Friday, May 13, 2016

Trump, with help of avid-sportsman son, is with the 'hook and bullet crowd,' energy lobbyist says

While not all Republicans have warmed to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, one group that the businessman seems to resonate well with is hunters and fishers, Phil Taylor reports for Environment & Energy Publishing. "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." (Associated Press photo: Donald Trump Jr. greeting voters in New Hampshire)

"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," Taylor writes. "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."

Mike Schoby, editor of Petersen's Hunting, which endorsed Trump, wrote on Jan. 31: "It says he is smart. 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."

Taylor writes, "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." Mike McKenna, a GOP strategist and energy lobbyist, told Taylor, "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. I can't think of a single issue other than this one where he's so far out over his skis."

Taylor writes, "Key questions remain over how Trump would manage the roughly 640 million acres under the control of the executive branch primarily through the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, FWS and the National Park Service. Would Trump roll back Obama administration oil and gas leasing reforms designed to keep drilling farther from national parks and backcountry areas while tightening regulations on hydraulic fracturing? Would he dismantle Obama's sage grouse plan by loosening restrictions on drilling, mining and grazing? What kind of influence would Trump exert on Endangered Species Act decisions that can affect hunters and energy companies?"

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