I’m not a political scientist but I do have a hypothesis. I think that there is a cultural war brewing between the rural populations and the urbanized populations. This is especially important to understand if you hunt or use open space for recreation.
Ruralstan v. Metronista
A guy named Fredrick Jackson Turner (http://www.pbs.org/crucible/tl2.html ) came up with the idea of America spreading and moving across the frontiers and creating a completely different culture not found anywhere else. James Webb in his book “Born Fighting” (http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/ope…s/04/webb.html) talked about elitism and how frontier culture warred with the elitism found in early America. Both of these authors discussed how the culture of survival won out over the elitism found in their times.
Now we are in the 21st century and similar issues are being compressed by population pressures. While deer herds continue to expand and create significant negative impacts the management strategies are often onerous and driven by political motivation instead of common sense. For example the bear hunts in Colorado were done away with by voter referendum (http://www.summitdaily.com/article/2…NEWS/108260044) only to find bear encroachment and unwanted human bear interaction occurring. These political belief systems are often based on left coast thinking, but the reality I believe is closer to an urbanized thinking. The urbanites have a larger political voice and have denigrated anything rural.
We see some of these same behaviors on the different hunting and sporting sites. Access to public lands is being restricted not by the users, but by bureaucrats and political groups who may never have even visited those lands. This is true about off-roading, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, and even hiking and horseback riding are restricted from public lands. These restrictions on property access spill over into other areas of our lives as significant controls on behavior. You can see specific regional issues crop up in any online community where people from multiple cultural/ethnic/geographic areas meet (http://sassnet.com/forums/lofiversio…hp/t9664.html).
On hunting forums you can see a significant difference in the users (when looked at through generalization). The target shooters are mostly people living on the coasts (highly urbanized generally), and the hunters are living in between in the (generally) rural locales. Similarly the people living in highly urbanized cultures have to deal with population density and significant behavioral controls along with all the governmental services simply to exist in the urban environment (water, sewer, gas, trash, electricity, etc..) The rural or agrarian person has to provide all of these elements for themselves. Governmental control is seen as interference and often can have extreme and deleterious impacts on the person (http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/html/big_sandy2.html).
As population pressure increases and agrarian and rural zones are further impacted, the restructuring and controlling of open and public land takes on significant importance. These land use issues are becoming strategic to the continued existence of sportsman activities, and must be fought for at the local level. Unfortunately the political environment is set up not to benefit the user constituency but the nefarious political machineries found in the urbanized environment. This political and uncontrolled abatement to property rights has now even redirected itself back towards the urban environment (http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/pub-detail.asp?id=489).
There are significant and delicate balances that must be maintained in protecting sports activities. Often the attacks against one area of endeavor are found to be highly unsuccessful, but the political machinery will then attack a behavior where it is less easy to defend. For example you might not be able to ban hunting with a constituency of adult hunters and companies that support them and vociferously vote against acts or referendums. You can however ban any type of identify with that hunting group in the high school as part of a dress code. You can denigrate and attack without purview or public knowledge and thereby kill the sport at the inception of interest by the youth. Zero tolerance within the schools is put across as a way to protect children, but is used as a significant political tool for behavior modification (http://www.aclu.org/StudentsRights/S…list.cfm?c=158 , http://endzerotolerance.com/).
In conclusion what we see is an ongoing political struggle between social elitism and rural agrarianism that has been fought for a long time. The struggle has not been truly part of any political movement and attacks against the values of either side have occurred from both major political parties (republican and democrat), and the two major political movements (conservative and liberal). To fight within this war of personal freedom, a voter and citizen must keep an open mind, vote with critical thought on multiple issues, balancing not on the tip of a single element, but thinking about a policy framework and the overall impacts. This is a much larger task than it even appears here. The stakes are worth it though.