We sportsmen have become pretty connected over the last few years. I get photos on my phone of my buddies’ deer even before the carcasses are cool. In the fall, my email fairly crackles with messages about record-breaking bulls and crazy-gnarly bucks.
But as tethered as we are, how well does our exchange of information protect what really matters, the wild animals we love, the sacred places where we pursue them, and even our fundamental rights to hunt and fish?
The fact is that we use our electronic connections pretty superficially. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance wants to change that. The USSA–the biggest, hardest working and most effective voice hunters and anglers have in state legislatures, courts and popular media around the country–wants to help you become a better defender of hunting rights and opportunities.
This month, the Ohio-based USSA is stepping up its nationwide Sentry program, a roster of sportsmen that sign up to receive alerts from the group and help stomp out wrong-headed legislation, public pranks from animal-rights groups and other threats to our ability to hunt and fish. But the Sentries’ work isn’t all defensive. Volunteers are also activated to tell our side of the story, to work to ensure that we pass our hunting heritage to the next generation of participants.
Joining the Sentry network is totally free. That’s important, says the USSA’s Doug Jeanneret, who stresses that participants’ names and contact information will never be passed on to other sources.
“Our goal is to have the largest network of hunters of any organization in the country,” says Jeanneret, the USSA’s vice president for marketing. “Sentries are asked to act as the eyes and ears of sportsmen in their communities, keeping the rest of us informed about threats to our sport. In return, we will use the roster to keep all sportsmen involved and aware. It’s basically a rapid-response network.”
Which is why the USSA is using the iconic image of a Revolutionary “Minuteman” as the brand of the program. Just as with the original colonial combatants, the Sentries will be grassroots defenders of our collective heritage.
Consider becoming a Sentry. Because without the USSA and its grassroots volunteers, there’s everything to lose.