Ducks Unlimited, a group of 700,000 U.S. and Canadian waterfowl hunters, is holding fast to its non-position on the kind of tactical assault weapons used on 22,000 “sitting ducks” at a Las Vegas country music concert on Oct. 1.
Regarding limits on such weaponry, Ducks Unlimited’s Statement on Firearms on its website says, “The potential for new firearms regulations or legislation is a complicated and divisive issue.” That non-position sums up DU’s response to the most recent mass shooting.
Five days after the Las Vegas massacre where Stephen Paddock killed 58 country music fans (489 were injured), the Ducks Unlimited statement remained unchanged. In an Oct. 5 statement, it makes no distinction between shotguns or other guns used by U.S. hunters and the kind of tactical assault weapons and their accessories used by Paddock:
At this time, we do not have any changes to offer to our statement on the web site, or additional comments to add. Please consider our statement (unedited) on firearms and hunting to be our official statement – we feel it clearly states that we support the legal and ethical ownership and use of firearms, and also clearly states that we expect that those legal firearms, of any kind, be used in a safe, legal and ethical manner by responsible owners.
Director of Communications
In a poll of more than 600 ecologists, ornithologists and wildlife photographers (Those polled were LinkedIn connections, Twitter and Google+ followers and Facebook friends of Top Birding Tours) conducted Oct 5-6, they expect more:
- 86% want Ducks Unlimited to “support some new federal restrictions on tactical weapons used in mass murders.”
- 77% endorse restrictions on who can possess a firearm and the kinds of available firearms, such as tactical assault rifles; 18% oppose the 2nd Amendment and support its revocation; only 5% totally support the 2nd Amendment without restriction on the right of most Americans to bear arms of any kind.
- 63% support “a tremendous amount” Ducks Unlimited’s mission to conserve wetlands and waterfowl; 27% “somewhat support” Ducks Unlimited’s mission; and 9% don’t support the organization’s mission.
- 67% said Ducks Unlimited and non-hunting birdwatchers should “almost all the time” find common ground and work together; 24% said the two groups should work together frequently; 5% said the two should sometimes work together; and 5 percent said the two should never work together.
Ducks Unlimited survey results
Top Birding Tours will update the poll’s results daily as more of its social media followers complete the survey.
Complicated, divisive waterfowl regulations
Unlike owners of tactical assault weapons, waterfowl hunters can’t use over-sized magazines. In fact, every hunter is required by federal regulations to add a filler-plug to their shotgun’s magazine so that it can hold only two shells (a third shell is held in the chamber).
Environmentally poisonous lead shot in shotgun ammunition was phased out over the objections of many hunters. Now, only non-toxic shot is allowed on all national wildlife refuges where hunting is permitted.
Federal and state waterfowl regulations are continually changing. Each year, new rules and regulations adjust bag limits, length and dates of seasons, species that can or can’t be shot, specific areas on wildlife refuges where hunting is permitted, and many other limits on hunting activities.
New regulations are typically complex and often divisive before and after their adoption. Many hunters carry the latest version of hunting regulations in their camouflage hunting jackets.
For example, the federal rules on “baiting” require a detailed understanding of agriculture. It’s illegal to use grain or other types of waterfowl food to lure ducks and geese in for a closer shot. “The presence of seed or grain in an agricultural area rules out waterfowl hunting unless the seed or grain is scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, normal agricultural harvesting, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice,” says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A fuller explanation of what constitutes baiting on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website is much longer, and refers to more detailed federal regulations.
Hunters who break baiting, bag-limit, gun-plug or ammunition rules face stiff fines, and their guns may be confiscated.
Stephen Paddock apparently broke no federal or state gun laws for possessing tactical assault rifles, some equipped with “bump stocks” to fire on full automatic, inside his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. A crowd of 22,000 country music fans at the at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas was Paddock’s target on Oct. 1, 2017.
“We were all sitting ducks,” SiriusXM personality Storme Warren said to Billboard.
Ducks Unlimited’s contention that gun control is too complicated and divisive to take a position on, even after Las Vegas, is a cowardly lie.