Drew YoungeDyke Drew YoungeDyke
Last night, I got to do one of the best parts of my job. I had the opportunity to go on live television and defend the right to hunt, fish and trap in Michigan by debating the Humane Society of the United States’ Jill Fritz. It afforded me the opportunity to challenge every one of their talking points, as they’re made, and which too few news organizations do themselves.
A horrific example of this was ABC News 10’s coverage of HSUS’s anti-hunting event in Marquette. Their reporter interviewed only anti-hunters, never got a quote from anyone on the other side or even from the true experts, the DNR biologists in the area. Instead, they regurgitated the anti-hunters’ talking point that what is at stake is a “sport” or “trophy” hunt. The reporter apparently never challenged that talking point, but rather just repeated it. That’s shoddy journalism, if it can even be called that.
MUCC's Drew YoungeDyke debating HSUS's Jill Fritz MUCC’s Drew YoungeDyke debating HSUS’s Jill Fritz on October 14 on HOMTV.
During a live debate, though – and this is the third time that Jill Fritz and I have debated – I have the opportunity to challenge hollow talking points like that.
That particular talking point probably infuriates me the most, because I was at the anti-hunters’ kickoff meeting in Ann Arbor during the winter of 2013 when they admitted that that talking point was based off of polling they conducted which indicated that people with little knowledge of hunting are more likely to oppose hunting seasons they perceive to be based on “trophies,” rather than for management.
Except that the wolf hunt in Michigan is solely for management, and that’s a fact that is backed up with actual evidence, not hollow rhetoric. It’s supported by all of the documentation leading up to the wolf hunt, from the Michigan Wolf Management Plan to the Department of Natural Resources’ memo to the Natural Resources Commission supporting their recommendations. That document is located right here, by the way, since the anti-hunters and many reporters seem to have so much trouble finding it.
So when Jill Fritz tried to claim that “there was no science behind the wolf hunt,” I was able state very clearly that yes, there was, and that this document is where you can find it.
Debating Jill Fritz on WGVU in June. MUCC’s Drew YoungeDyke debating HSUS’s Jill Fritz on WGVU in June.
Fritz tried to make other claims that reporters usually accept without question, like that her group is not “anti-hunting.” After I recounted all the different anti-hunting initiatives HSUS has funded in Michigan and across the country, though, I told her, “This is just one of many hunting rights that you’re trying to take away across the country, and we will not let you do that in Michigan anymore.”
In summing up, I said this about the referendums on this November’s ballot:
“The Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act is going to go into effect in March, no matter what. So the legal effect of these (referendums), despite their (HSUS’s) claims about doing a lawsuit, is really a moot point, as to their legal effect. So it really becomes an issue of whether HSUS’s ad blitz is going to convince voters that their misleading talking points about it being a trophy hunt or a recreational hunt are true. They’re not true. And by voting “YES” on Proposals 1 and 2, you can convince them that no matter how much money they spend on misleading political advertisements, it’s not going to work in Michigan anymore.”
MUCC's Drew YoungeDyke debating HSUS's Jill Fritz in September MUCC’s Drew YoungeDyke debating HSUS’s Jill Fritz in September
And that’s what it boils down to. HSUS is spending about $1.5 million on an ad blitz for a “no” vote on the two moot referendums that most of their donors probably thought would go to animal shelters, based on HSUS’s fundraising propaganda. But by having a strong showing of support on the ballot with “YES” votes, Michigan’s hunters, anglers and trappers can show the HSUS that their days of attacking hunting rights in Michigan are over, no matter how much money they spend.
Click here to watch the full debate. Like our previous debates, I notice that Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has not shared it on their Facebook page so that their supporters can watch it. Could it be because they don’t want their supporters to hear their hollow talking points refuted with actual facts? We want you to see the debates, so the video links to the earlier ones are listed below. We want you to see the refutations to their oft-repeated but misleading, hollow and false talking points. And don’t forget to  Vote “YES” on Props 1 and 2!
WildLife Wednesday is the weekly blog from MUCC Field & Public Relations Manager Drew YoungeDyke
Click here to watch the September debate on City Pulse Newsmakers 
Click here to watch the June debate on WGVU Newsmakers 

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