is what it is.

There is a small bit of truth to the "what I say won't matter anyway." But if 30 guys that feel the same way do indeed show up and speak, it makes a huge difference. I will admit that it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and often the important issues are buried in a meeting agenda and easily overlooked. And I do understand the "busy life" issue.

If the government want participation in the process then live cast the events and allow questions to be sent in ahead of time as well as real time. If the government want to restrict participation to those of us that can actually take the time to drive perhaps hundreds of miles using up a vacation day to possibly have a moment or two to interact with them in a meaningful way then they will continue to get a partial conference room of attendees.

Most government meetings and events I have attended were not actually fact-gathering but the fix was in and pretending to hear from the public was a dance orchestrated so speakers had only a minute or two to address the panel and only if were one of the first few on the sign up list since often not only was your time limited but the number of speakers was throttled since the meeting had a hard stop.

I suspect the game is rigged in CO with the hunter clawing to get a seat at the table that has padded chairs in place and reserved for the ranchers, etc. that provide campaign money for the legislature that in turn holds the purse strings over the bureaucrats at F&G.

I've attended a few meetings in Iowa. Across the state they live feed the meetings from some of the community colleges and high schools. They had different topics up for discussion. As a group we went over the topics and got a general consensus on things. Then were given a chance to try and voice your concerns over the live feed or have a spokes person for the group report on how the group felt or somewhat voted on the topics. Most people had a location within an hours drive if they wanted to participate. Attendance was fair depending on the issues covered. The state employees from the area close to the live feed location were in attendance and could be talked to also. Still seemed like it was more of a formality than actual discussion but some good things have come from the meetings.

Best post of the thread.

MT has streaming commission meetings where people can go to the seven regional HQ's and be a part of the meeting rather than attend in person. It seems to help with hot button issues.

Agencies often speak in only agency and it is incredibly frustrating to get a straight answer out of some folks. Clean, simple language is important not because people are slow, but because these are complex issues with a lot of moving parts. The better the explanation and the less acronyms, etc, the better informed people are, and the more likely they are to participate.

The only way to combat the feeling that the fix is in is to participate and see how your voice makes a difference. It takes time and patience, something a lot of us don't have in dealing with government employees or agencies.

I think that live streaming of meetings, including the opportunity to participate from the remote locations, would be huge. No reason why this couldn't be done now.

Thanks for everyone that answered. Pretty much what I expected. One thing that strikes me is that perhaps a sportsman's email listserv for each state, which highlights and explains issues of importance and includes contact information for providing comments, might be helpful. I tend to forget that the whole world isn't getting the pertinent information needed from their daily reading of Sportsmen's' Issues on Hunttalk. ;)
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
103,651
Messages
1,690,970
Members
32,350
Latest member
Hamp05
Top