In a recent Facebook comment, Representative David Gomberg (D), an Oregon legislator, claimed that he "seriously questions the sanity" of hunters and anglers.
Representative David Gomberg's (D) comment was in response to a lawful bobcat hunting article that published in a local newspaper. In honor of full disclosure, it's worth pointing out that I am the author of the article.
Frozen and tired: the quest for mountain bobcat, is a narrative of my first hound hunt pursuing bobcats in Central Oregon. The hunt was one of the most exhausting and unique hunts I've experienced.
It was 10 degrees below zero when we reached the end of the road in the Ochoco Mountains.
The challenge of the day was to pursue mountain bobcats with hound dogs. Before the trip was over, I would be awake 21 hours straight. I would drive seven hours by truck, ride for six hours on snowmobile and walk over a mile in waist-deep snow.
But it would be worth it.
Hunting with hounds, or "hounding," can be perceived as a lazy man's way to hunt by those who have never participated.
My experience tells a different tale. I'm an active 33-year-old outdoorsman, and by the end of this hunt, I was exhausted.
Apparently, Representative David Gomberg didn't appreciate the time and effort that went into the hunt, and his only takeaway was that an animal died.
Representative Gomberg's legislative peers and the Oregon Democratic Party need to consider if this attitude has any place in Oregon.
Nowhere in the article was there any joy expressed for taking the life of the bobcat. Whether it's a duck, deer, or bobcat, when you retrieve a game animal it can be an emotional moment.
What is most appalling in Representative Gomberg's tasteless comment is that he represents tens of thousands of Oregonians that depend on hunting and fishing. His constituents on the central Oregon coast represent one of the largest commercial and charter fisheries on the western US.
Furthermore, according to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, in 2013, 703,000 Oregon hunters and anglers spend $929 million annually and support 14,769 jobs, resulting in a $1.6 billion economic ripple effect!
Gomberg backpedaled in a follow-up post on the Oregon Outdoor Council's Facebook page, claiming the post "was made by a family member. They thought they were on the paper's page and didn't realize they were using my account."
That excuse brings to mind Shaggy's 2000 pop music hit "It Wasn't Me." I'm not buying it, and the weak attempt to scapegoat a family member is, frankly, pathetic.
Representative Gomberg's attempt to discredit and vilify 703,000 Oregonians is inexcusable.
It doesn't matter if a legislator is a Republican, Democrat or Independent. When you are elected to a legislative position, you must be a representative of all your constituents. Representative David Gomberg's actions show he is not capable of doing so.
About the Author: Dominic Aiello is an avid hunter, angler, and wildlife policy expert. He is the President of the Oregon Outdoor Council, Cabela's Prostaff, and Outdoor Writer. Follow his adventures on Instagram @daiello91 or Twitter @HunterInformant.