Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Senate shuts off debate on Sunstein

sunstein1.jpgLast night, the U.S. Senate voted 63-35 to shut off debate on the confirmation of Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s choice to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Services, a.k.a. the administration’s “regulatory czar.”

Sunstein’s record as an animal-rights advocate had drawn flak from sportsmen’s groups. Amazingly, 22 of the 63 senators who voted to invoke cloture on the issue of Sunstein’s nomination were members of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus.

Sunstein’s nomination now appears to be a mere formality. Thanks a lot, Sportsmen’s Caucus…

sunstein.jpgThe U.S. Senate reportedly will vote today to confirm Cass Sunstein as the Obama Administration’s special advisor for regulation, or “regulatory czar.”

Sunstein, a Harvard University law professor, has history of animal-rights activism.

In a 2007 speech at Harvard, Sunstein argued that “hunting should be outlawed.” In his 2004 book, Animal Rights: Current Controversies and New Directions, he wrote that “we could even grant animals a right to bring suit.”

The interesting thing about today’s vote is its timing. The vote — not on confirmation, but on cloture to prevent a potential filibuster — is being held despite a request for a “hold” by Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson. In literally thousands of Senate confirmation votes since the 1960s, only 71 times has a cloture vote been held to bypass a hold order by a sitting senator.

graywolf.jpgThat’s the $64,000 question facing would-be wolf hunters today.

Federal judge Donald Molloy is scheduled to decide whether to grant a request by Friends of Animals and other anti-hunting groups to halt the season before Tuesday’s scheduled opener.

For Molloy to rule against the hunt, he would need to have decided that the hunt would do irreparable harm to the Idaho wolf population, estimated at 846 animals. Officials of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game plan to halt the season after the harvest reaches 255. Most people expect far fewer than that to actually be killed before the season’s scheduled Dec. 31 close.

Update: It appears the season will begin Tuesday as scheduled. Whether it will continue long is open to question. Molloy didn’t make a ruling at today’s hearing, but promised he’d make one “as soon as possible.”

wv_logo.gifWith hunting seasons fast approaching (And remember, this year West Virginia will begin deer season in September!), now would be a good time to earn a hunter safety education card.

Everyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1975 must pass a 10-hour hunter safety education class before purchasing a hunting license. Now those courses are available via the Internet.

HunterExam West Virginia offers a 12-chapter online course that covers every aspect of hunter safety. Participants can log on, log off, work at their own pace and pick up where they left off. Those who complete all 12 segments of the course can print out a “Practical Exam” voucher and schedule a Division of Natural Resources office to set up a time to take the final exam.

There is no charge for taking the individual chapter quizzes, but there is a $24.95 charge for printing out the exam voucher.

It’s like asking a fish not to swim

pursuitchan.jpgYou gotta hand it to those folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); they’ve got nerve.

Their latest stunt was to send a letter to officials of the Pursuit Channel, a cable-TV channel devoted to hunting- and fishing-related programming.

What did the PETA folks want? They wanted Pursuit’s programmers to pull all hunting-related shows from Saturday time slots, on the premise that children who observe violence toward animals grow up to be violent toward humans.

What exactly do the PETAphiles think a hunting network should run? Teletubbies?

The latest madness from those PETAphiles

One thing I’ll grudgingly admit about animal-rights zealots. They’re usually good for a laugh.

Case in point: The latest crusade by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They hope to discourage people’s interest in fishing by changing the way people think about fish. Instead of calling them “fish,” PETA members are supposed to build sympathy for denizens of the underwater world by renaming them “sea kittens.”

So instead of “fishing,” PETA refers to the use of hook and line as “the hunting of sea kittens.”

Gimme a break…