The Armchair Outfitter

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Both Barrels

November 9th, 2009 · No Comments


For reasons I still fail to understand, an anti-hunter recently began posting on another outdoor blog I read. (O.K., it was Field and Stream.) I can’t fathom why an anti-hunter would frequent that site, but as I said in one of my comments, it’s just as well. If she were not online annoying us, she might be running around loose in the world where she could do some real damage. There was some ridiculous stuff, like her assertion that Jesus wouldn’t condone hunting or fishing. I replied that by all indications, Jesus spent his time hanging around with a bunch of fishermen, and they didn’t practice catch and release.

Along with all of the other tofu-induced liberal frothings, however, she did raise some semi-serious questions. She seemed to be particularly incensed by her misconceived notions of trophy hunting, and she was perplexed by the idea of managing for bigger and more numerous deer one would then attempt to “murder.” In situations such as this, I advocate speaking in a low, calm voice while slowly backing away, so I posted the following response to her questions:

Not that it will matter, but I will give you a straight answer. Wildlife management is not just about numbers. The goal of wildlife management is a stable and healthy population. Can we get off deer just for a second and look at snow geese? The population of snow geese has exploded to the point that liberal bag limits and long seasons are now in place to reduce that population. Animal numbers in nature are regulated by disease and starvation in addition to predation. If snow goose hunting were banned tomorrow, the population would be curbed eventually by a massive die-off of the species.

Now, back to deer. People seek to increase the size and number of deer on hunting properties managed for deer hunting. This does not impact the population of your state’s deer herd nearly as much as other factors such as human population density and agricultural practices. Hunters want to take healthy animals and leave a sufficient population of healthy animals to ensure a good harvest for the future. You won’t agree with me here, but animals are a resource.

Many people who hunt like to take “trophy” animals. I’m more of a meat hunter myself, but to each his or her own. I have no problem with someone who wants to take a world-class animal, and you wouldn’t either if you understood how many immature animals or others that just don’t “measure up” that hunter will have to pass up in order take (and you may substitute kill if you like, the terminology makes no difference) that ideal specimen. You can’t shoot the first doe you see and think that an 8-point is going to come trotting out right behind her to see what that loud noise was. I’m fine with holding out for a “stud” as you call them, so long as there is already a doe or two in my freezer to last my family until the next season. Before that, if it’s brown, it’s down. I didn’t come up with that one, but you can quote me if you like.

Finally, let’s address what’s really bugging you. When I take, kill, slaughter, again whatever term you like is fine, an animal, I am really happy. I enjoy it. I am thankful to have food for the table, and I snap a few photos so I can show my friends what a fine specimen I have taken. I usually substitute a handshake for the high-five, but a 75-pound doe merits the same fanfare to me as a “hoss” buck because I have accomplished what I set out to do. True, I have cut off the rest of that animal’s natural lifespan, but why should coyotes and buzzards eat better than me? Do you believe those other species eat meat only because they don’t know any better?

You are entitled to your own beliefs and to live your life as you see fit, but you don’t extend that same courtesy to others. You want instead to impose your will. I don’t spend my time on the PETA site, and I don’t berate my vegetarian and vegan friends. They have the good sense and decency to realize that what I do in hunting game is moral, ethical, and right although they choose not to do it.

Tags: Random Musings

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