Outdoor Life Online Editor

Election Day is today. If this is a news flash for you, it is possible that you have been up in deer or elk camp peacefully unaware of the final weeks of campaigning. What the rest of us however, have probably noticed is that the camouflage and fishing vest vote is in high demand this election season – and with good reason. Political candidates have finally realized what we have known for years – that with more than 40 million sportsmen and women of voting age, and with a likely voter rate of at least 80%, American citizens who hunt and fish not only take their outdoor pastimes seriously they also vote for candidates who will stand strong on issues of importance to sportsmen when in public office.

By any measure, American sportsmen are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups. There are more sportsmen than people who receive Social Security retirement benefits. Twice as many people hunt and fish as belong to labor unions. And if all sportsmen had voted in the 2000 presidential election, one-third of the people at the polls that year would have held a hunting or fishing license.

While the politics of Washington, DC and your state capital may seem far away from your favorite hunting spot or fishing hole, elected officials and government decision-makers have a direct impact on your ability to enjoy the great outdoors. Every year, Congress and your state legislature debate how to spend millions of federal and state dollars with funding for habitat conservation, wildlife research, and improving opportunities for hunting, shooting and fishing on the line. The more federal and state funding that goes for wildlife habitat and conservation, the better quality hunting, shooting and fishing we all enjoy.

So before you head home from the fields and waters this Election Day, make sure you stop at your local polling place and fulfill the promise of the sportsmen’s vote. It is our job as sportsmen to elect legislators who will make decisions that are good for the economy, good for our citizens and good for the wild things and wild places that provide this nation with its character and link us to the past and the future.

Also remember that, after Election Day, there is one organization whose sole purpose is to ensure that those who are elected do not forget the sportsmen’s voice and vote while serving public office – it is the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. To CSF, voting is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is an issue of maintaining Americans’ privilege to hunt, shoot and fish and of ensuring healthy fish and wildlife populations. Help us continue to do our job of giving sportsmen a voice and a seat at the table by electing federal and state officials who support pro-hunting, shooting and fishing issues. VOTE YOUR SPORT!