Arizona Ballot Prop 109 – Hunting as a Right

It is a certainty that any government agency changes over time. The mission expands, changes, and sometimes is commandeered by a different constituency – often at odds with the original mission.

These ideas were probably in the minds of the authors of Prop 109 – the measure that, is passed by the people, would establish hunting as a constitutional right in the State of Arizona. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish was formed in 1929 to, well, manage game and fish. It was funded by the sale of licenses. Today, it manages “wildlife”, and in addition to license fees receives Heritage Fund money (until recently) from the state lottery.

A few years ago, Arizona Game and Fish was caught flatfooted when anti-hunting groups, through a ballot prop, banned trapping on public land – effectively ending trapping in Arizona. Whether or not one approves of trapping is irrelevant in regards to the point at hand. Hunting in Arizona now faced the subtle threat of Game and Fish receiving funding outside the hunting community, and the overt threat of the initiative process.

It should then be no surprise that people who wish to preserve hunting are responding in kind to the ballot prop threat – specifically, Prop 109. This, of course, has sent the anti-hunting crowd into a hissy fit. They are about to seen their weapon rendered much weaker, unless they defeat Prop 109.

The defeat of 109 is a problem. Most people are not all that concerned with hunting, nor do they have an aversion to it. They are certainly not going to get excited over defeating a referendum that will have no affect on them. The hunters, on the other hand, who feel under the gun (so to speak) will come out in droves to pass it. What to do?

Well, as luck would have it, there is a standard approach to getting disinterested people to go along. First, change the issue. Make it about “your voting rights”, a “power grab by politicians”, the “voting rights of citizens” – anything broad, scary, and different than the actual issue. the crowd these phrases in a pamphlet – I picked one up at a local vegetarian restaurant. By changing the subject to one with a broader appeal, they have a chance at defeating the measure.

Having broken the bonds of facts and truth regarding the nature of the measure, it is now easy to lie about the specifics. It has been said that “the best lie is the half-lie”. Here’s an example, “Management of wildlife practices would no longer be based on scientific expertise, but on partisan politics.” The implication is that Game and Fish will be subject to oversight by the legislature – which is true, and that this is a fundamental change – which is false, the legislature always exercised oversight of Game and Fish.

Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are two:

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