Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PostHeaderIcon The Real Threats To Hunting - Taking A Second Look

“When making you aware of who the real threats are to the hunting world, you find it is all about brainwashing, fanaticism, and money.” 

By John Simeone

My first experience with an anti-hunter was bazaar indeed. While lecturing at the Alaska Wildlife Museum at Fort Richardson, I was escorting two full Army Cornels through the exhibits. We were all dressed in our Dress Green uniforms after a monthly inspection so I felt proud to address these two high ranking officers. Our pride trophy was the “Harry Swank Ram,” the world record Dall Sheep, which also held the coveted Sagamore Hill Award, as one of the best of the best of all big game trophies in the Boone and Crockett Records.

While giving the lecture, one of the Cornels could no longer contain himself and blurted out, “What kind of an ass would kill a beautiful animal like that?” The other Cornel instantly responded, “I don’t know how the hell you became a Cornel in the Army and not like guns.”

Evidently the first full bird had no problem with killing humans and attacked the second with a vengeance. Of course I was only a Spec-4 at the time, but that MP badge I was wearing superseded these two gentlemen at that very moment so I hauled them both out the door and they continued the fight in the hallway. I locked the door to protect the exhibits and called a back up, that was the last I heard of the incident. I wonder to this day if they are still at it.

Somehow about a million mallard ducks congregated right in the middle of the Fort Richardson impact area, probably most of the ducks of the Pacific Flyway. It was 1978 and my assignment was to keep the grizzlies from eating the professor from the University of Alaska. He was there to conduct a survey of the ducks and see how many had died of lead shot ingestion. I didn’t quite understand the problem.

He told me that anti-hunters in house, as part of the Game and Fish Commissions and other politically motivated groups, were about to impose a ban on all lead shot for waterfowl hunting. “Why?” I asked. It is part of a slow process to do away with all hunting was the answer. (Here comes the brain wash.) They are going to say the ducks eat the lead shot that falls from hunter’s guns, and then die of lead poison. “Well do they?” was the next question.

We plodded through a million ducks, for the next three days, who were in a molting stage and couldn’t fly, looking for the evidence. We found many fox kills and saw one Grizzly at a great distance. Then, low and behold, we found a dead duck. In my excitement and elation I inquired to the postmortem results. The duck died of old age, and no lead shot was found in any other duck tested.

I found out other things. They said then after the lead shot survey they would try to outlaw lead bullets, making up some cock and bull story about it poisoning the California condor, if they found a bullet in a gut pile. That was in 1978, it is now 2009, and here we go with the lead bullet ban in California. They were even keeping us from field dressing our deer one year at Ft Polk to see if the deer were eating the bullets from the rifle ranges (that were there since WWII). Do you see a trend here? Deer don’t eat bullets.

Just for the record it only took Australia 10 years to ban all waterfowl hunting and it started with a steel shot program, then they banned semi-auto and pump shotguns, and then there was the final ban on duck hunting as they said society would no longer stand for it. Well, so much for Crocodile Dundee.

You know we let them do this to us and never say a word as hunting is taken like sheep to a slaughter. Sometimes we do it to ourselves in a worse manner and think we are doing the right thing.

Lets look at just a few ways we the hunter put the screws to our own sport and see who the real bad guys are. I intend to take off the gloves this time, so if I rub someone raw out there, consider yourself rubbed.

Canned Hunting: Now here is a real good one for the record books as far as being an entrepreneur, but as far as hunter ethics, it is pure manure. Theodore Roosevelt would turn over in his grave if he knew about, deer so tame they have to hire ranch hands to go out and shoot at them because they are so over cultivated they are not afraid of humans. Penning up cultivated bucks in a small enclosure just large enough to be legal, or large enough to convince the bucks they are on open range. But later you find there are no does in the area so the bucks run around in the rut all the time, affording rich hunters a chance at several large bucks, at about 30 Grand a shot. Or perhaps the fact that pheasants are shot flying from towers after being raised in pens and never released into the wild. Who cares they are only birds like chickens and officially they are not native to America.

It gets worse of course when big game is placed in areas so small they can’t possibly have a chance to escape, but the law says it’s legal so somebody cashes in on all the fun. Am I siding with the anti-hunters here, oh no, but like Roosevelt I won’t shoot a tethered or penned game animal. It’s all in the rules of fair chase if you care to study.

Over Cultivation: Now it might not be possible to completely tame a deer, but you can get so close they will eat right out of your hand. So now we have found a way to scientifically make super deer. Or is it Super Stupid Deer? Some so large they can easily beat any record, if you put stock in such things. I suppose the egg heads learned all that breeding cattle to alleviate world hunger, and line their pockets. Is it all about money, you tell me. Do they turn any of these animal loose on public land, of course not? But then they created Cronic Wasting disease to insure that doesn’t happen, or did they. Did CWD really wipe out the American Deer heard, well not in my neck of the woods.

Of course there are people so obsessed with this trophy collecting some will secretly buy a buck and have it released right in front of them on some public hunting ground to say they shot an all time record. Hey it happens, but it is kinda hard to catch them. The same bunch will be the first to call some good old boy a liar if he happens to get lucky and bag a real wild trophy.

This big buck mania has caused another problem. Not everyone has a chance at something so spectacular so they try to grow their own. It just doesn’t work the way it is advertised every time. But still you have a group of pious trophy hunters scolding the everyday deer hunter every time he harvests something other than the “Awesome Buck.” Of course they have the “Management Bucks” for us peons, while they always get the big ones on the outdoor shows. Another brain wash perhaps, what ever happened to the old deer camps where folks from all walks of life just went hunting, and the motto was “You can’t eat horns.”

Commercialization: Got to have the latest in outdoor apparel, go camo first. As you know you can’t kill an awesome buck if he sees you. I remember in Arkansas all the men wore their hunter orange caps all the time, they were proud to be deer hunters. Now you don’t see it any more, but camo is very popular. I wonder what they are hiding from.

Now I like my laser range finder, my GPS, illuminated crosshairs in my scopes, my carbon arrows, my climbing deer stand, my sent proof ground blind, my inline muzzle loader, and my little orange deer pee bottles. I have to have all that stuff because I write about it and that’s how I pay for all that stuff. You don’t think they actually give this to outdoor writers do you? It works too. I don’t know how I ever climbed Mt Magazine with a 30-30 iron sighted rifle and a Case pocket knife and shot my first deer without all the other stuff. I do wish I could read a good article in an outdoor magazine without thumbing through at least ten pages of ads per article.

Liberal Media, Celebrities, and Corporations: One of the best ways to sell a movie or a new pop hit in music is to go on a “Save the Critters Campaign,” while demonizing hunters along the way. Then we have large corporations that support and donate to anti-hunting activities while actually having hunter customers by the thousands, as one huge insurance company is known to do. It is not hard to find out who they are as lists are available of who does what and who you should do business with. But few folks really know the deal. So take a second look.

One of the reasons I write for this company was the fact that my 6 year outdoor newspaper column in a state known as the Sportsmen’s Paradise, was cancelled due to an anti-hunting corporation that took over the newspaper, they kept the fishing guy..

Cannibals: Now these folks are the worst of all, and are the main cause of infighting in the hunting world. I know of one turkey bunch that got in a big beef with some wheelchair guys, oh heaven forbid, didn’t get the whole story on that. Then there was the guy that said the AR-15 was a weapon of terror and should never be used for hunting. That caused a little ruckus in the hunting world, only to reverse and cause an upswing in hunting with the AR-15. Sometimes I wonder if it was all just planned that way. Then I read an advertisement for broad heads that said 50% of turkeys are lost to hunters using brand X, if you use our arrow heads you will kill them all, really. Now there was a real threat to bow hunting, thank you very much. That’s telling every non hunter in the country that all Bowhunters do is wound animals.

It’s not just individuals; it can be whole outdoor associations at each others throats, as well as big companies going for the cash. D.U. and D.D. was there a problem there, ever? Do gun hunters like bow hunters? Do bow hunters like gun hunters? How about traditional black powder hunters against In-line muzzle loaders. There is quite a feud going on between still hunters and dog hunters in Louisiana, which may lead to a loss of a traditional style of hunting. Of course you can’t get anyone to ride the 4 wheelers in an orderly manner, so if it is legal they will find a way to run wild and aggravate everyone else. Cannibals, jealousy, bad manners and infighting really help the world of hunting, making us our own worst enemies.

But the really bad one was the direct assault of the NABC against the American Crossbow Federation. Starting as a summit meeting in Missouri to protect Bowhunter’s rights from anti-hunters, the first and only thing I could tell that they did was turn ninety degrees and attack the crossbow hunters until you would have thought them the “Children of Israel.” To quote Dan Hendricks, “It’s like a lung cancer patient that won’t quit smoking.” We have to stop attacking ethical forms of hunting that we don’t agree with, and just quit all the bickering.

Know Your Enemy: If you have studied any form of strategy you know of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” Yes if you know your enemy you will win half your battles, now we have looked at ourselves a bit to see if we can eliminate some of the in house problems that make us our own worst enemies, and we know who the real enemies are.

But don’t think for one minute it is not a war. We all know the main anti-hunter groups (I won’t give them the honor of being mentioned) and many times rule them out as whackos and fanatics. Well that’s just exactly what they are. Some others however are just innocent city dwellers attempting to do something that feels good to them as they haven’t a clue. Then there are others.

I have known for years that within every Forestry group or DNR there are anti-hunters sitting right at the desks. These are the ones you have to keep an eye on. It’s the person who got the government job in the office and suddenly they realize they are in a position to through in a monkey wrench in the whole system in such a subtle manner it may go unnoticed. Let’s not rule out political influence either when it comes to those jobs.

Then I would invite you to make a personal study of Eco terrorism just for the enlightenment to see how far some of these individuals will in fact go to save Bambi.

What can you do about it? When it looks good it probably isn’t. Always take a second look and engage that analytical part of your mind to sort out the truth, question everything for good answers with long lasting effects. Ask what the long term results will be when something doesn’t look and feel right to you.

Above all sportsmen must keep clean. That means don’t advocate alcohol in the camps, or poaching. Read the game regulations as if it were the Bible and don’t let your buddy make a mistake just because you don’t want to interfere. Go by the rules.

When forming an opinion on hunting make sure it doesn’t cut into the ethical practices of another. By all means take the time to do like David and Lisa Gunter of Pitkin, Louisiana and teach and inspire their 10 year old girl Tracey. Yes the Tracey Gunter Buck is just as important as the Harry Swank Ram, as it sends a clear message to the people that hunting is a good way of life. If we are lucky and watch every step as we “Tread Lightly” as they say, the American Sportsmen may just be around a little while longer to …Pass it on.


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