Surprising interview at Field and Stream Magazine with Todd Tanner, chairman of Conservation Hawks. Tanner, a conservative, thinks climate change is affecting hunting (e.g., ecosystems) in a big way. He wants to raise awareness among hunters to help stop or adapt to changing conditions.
‘If Climate Change Isn’t Real, I’ll Give You My Beretta’
The Conservation Hawks is a new group dedicated to harnessing the power of sportsmen to address climate change. Stop. Before you give in to anger, or to the “conservation fatigue” that can fall upon us like a giant wet carpet whenever climate change is mentioned, consider this: If you can convince Conservation Hawks chairman Todd Tanner that he’s wasting his time, that he does not have to worry about climate change, he will present to you his most prized possession: A Beretta Silver Pigeon 12 gauge over/under that was a gift from his wife, and has been a faithful companion on many a Montana bird hunt. I know the gun, and I’ve hunted and fished with Todd for years. He’s not kidding. You convince him, he’ll give you the gun.
Conservation Hawks has an all-star board of directors, including my friends Bill Geer and Katie McKalip, who both work for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and have a deep understanding of the issues we face as sportsmen. I talked with Todd Tanner recently about what the Conservation Hawks hope to accomplish.
Hal Herring: First, are you serious about the Beretta?
Todd Tanner: I am serious. If somebody can convince me that I don’t have to worry about climate change, I’ll give it them. Or I’ll auction it off and donate the proceeds to the charity of their choice. But it will have to be a real argument, with real facts. I don’t think that argument exists, but I’m willing to be surprised.
HH: Why the Conservation Hawks?
TT: Let’s say you are walking down a trail in the wilderness with your wife and kids, and you come upon a grizzly sow, standing on a carcass. She charges, flat out. You’re in front of your family. What do you do? Just give up? Pretend it’s not happening? Let her maul you and everything your care about? Of course you don’t. You take action. That is how I see climate change. It’s real, it’s threatening everything we love. Not taking action is not an option.
HH: Why now?
TT: This is the point where we can still stand up and have an effect. Maybe it’s the last point. I want that freedom we’ve enjoyed to fish and hunt to continue. Maybe most important, I have a son. I cannot be complicit in surrendering all this that I’ve had and loved for my whole life—just say, sorry, I gave up and let it be taken from him. When I knew the science, and the facts.