By Ben Long
Hunting season just closed here in Montana, and I oiled my rifle for its annual winter hibernation. After all, hunting regulations -- and the law in general -- are something I respect. It's too bad that more community leaders out West fail to grasp that fundamental tenet of citizenship.
In central Idaho last month, a local sheriff had to answer some uncomfortable questions about a raffle he was helping to promote. The prize is a .308-caliber Winchester rifle. Nothing new there - it's a standard prize for selling raffle tickets in America's more rural neighborhoods.
But the devil is in the marketing. The rifle is given away with a shovel and is being labeled as an "SSS Wolf Pack" rifle. SSS is shorthand for the local expression "shoot, shovel and shut up." And that is the half-in-jest way of dealing with inconvenient wildlife that happens to be protected by law. In particular, the phrase is used in conversations around wolves, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Sheriff Doug Giddings bends over backwards trying to explain this. "No, we are not advocating shooting wolves," the top lawman in Idaho County told the press. SSS, he now says, stands for "safety, security and survival."
Yeah. Right. This hayseed wouldn't make the cut to play sheriff on the Dukes of Hazzard.
He is not alone. At my county fair here in Montana, the local "wise use" club also raffled off a rifle, this one a nice .243 caliber. I might have bought a ticket, except they were calling it the "Annoy Molloy" rifle. Does the name Molloy ring a bell? Federal Judge Donald Molloy was the fellow who put wolves back on the endangered species list, after they were off it for one year. More....