One ruffled feather deserves another. This really doesn’t have anything to do with Wild Turkeys but it has a great deal to do with the natural resources that we leave for following generations.
The following is an excerpt from the Pere Marquette Chapter news that appeared in the March 2004 edition of Michigan Turkey Tracks. Our chapter was a member of the Pine River Coalition (Wexford, Osceola and Lake counties) that was formed after 3 years of planning the designation of the river as a Natural River was stone walled by politics (we were a member of they planning team). In 2003 the proposal went to public hearings around the state where it received overwhelming support. In September 2003 DNR Director Cool designated the Pine and upper Manistee as Natural Rivers.
During the process opposition arose from those who would profit from exploiting the resource. They gained the support of some local units of government, who apparently believe in fairy tales. State Representatives Ken Bradstreet of Gaylord and Howard Walker of Traverse City introduced house bills that would gut Natural Rivers designation and protection, past present and future.
On September 2003 the House Conservation Committee chaired by Representative Susan Tabor held a hearing on the two bills. Within 10 minutes the outcome was clear. Those in opposition to Natural Rivers were called first, given ample time and asked friendly questions. Ms. Tabor then announced that the committee had more important matters and that time was running out. Many people representing various organizations or themselves, opposed to the bills, were in attendance. While they were speaking, committee members were having private conversations; some left the room, while others went for a coffee break.
A Wexford County commissioner, who opposed the bills, was told to be brief. I had asked for 10 minutes, I was interrupted twice by Tabor and had to cut my presentation by a third. Bob Jacobson, president of the Michigan Conservation Foundation was given 1 minute. Pat Kochanny, president of the Pine River chapter of Trout Unlimited was given 30 seconds. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs representative was told that he takes too much time and they would talk to him later. Andy Guy, the very able representative of the Michigan Land use Institute was never given the floor. Three spokesmen for the Pine River Property Owners Association who wished to speak individually had to consolidate and Rep. Bradstreet attempted to badger the two eldest property owners.
The hearing was concluded; the two bills lumped together and passed. Tabor is a self professed hunter and fisherwoman yet she has voted against 75 to 90 percent of the conservation bills that were introduced. That she was in charge of the House Conservation Committee speaks for the people representing us. Bradstreet, who sat on the committee, was a dead 0, who voted against every conservation bill introduced.
I have attended a number of legislative hearings over these years but this was the most disgusting, sickening that I had ever witnessed. The bills then went before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs which was chaired by Patricia Birkholz. Eventually the bills received a well deserved death in the Senate.
Susan Tabor was term limited and out of office (give Thanks for term limits). She went to work for the National Wild Turkey Federation as the Women in the Outdoors coordinator for Michigan and northern Indiana. She received the Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award by the National Rifle Association. The award recognizes women who have demonstrated outstanding performance, among other things – CONSERVATION.
It should be noted that she introduced the house bill that allowed the first dove hunts. At the same time in 2000 her record shows that she voted 89% against introduced conservation bills, 75% against in 2002 and 62% against in 2003. Her record and actions prove that she is anti conservation, yet she was teaching conservation to other women in our state. I would recommend Tabor for an award but it wouldn’t be the one she expected. As the saying goes Paybacks Are Hell!!
The three enemies that we face within our ranks as hunters fishermen and outdoorsmen are Apathy, Ignorance and Self Interest. Too many of the present day so called conservation organizations are guilty of these. Many have become one issue organizations that don’t represent the best interests of their members.
As an example, how could the NRA give an award to someone with an anti conservation record? Another so called conservation organization that calls them international has paid for full page advertisements during elections promoting candidates with 0 conservation voting records. How about the scare tactics during each election about some candidate that is going to take our guns away, all the while hiding hidden agendas?
That was the article that appeared in the March 2007 issue. Susan Tabor was in a position of power in the legislature. She had the opportunity to enhance and protect our natural resources, including our game and fish not only for today but what our future generations will inherit. She chose instead to play politics with an anti conservation agenda.
So what is she doing today? She is currently working for our own Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in the Office of Communications administering the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. She is supposedly teaching outdoor skills to women, among which is CONSERVATION. UNBELIEVABLE!