Claim the privilege of hunting according to the dictates of your own conscience, and allow all hunters the same privilege;
let them practice how, where, or what they may.








Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Ethical Question, Hunting or Shooting?

© 20009, 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.


Hello Everyone! Once again this is work in progress. We will continue to modify, add, and refine as the conversation continues. You will notice that I have added permanent links somewhere over there to the left.
Albert

Last week we delved into the High Fence and Preserve Hunting question. Again I wanted to thank all of you for participating so enthusiastically and professionally. You do all sportsmen a great honor and service.

After carefully reading the post and comments, the impression is that the real question is about the ethics of shooting behind fences or enclosures. Is it ethical to shoot an animal in an enclosure and still call it hunting. Several comments were made questioning the ethics of doing so. But careful review of the conversation yielded no reasons for questioning the ethics of the activity. It is reasonable to suppose one man's ethics are another's moral morass.

At this point ethics and morals seem to be intertwined so tightly as to be indistinguishable. The easiest way to separate them is to define them. Morals are something that we all agree upon ie: killing for the sake of killing is wrong; broad general ideas. Whereas ethics are our method for assuring a moral outcome to any of our actions, or how we define our values. Those of you that are philosophy majors or philosophers please feel free to correct my definitions.

I propose that we dissect what transpires when we pull the trigger. At what point do we have to consciously make a decision as to whether the shot is righteous or not. Is there an ethical checklist that one must complete if and when he is to pull the trigger? Does it matter if you are feeding your family or killing for horns and antlers. What are the objective values that we need in order to make an ethical kill.

Much of it is subjective. Do you consciously decide if pulling the trigger will be ethical when it's a rat? Most will strive to humanely end the rodent' s life by shooting carefully and with purpose.

It becomes stickier when the competitive nature of the human race comes into play. You've paid $4500 for a three day guided Mule Deer hunt. You brought the wife along, and she's been fawning over the broad shouldered guide. You know that your comfort zone is inside of 125 yards. Your guide gets you to just inside of 270 yards on a broad racked 4X4. He puts down his laser range finder and tells you it is 270 yards. He says it's big and tells you to take the shot. He puts his 10X Stetson down for your rifle to rest on for God's sake.

What do you do?

That would be determined by your definition of right or wrong, your ethics.

Is it a 30/30 or 300 Winchester Magnum.
Your knowledge of the ballistics table.
Have you any experience at 300 yards
Can you whip the guide if you mess it up and he chortles about it up at the lodge.
In front of the other hunters... and your wife.

Well maybe that last one doesn't count, but I sure as hell would add it to my equation.

I don't care how big the deer is, if I had a Winchester 94 in thirty-thirty I wouldn't shoot. That's the extent of my decision making process on that particular scenario. I know what I'm capable of and I leave it at that. Whereas with my Weatherby 30/06 I might consider the shot determined by the particular scenario.

Now, if I am in an enclosed property, it would depend upon my perception of whether I earned that deer ; did I work for it. First thing, why am I there? In my particular case, it wouldn't be for a magnificent specimen of that species. No, I would either be shooting culls for meat, or hunting a representative example of the species.

If I was shooting for meat I wouldn't take the shot. I'm there for meat not a big deer. If I was there for antlers, I would take the shot assuming in this case that I had fulfilled my personal criteria for an acceptable hunting experience, and I was comfortable with the probability of that shot.

"A Trophy is a Trophy is a Trophy, and to each his own." Adds Mike Riddle of Native Hunt. "My Trophy might not make P&Y or B&C or S.C.I. books but, it will always remain "MY" Trophy each and every time I look upon it, and reflect on that particular hunt while reliving the most vivid of memories which are conjured up from that hunt."

My primary game species is the feral hog. Most of the time hogs are baited, but in my particular case, I ambush them on their way to the bait, that's what I prefer. I've also ridden in doorless vehicles, four wheelers, and on horseback in pursuit of them, and chased them with dogs. Many of these hunts are less than an hour long from start to finish, but they are hunting expeditions none the less. Personally I have never shot an animal from or even near a vehicle. But I have dismounted and stalked into position to take a killing shot.

Traditions also play an important factor in what we consider ethical. In the south, you chase deer with dogs. When I moved here I was aghast! Up north you shoot dogs that chase deer! But after consideration of the effect, the traditions, and the sport, I concluded that it was just another method of hunting. Interestingly enough I consider hunting hog, bear, or lions with hounds the height of hunting. Well, the height would be wild boar, hounds, horses and lances.

In some areas up north you can bait bear. That is an acceptable means of hunting for those areas. If the management goals of that area were negatively impacted by the practice then it is well within the scope of scientists in the management division to curtail the practice. It is not acceptable for others to deny the practice because they feel it is unethical.

The Hodgeman, otherwise known as Mike Rodgers, as always, does a great job of illustrating the discussion:

"When we step outside of our culture and examine hunting traditions of other cultures the ideas get more outside our realm of experience. When I first moved to Alaska and saw some of the hunting practices in Western AK I was appalled. Shooting swimming caribou from boats, baiting bears, setnets, killing whales- among other things. It took me a while to realize this was a trip to the "store" and the people involved didn't want the experience to be "sporting" because it was their method of survival. Is it ethical- certainly. Moral- I think so. Is it for me- no."

"What passes as ethical for a resident of the Y-K delta who's surviving from nature suddenly becomes unethical if I do it- because its not ethical in the culture I exist in."

"Common practices in my culture- catch and release fishing, shooting large bulls not fit for consumption, even fair chase are looked at as disrespectful of nature from a subsistence perspective."

Mike, thanks for helping refine the discussion.

Though I have absolutely no interest in ever harpooning a whale, I appreciate the skill and Inuit hunter's natural acumen when pursuing them. I also respect the scientists who determine what numbers may be taken, as long as it's science and not politics determining the numbers.

If we were to carefully analyze most situations that we commonly come into contention, we would find that in the end it is not you or I that can honestly say whether the action or activity is "hunting." Only the person in that moment, in that experience, can truly decide whether it is or isn't hunting.

My good friend Rick Kratzke (Whitetail Woods)has given some thought to how he defines his ethics.

"Ethics is a tricky word, but what I will tell you from my experience is this:
  1. I don't shoot unless I feel I can make the shot.
  2. I take pride in following the laws and regulations set forth by the state I live in.
  3. I don't harvest anything unless I intend to eat it
  4. I don't harvest anymore than I can consume in one year unless I am donating it to the homeless.
  5. I can honestly say I have passed up deer when I could have shot, but didn't, because it was not legal to do so.

Now I know everyone has there own definition of what ethics means to them, but in the end if you hunt legally and harvest humanely, (the least amount of suffering to the animal), then you have done right."

An excellent synopsis of one person's ethical criteria for squeezing the trigger.

If you don't desire to participate in a particular form of hunting, or if you disapprove of a certain practice, then you are well within your rights to discuss it with others. But to discredit it or make claims that you cannot substantiate, that is wrong. We have enough opponents without making more of them within our own ranks.

I want to close with this, an observation from Holly Heyser, our own NorcalCazadora.

"If you let people argue about methods of killing (beyond the essential mandate of avoid cruelty/excessive suffering), they forget the simple fact that 96.8 percent of American adults eat things that used to have beating hearts. Wrap yourself in complicated ethical schemes and it becomes easier to marginalize some hunters; define hunting as one method in a larger system in which humans eat animals, and suddenly you can't separate us from the non-hunters - the only remaining divide is vegetarian v. meat eater, and we WAY outnumber the vegetarians."



Among the many things that we need:
  • Scholarly works that we should all be familiar with. Holly Heyser has a post on must read texts on hunting traditions and philosophies: "Books About Hunting ..."
  • Solid science in layman's terms for all of us to be able to grasp easily and use in our own defense.


Again this is a work in progress. I'll be adding to it as the discussion builds. Thank you everyone for your participation an help!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blogs of Note: Average Joe's Handgun Reviews

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Average Joe's NightHawk Lady Hawk
Photo by Average Joe's

Here is a nicely done Blog with nothing but good looking handguns in it. The pictures are well executed and artful. The content is excellent and informative.

The only things I find aggravating, and it's just a minor personal gripe, is that there is no comment section, and you can't open each post in its own window unless you click on the little time stamp on the bottom of the post! It makes it more challenging to link and have a good time throwing quips back and forth!

Here it is: Average Joe's Handgun Reviews Go and enjoy yourselves!

Best Regards,
Albert

Making Jerky, Making Biltong; Either Way it Tastes Great!

© 2009 -2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Some time ago, my "compatriota" Mike from Native Hunt asked me about drying meat without smoke or heat. Coincidentally my good friend Ed, over at Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors, happens to have put together a fantastic tutorial on making Jerky American style. Excuse me, make that Texas style! (You might remember that he also did a great tutorial post on European style skull mounts.) Making jerky is a great way to stock up on some healthy snacks after the hunting season is over and it is a great skill to have regardless. Wild Ed's Texas Style Jerky takes you step by step on the artful and tasty way to make some homemade jerky.

Now, I'm a big fan of biltong, and making it via the southern Africa method of drying meats. There is nothing more delicious than the rich taste of meat that a well dried piece of biltong has.

I make my own using a couple of methods. Both are done indoors; one using the AC air handler, and the other a cardboard box and a fan. They both work about the same, though the AC method is about a day or two faster.

First thing you need is a hunk of meat. You can use beef, deer, elk, any of the deers (fallow, axis, etc). This does not work with pork, and for some reason, I seem to recall that it shouldn't be done with pronghorn antelope.

Cut it with the grain in slices about an inch thick. Cut them into half inch thick strips. Sprinkle them well with salt, and put them in a container over night in the fridge. The next day take them out of the fridge, rinse them off and dry them with a paper towel. Now you can use whatever spices you prefer. I like granulated garlic, Old Bay Seasoning, or Everglades Heat on mine. Now it's time to go and dry your biltong.

With the AC method you need to have an air handler unit that allows you access and enough depth to allow meat to hang freely. It also helps if your wife won't notice the smell of meat, garlic, and pepper wafting throughout the house.

Just hang the meat in the air handler. I used some wire to make a rack inside the air handler.

I have found that paper clips are by far the easiest thing to use to hang the meat from. Just un-bend them into an "S" shape, and skewer the end of the strip on it.

The cardboard box is real easy also. Obtain a tall narrow box; the type used by movers is great. They are about eighteen inches square and four feet high. Get some 3/8th inch dowels and space them out two inches apart, about two inches below the top. Cut a slot six to eight inches high and as wide as the box an inch off the bottom. This is the air entry. Now cut slots, one inch in height and about twelve inches wide on each side near the top, these are the exit holes. Open the top, and hang the meat making sure it doesn't touch either the box or an adjoining piece.

Close the top, plug the fan in and aim it at the intake slot, and wait.

Tom of Boomers and BS knows a thing or two about Biltong. He added the following:

"A 40 watt bulb in a proper socket wired safely in a board at the bottom of the box a decent distance below the meat hangers works as well as a fan in a cardboard box if you build it of wood. Some sort of drip screening/drip tray(s) (Maybe a big #10 can with holes in the sides. Albert) over the bulb itself and for general purposes of keeping things tidy helps. Ventilation holes (with screen door mesh behind them to keep flies out) in the box towards the upper end and on the top and pay attention to electrical and fire safety in your design.

Bulb design works better/faster than the fan design in cooler climates. Combination of both works too. Friend of mine built his with a lightbulb and a PC cooling fan to ventilate it."

The way to test the meat is to take slices off the end. If it's not dry enough for you, let it dry another day. I like mine a little on the wet side.

Things to remember, you need to do this in a climate controlled area. In other words, indoors because the relative humidity is constant. My guess is that you could do this outdoors if you knew that you would have stable temperatures and low humidity for four or five days. You just need a constant breeze to carry off any moisture being released."

Tom also added, "In Africa it's usually done open air, outside, in what amount to mesh tents/cabinets to keep the flies off. Not sure about pronghorn but almost all the biltong I have eaten in Africa was from the Antelope family, most especially Impala. Not uncommon for locals to convert near an entire Impala to biltong."

Pepper is a great fly repellent, if you're going to try this outdoors.

Now biltong is delicious, and it is very easy to eat the equivalent of two pounds of meat in a twenty minute sitting. You have been warned!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Helping Manatees Survive

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Manatee and her... ummm...little baby.

It is that time of the year again when the FWC urges boaters to follow the posted speed zones and watch for manatees as temperatures warm. Manatees are once again moving from warm water sites to coastal areas where they forage for food, rest and care for their young.

Unfortunately the number of documented manatee deaths resulting from watercraft strikes was higher than average statewide from December to March 27. It was particularly high in the southeastern region of Florida where necropsy results show that at least 17 manatees died from boat strikes from irresponsible boat handling . The FWC has been carefully following the mortality numbers, and researchers have provided regular updates to management and law enforcement, regarding the location and movement of manatees. FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement used the information to direct patrols in the areas of concern.


The public is encouraged to call FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline, 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) to report any dead or injured manatees.

Now with the warmer temperatures, manatees will be vulnerable as they migrate and forage in the same waterways shared by many boaters along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Boaters can help manatees have a safe migration by staying in marked channels, wearing polarized sunglasses to improve vision, obeying posted boat speed zones and having someone help scan the water when under way.” said Kipp Frohlich, leader of the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Section.

During warm weather, some waterways will have more restrictive waterway speed zones. Boaters in Citrus, Hillsborough, Lee, Pinellas and Volusia counties should be aware of speed zone changes in a few manatee habitat locations.

For more information about manatees, visit MyFWC.com/manatee/.

New! Sasquatch Jerky from Jerky.com

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Folks,

You're not going to believe this. My friends at Jerky.com have a very special jerky for that connoisseur that you know.

Delicious and nutritious Sasquatch Jerky by Jerky.com

Sasquatch Jerky

I know what you are thinking, "Sasquatch; big, furry, ape looking thing?"

That's right.

Only through the hard work and perseverance of the the Jerky.com acquisitions team has such a delicacy been made available to you, the discriminating Jerky aficionado.

I can't phrase it any better than the chefs at Jerky.com:

"Look no further! Straight from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States comes this rare, mouth-watering, flavor packed snack. Jerky.com is proud to introduce its signature brand Sasquatch jerky, made only from fresh, hormone-free Sasquatch meat. Prepared the old fashioned way, our hand-sliced strips of 100% premium choice Sasquatch meat are seasoned and marinated to perfection to provide you with the best product available...guaranteed.
"



How can you go wrong?

Jerky.com
1-877-97-Jerky
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Only $499.00

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Custom Homemade Shooting Bench

© 2009- 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
Here is a great homemade shooting bench. The High Road Senior Member Mike Jackmin put this fantastic shooting bench together, and posted the process with plenty of pictures.

Shooting Bench made by The High Road member Mike Jackmin
Picture by Mike Jackmin

Homemade Shooting Bench

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan

Hunting Ethics, Right in my Backyard

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As out conversation this week will be about ethics, I am posting these two incidents that occurred this week here in my own county.

Officer Loren Lowers of the FWC, was observing a baited area near Myakka City during the opening day of spring turkey season. Shortly before daylight, an individual arrived and sat within 20 yards of an electric feeder that had corn inside it. When it was daylight, Officer Lowers came out from his concealed location and identified himself. The individual was with his young son, and told Officer Lowers he knew the feeder was there, but was told it was empty. The feeder was lowered to show the individual it was not empty and still had a good amount of cracked corn inside the steel drum. The individual was cited for taking or attempting to take turkey over a baited area. He was also issued two written warnings for hunting license and turkey stamp violations.


FWC Lieutenant Tom Ware was observing a baited area near Myakka City during the opening day of spring turkey season. A short time before daylight, an individual approached and sat within 48 yards of an electric feeder that had cracked corn inside it. At daylight, Lieutenant Ware came out from his concealed location and identified himself. The individual said he knew there was a feeder somewhere, but didn’t think he was that close to it and that it was supposed to be empty. The feeder was lowered to show the individual that it was half full of cracked corn. The individual was cited for taking or attempting to take turkey over a baited area. He was also issued a citation for no hunting license and a written warning for no turkey stamp.

In both cases, not only where the perpetrators hunting over bait, which is illegal for turkey, they didn't even bother to get licenses! I have a call into the FWC for the officers to call me. I am going to post the names of the game law violators if the law allows, and I am forwarding it to the local newspaper.

It is time that we took these matters and brought them to the forefront. Warnings? Citations with stiff penalties should be the only answer to these kind of scofflaws. Only a sharp hit where it really hurts will stop these miscreants.

Regards,
Albert

A Thing of Beauty; AyA Side by Side w/ Hammers

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A little something from SHOT Show 2009.


A beautiful double with hammers, in 12 Gauge by AyA of Spain.
Click on picture to enlarge.

Monday, March 30, 2009

When Outdoor Bloggers Think... I Thought I Could Smell the Smoke

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330gr LBTs from Cast Performance
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I think we have hit an important milestone here at the Chronicles. 40 comments on a single post! Now that's not a lot compared to some of our illustrious fellow Bloggers, but I'm impressed none the less!

I wanted to thank everyone for participating and adding their comments, opinions, and rational to the argument. Even in the midst of heated debate, we kept our heads about us and maintained a civil and decorous discussion. Thank you all for a job well done.

We are going to analyze the post and the comments and try to synthesize the ideas into a "Memorandum of Understanding."

But before we can do that, there are still several areas in need of further exploration. Later this week we will pick it up again and discuss ethical take.

The question I will propose is, "What constitutes ethical take? When is it not ethical to pull the trigger?" Again I want to emphasize we want to think this through and answer with depth and clarity.

Boy oh boy, I can smell what's cooking!

Albert