The National Deer Alliance was in full force at the ATA. Here's why you need to be a member.
While at the ATA 2015 this year, I had the honor of sitting down for a chat with Craig Dougherty, the Executive Director of National Deer Alliance (NDA), for a brief chat over the current state of deer hunting and why the NDA is so important to our current and future generations of deer hunters.
"80% of all hunting is for deer. Without deer, there is no hunting industry," Dougherty said. "Without a hunting industry, there's no wildlife management model in the country because all the excise taxes on equipment is what funds it. So our mission is to go out and recruit a bunch of members and to get them involved in deer issues."
With growing numbers of anti-hunters and policies that are made every day, the deer hunter needs to be represented. Watch this video by the National Deer Alliance, and see for yourself why you need to be a member.
"Right now there are a lot of issues facing deer," said Dougherty. "Policy decisions are made that effect deer on almost a daily basis. We strongly believe that better decisions can be made if deer hunters are a part of those decisions and processes. There could be 80,000 hunters out there willing to get involved. We want to work on serious issues like, gosh, where are all the deer?"
Some states seem to have figured this problem out and have people with the best interest of deer hunters helping make those decision in office.
"Texas is doing real well," Dougherty said. "It just so happens the state of Texas has 85 deer managers dedicated. The average in all other states is 2.3. So maybe they will figure something out."
With a unified voice, better decisions can be made and more aid can come to deer hunters to keep everything running smoothly.
"We want to be the voice of the deer hunter and go to the table. We want to go to the table in the spirit in making good decisions towards deer polices," said Dougherty. "When and if it's necessary to leverage policy towards politicians that have been approached by hunters that are mad as heck about something, we want to bring reason to that equation. Most of the worst polices have been made because politicians get rubbed the wrong way."
Membership is completely free and Internet-based. There are no magazines or flyers. By providing an e-mail address, you will receive an email every Monday with issues facing deer hunting and what you can do about them. If there is something you don't want to do, you can at least express your voice to the people that will do something about it for you.
Dougherty finished the conversation by saying, "The whole part of this is communication with our members and not just be 10 smart guys in a room. We want to service what is in your area. If something breaks in your backyard, lets say an urban hunt is happening and the antis got ahold of it, we can understand the issue by 9:00 a.m., shoot out an e-blast to people near the issue by early afternoon after we get a chance to understand the issue, then we will get the issue in front of the mayor by 4:00 p.m. that same day."
In short, it's pretty much a no brainer: go to the National Deer Alliance website and join. Don't just do it for yourself, do it for every deer hunter in the United States. We all need to work together on this.
It's about time our voice is heard.