Camo Coalition Overview
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) was formed in the early 1940’s by concerned sportsmen from across North Carolina who were tired of diversions of hunting and fishing license funds and government abuses that used fish and wildlife programs as political footballs to give special favors to supporters at the expense of our fish and wildlife resources. Their coordinated and collective efforts were successful and the Wildlife Resources Commission was created in 1947 and charged by its enabling legislation to properly protect and soundly manage the fish and wildlife resources of the state for the benefit of all its citizens. Results, measured in terms of sound fish and wildlife programs in NC, are legendary.
Over the years, the attention of the NCWF turned from its original beginnings to protect hunting and fishing to other issues and other constituencies. Establishment of the Camouflage Coalition in 2007 by the NCWF as one of its top priorities for the future signals a recommitment to the hunter and fisherman and to their sports of hunting and fishing. Hunters and fishermen were the first conservationists and are still the best. It is perfectly logical that the NCWF would rise to the imminent challenge to hunting and fishing by once again mobilizing hunters and fishermen into a formidable force to ensure that sound management of our natural resources is the cardinal rule at all levels of government.
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Division between hunting communities
Hunters and fishermen have become fragmented into many splinter groups over the years. As a result, they have lost, to a great extent, the power that comes from unity. Sportsmen have organized special interest groups for particular types of hunting and fishing such as Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Safari Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Quality Deer Management Association, Wild Turkey Federation, Bear Hunters, Trappers, Coon Hunters, Houndsmen, Bowhunters, Falconers, BASS, Coastal Conservation Association, and on and on.
No overlying organization exists that can bring all sportsmen together to combat major threats to hunting and fishing when they arise (and they will.) The anti’s will target the weakest and most vulnerable of us in their quest to eliminate hunting and shooting sports. Special interest groups will take liberties with the smallest of the sporting fraternity to steal their prerogatives and restrict their freedoms. Funds for conservation will be the targets for other funding needs and stolen to serve programs unrelated to hunting, fishing, or conservation. Habitats will be usurped to satisfy economic and development interests without regard for wise wildlife management and protection of fish and wildlife habitats.
We must guard against these threats now. We cannot wait for them to materialize before we become concerned or organized. Complacency is our greatest enemy. The ranks of hunters and fishermen in NC number in the millions. United, we are invincible; splintered, we are vulnerable and subject to be picked off one by one.
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Bridging relationships within the hunting community
The mission of the Camouflage Coalition is to form an overlying bridge across all our sporting groups. We will enroll hunters and fishermen who share concerns about the future of hunting and fishing into a coalition. This connection among sportsmen will provide the means to inform members about issues and allow them to respond forcefully and effectively to any threat to hunting and fishing that might arise. Members agree to monitor e-mail alerts about issues related to hunting and fishing and to respond to appropriate decision-makers using the Camouflage Coalition website. Sophisticated software that uses zip codes to match members to their elected and appointed government officials enables a rapid and direct response with the simple "click" of a mouse. No membership fee will ever be charged to use the "alert" and "response" functions of the Camo Coalition website. The Camo Coalition will cut across all hunting and fishing groups to unite sportsmen and their voices for maximum impact up on decision-makers. Members will not be asked to write letters or e-mails, or to call government officials about issues. All this work will be done by the Camo Coalition. Members will receive an action alert that contains a summary of the threat or opportunity along with a proposed response that they can deliver to their elected officials with a simple click of a mouse. Direct contact from constituents to their elected representatives is the most effective way to register positions on any governmental issue. It will work. Meetings are currently being held with various sporting groups across NC to explain this concept. These meetings are spawning strong enthusiasm among hunters and fishermen who recognize the challenge that lies ahead and the potential strength of the Camo Coalition. The Camo Coalition does not distract from existing sporting groups in NC in any way; rather, it fortifies and unites these diverse groups into one strong voice to support, defend, and protect our hunting and fishing herita ge. This model works. Georgia formed its Camo Coalition over two years ago and now they boast 20,000 informed and active hunters and fishermen in their coalition. Since its inception, the Camo Coalition in Georgia has been used successfully to defeat raids on fish and wildlife funding, to open federal lands to managed hunting, to support sound management of the deer herd in Georgia, and to keep the hunters and fishermen of Georgia well informed and involved in decisions that affect their sports. The Camo Coalition will work for the sportsmen of NC too.
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What the Camo Coalition is doing
We need initial impact gifts to "git-er-done." Startup costs between now and January 1, 2008 will be about $50,000. Once we set the wheels in motion, the Camo Coalition will support itself through different annual funding sources, such as a personalized license plate. Other means of funding the Camo Coalition in the future, such as gun raffles, product sales, and sponsorship donations, will be evaluated. All Camo will ever ask of you is to participate when you receive an "alert" and to respond as you feel appropriate. No one will ever be charged to help Camo protect hunting and fishing; however, any donation commensurate with a person's ability to pay and the value received from Camo will be accepted, acknowledged, and appreciated. All gifts to the Camouflage Coalition are tax deductible, since the NCWF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you choose to give, make the donation payable to: North Carolina Wildlife Federation - Camo Coalition. All designated gifts will be used exclusively by NCWF to support the Camo Coalition. Join the Camouflage Coalition today and be a part of the solution. Give back to your sport so your children and grandchildren will have the same opportunities to hunt and fish that you have enjoyed. It will not happen without a concerted effort by every one of us who proudly wear the camouflage coalition emblem. Dick Hamilton Camouflage Coalition Coordinator NCWF Box 10626 Raleigh, NC 27605 919-833-1923 firstname.lastname@example.org Webpage: WWW.NCCAMO.ORG
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