Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sport Hunting, the American Pastime

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Toe to Toe with Anti-Hunters,
Let's Get the Facts Straight
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Delphina, aka "Dell the Sissy-Boy," a rude, obnoxious, and misinformed anti-hunting activist, decided to grace us with her presence at the OBS. Her first appearance didn't quite go her way, but through the gentle and persuasive ministrations of the members of the OBS we really straightened her out.

I challenged Delphina to visit here at the TROC, but she talked about peeing on Picasso, which I find to be rather weird, but to each his or her own I guess.

I am also going to ignore the fact that her response was completely and totally plagiarized from the "In Defense of Animals" website, the home of lots of animal rights extremists. But plagiarism is plagiarism and that's very naughty!

Her post on "Facts" follows:

Looks like none of you dare to address the “sport killing” called varmint hunting. So let me educate you with facts on what you do:

Hunting, the stalking and killing of animals, has been an American tradition most likely since the Ice Age when plant food became scarce.

If primate studies are indicative, then even pre-Homo Sapient hunted for flesh. And uhm, America didn't exist during the Ice Age... Just saying.

Today it exists as a “sport”; even when the animals’ flesh is eaten, there is no excuse or justification for stalking and killing an animal in his or her habitat.

That is an opinion on your part, not a fact.

Nevertheless, people not only engage in hunting but strongly defend it as their right to do so.

The same way we defend your right to say and do what you want. Unlike you...

With an arsenal of rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, bows and arrows, hunters kill more than 200 million animals yearly – crippling, orphaning, and harassing millions more. The annual death toll in the U.S. includes 42 million mourning doves, 30 million squirrels, 28 million quail, 25 million rabbits, 20 million pheasants, 14 million ducks, 6 million deer, and thousands of geese, bears, moose, elk, antelope, swans, cougars, turkeys, wolves, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, boars, and other woodland creatures. (Compiled by The Fund for Animals with data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies.)

I found the same data... except they never mention anything about crippling, orphaning, and harassing. So I already see a pattern of misinformation. Anyway, at the rate you imply we are going, there shouldn't be anything left pretty soon... But wait, aren't the numbers of animals increasing every year?

Less than seven percent of the U.S. population hunts. Hunting is permitted on 60 percent of U.S. wildlife refuges and in many national forests and state parks. On federal land alone (more than half a billion acres), more than 200 million animals are killed every year.

Well, you're forgetting that there is even more private land that is hunted, so that 200 million number is actually substantially reduced. More misinformation on your part.

Hunting by humans operates perversely. The kill ratio at a couple hundred feet with a semi-automatic weapon and scope is virtually 100 percent.

At 70 yards I should hope so!

The animal, no matter how well-adapted to escape natural predation, has virtually no way to escape death once he/she is in the cross hairs of a scope mounted on a rifle. Nature’s adaptive structures and behaviors that have evolved during millions of years simply count for naught when a human is the hunter.

By your argument we must be very efficient in our killing, which explains why so many hunters go home empty handed.

Most deer, for example, would not perceive anything that is within the effective range of a big game rifle (up to 400 yards) as a predator or a source of danger. A wolf at that distance, even though detected, would be totally ignored. Even the much smaller range of bow-hunter (about 50-75 feet) is barely of concern to deer. Deer may start to keep an eye on a hunter at that distance, but the evasion instinct doesn’t kick in until it’s too late.

You don't get out in the woods much, do you. More misinformation. If what you say is true, hunters wouldn't spend the BILLIONS of dollars every year on camouflage, scent eliminators, blinds, and who knows what else to eliminate an animals ability to detect them.

The stress that hunting inflicts on animals–the noise, the fear, and the constant chase–severely restricts their ability to eat adequately and store the fat and energy they need to survive the winter. Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation, and the campfires, recreational vehicles, trash, and other hunting side effects endanger both wildlife and the environment. For animals like wolves who mate for life and have close-knit family units, hunting can severely harm entire communities.

Some of that is true. There are always slobs and ruffians in every group including yours. We, as the true conservationists, try to keep our disruptions to a minimum. If you knew anything about hunting, you would also know that hunters try to minimize their disruptions, it makes for poor hunting when the animals leave. Wolves tend to vote with their feet and vacate an area. Curiously, through hunters tax dollars and support for wildlife restoration projects, wolf populations have increased sufficiently to allow a limited hunt for those that partake of such things.

Hunters and hunting organizations, including state and federally funded sponsors like Fish and Wildlife Services and departments of environmental conservation, promote supposed justifications as to why hunting is necessary. One of these justifications is that if certain animals were not hunted, they would slowly die of starvation and thus the lesser of the two evils is to humanely kill them. There are problems with this logic.

Nothing supposed about those management tools. And the only issues with the logic is your failure to understand that as conservationists, we believe that to "Conserve" nature's assets is the best use of them.

When hunters talk about shooting overpopulated animals, they are usually referring to white-tailed deer, representing only 3 percent of all the animals killed by hunters. Sport hunters shoot millions of mourning doves, squirrels, rabbits, and waterfowl, and thousands of predators, none of whom any wildlife biologist would claim are overpopulated or need to be hunted.

If Snow geese aren't managed by hunting they would definitely destroy their tundra homes. That's science, not opinion. Squirrels and rabbits go through boom and bust cycles, along with the predators that prey on them. Again science not opinion.

Even with deer, hunters do not search for starving animals. They either shoot animals at random, or they seek out the strongest and healthiest animals in order to bring home the biggest trophies or largest antlers. Hunters and wildlife agencies are not concerned about reducing deer herds, but rather with increasing the number of targets for hunters and the number of potential hunting license dollars. Thus, they use deer overpopulation as a smokescreen to justify their sport. The New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife states that “the deer resource has been managed primarily for the purpose of sport hunting,” (New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, An Assessment of Deer Hunting in New Jersey, 1990).

Again what is your objection to this? Hunter's pay for conservation. Take out the hunters, and no one will fork over the billions of dollars needed to maintain the wild areas.

Hunters also shoot nonnative species such as ring-necked pheasants who are hand-fed and raised in pens and then released into the wild just before hunting season. Even if the pheasants – native to China – survive the hunters’ onslaught, they are certain to die of exposure or starvation in the nonnative environment. While hunters claim they save overpopulated animals from starvation, they intentionally breed some species and let them starve to death.

I've noticed that nature does the same thing too. Imagine that.

Hunters and hunting organizations also promote the idea that hunting is necessary for “wildlife management” and “conservation.” “Wildlife management” and “conservation” are euphemisms used to describe programs that ensure that there are always enough animals for hunters to hunt. Because they make their money primarily from the sale of hunting licenses, the major function of wildlife agencies is not to protect individual animals or biological diversity, but to propagate “game” species for hunters to shoot.

Obviously the market demands that hunters be catered to. You're not willing to pay for all the other conservation programs that are supported by hunters for your benefit. Habitat restoration, Wood Duck nesting boxes, reforestation projects, shoreline clean-up activities, and the myriad of other things that Sportsmen pay for.

State agencies build roads through our wild lands to facilitate hunter access, they pour millions of tax dollars into law enforcement of hunting regulations and hunter education, and into manipulating habitat by burning and clear-cutting forests to increase the food supply for “game” species such as deer.

We pay for it, so we earned it. The biggest chunk of change being spent though is on regular law enforcement, and battling drug traffickers, to say nothing of the Homeland Defense requirements. Yeah Delphina, we even pay to keep your rear end safe from the bad guys while you skip through the forest trails that we pay to maintain.

More food means a larger herd and more animals available as targets. Hunting programs also cause wildlife overpopulation by stimulating breeding by conducting “buck only” hunts, which can leave as many as six does per buck; pen-raising quail, grouse, and pheasants for use as hunters’ targets; transporting raccoons, antelopes, martens, wild turkeys, and other animals from one state to another to bolster populations for hunters; and exterminating predators like wolves and mountain lions in order to throw prey populations off balance, thereby “justifying” the killing of both “dangerous” and “surplus” animals.

Unless you can show me the data and proof for these allegations, then I all I see is more unfounded and spurious lies and misinformation.

Hunters claim that they pay for “conservation” by buying hunting licenses, duck stamps, etc. But the relatively small amount each hunter pays does not cover the cost of hunting programs or game warden salaries. The public lands many hunters use are supported by taxpayers. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs, which benefit hunters, get most of their funds from general tax revenues, not hunting fees.

False. Hunter's only use the land for a very limited period of time each year, in some cases for less than a week. The rest of the time is subsidized by hunters for everyone else. Hunters pay for the lions share ( Over 75%) of all conservation dollars collected and used. In 2007 alone hunters paid $723,712,682.00. That's 3/4 of a BILLION dollars in license fees alone. ( US Fish And Wildlife Service National Hunting License Report) That doesn't include the tax dollars paid into the Pittman-Robertson Act which was approximately another $300,000,000.

Just in Florida, sportsmen contribute to and support many things:

• Total annual spending by Florida sportsmen is more than twice the revenues from Miami-based Burger King ($4.8 billion vs. $2.05 billion).
• Sportsmen support more jobs in Florida than Disney World (85,000 jobs vs. 61,000).
• Annual spending by Florida anglers is three times greater than the value of the state’s orange crop ($4.8 billion vs. 1.2 billion).
• State and local taxes generated annually by hunting and fishing funds the equivalent of 11,643 teachers’ salaries.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Funds benefiting “non-game” species are scarce.

Really? So all the preceding money that sportsmen contribute for the privilege of hunting or fishing during limited times, all that money does nothing for other animals during the off season?

Hunters kill more animals than recorded tallies indicate. It is estimated that, for every animal a hunter kills and recovers, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully of blood loss, infection, or starvation. Those who don’t die often suffer from disabling injuries.

Estimated by who? You? More misinformation, unsubstantiated, and spurious data. If what you lie about was true, shed hunters would find a heck of a lot more antlers than they manage to!

Because of carelessness or the effects of alcohol, scores of horses, cows, dogs, cats, hikers, and others are wounded or killed each year by hunters. In 1988, 177 people were killed and 1,719 injured by hunters while walking through the woods or on their own property.

Actually, your misrepresentation should also state that approximately 78% of those injuries and fatalities were accidentally self inflicted. And the statistics show that hunting continues to become safer year by year through education and mentoring programs. The latest statistics show that there where 93 fatalities for that year. At the same time there were over 800 pool drownings, 9600 poisonings, and 12800 fatal falls. Seems like hunting is actually pretty safe. Maybe you should dedicate your time and energy into the "National Fall Prevention Campaign." Oh, but I forgot, you really don't care what happens to humans.

Hunters say that they are “ethical” and follow the concept of “fair chase.” What is fair about a chase in which the hunter uses a powerful weapon from ambush and the victim has no defense except luck?

What do you think I should do, use my bare hands? Or maybe just a knife. Nope can't do that in many places. Legislatures think that knife use might be too challenging. Go figure.

Furthermore, despite the hunting community’s repeated rhetoric of “hunting ethics,” many hunting groups have refused to end repugnant practices that go above and beyond the cruelty inherent in all sport hunting.

There you go with opinion again, I thought you said this was about facts. There is nothing inherently cruel about hunting.

There is clearly no “fair chase” in many of the activities sanctioned by the hunting community, such as: “canned hunts,” in which tame, exotic animals – from African lions to European boars – are unfair game for fee-paying hunters at private fenced-in shooting preserves; “contest kills,” in which shooters use live animals as targets while competing for money and prizes in front of a cheering crowd; “wing shooting,” in which hunters lure gentle mourning doves to sunflower fields and blast the birds into pieces for nothing more than target practice, leaving more than 20 percent of the birds they shoot crippled and un-retrieved; “baiting,” in which trophy hunters litter public lands with piles of rotten food so they can attract unwitting bears or deer and shoot the feeding animals at point-blank range; ‘hounding,” in which trophy hunters unleash packs of radio-collared dogs to chase and tree bears, cougars, raccoons, foxes, bobcats, lynx, and other animals in a high-tech search and destroy mission, and then follow the radio signal on a handheld receptor and shoot the trapped animal off the tree branch.

This paragraph will require a completely different post to disassemble, refute, and set to rights. Suffice it to say that the amount of innuendo, half-truths and misinformation is enough to choke a horse on.

Some hunters say hunting with a bow and arrow avoids using high tech equipment that might make it an unfair chase. Bow hunting is one of the cruelest forms of hunting because primitive archery equipment wounds more animals than it kills. Dozens of scientific studies indicate that bow hunting yields more than a 50 percent crippling rate. For every animal dragged from the woods, at least one animal is left wounded to suffer – either to bleed to death or to become infested with parasites and diseases

Unsubstantiated data that came from one admittedly limited survey in a very limited locale in Texas. Again this is the classic attack by anti-hunters. Use faulty data, opinions, half-truths, and outright lies to attack and misinform.

Hunting is not the cure but the cause of overpopulation and starvation. Luke Dommer, the founder of the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, had proposed to several state wildlife agencies that if they are serious about using hunting as a population control tool in areas where the sex ratio is already badly distorted, they should institute a doe season (taking no bucks but only does until the ratio is again stabilized at 50:50). All agencies have rejected that proposal thereby giving up any pretense of ecologically motivated sound wildlife management. They quite consciously and openly state that they are in business to provide the maximum number of live targets to hunters each year.

Yet many states have adopted doe only seasons, antlerless seasons, and doe before buck programs. And don't forget all the other things Dommer said had to be done simultaneously, which is why his ideas were rejected.

Powerful hunting lobbies in 35 states have persuaded lawmakers to enact “hunter harassment” laws that make it illegal for non-hunters to interfere in behalf of animals targeted by hunters, but these laws are being challenged on constitutional grounds.

So only 7% of the US population actively hunts, but they are so powerful, that they can enact Hunter Harassment legislation? Maybe, people like you, that pretend to care for animals, shouldn't poison hunting dogs, try to stop lawful activities, and maybe, just maybe you should stop lying about things you know nothing about.

Connecticut’s law was found to impact on freedom of speech without a compelling state interest and was struck down by a U.S. appeals court.

Where, oh where, do you get your information from!

Not only did the State Supreme Court of Connecticut spank you silly anti-hunters out of the courthouse, but so did the New Jersey Appeals Court, and the Illinois Appeals Court. For the love of Pete, don't make it this easy for me to discredit you and show how full of hate and lies you anti-hunters are.

I'm done with Delphina for the time being, I'll have to find the time to answer a few more statements of misinformation left. But don't worry, I'll get to it soon enough.

I'm going to repeat one of the things that really bother me about all of this. Why is it that I have to defend the privilege of hunting, from people that have no respect for the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? I go out and risk my life to protect their right to speak freely, and instead of the truth, most of what they say are half-truths and outright lies. Examples they use are aberrations, or isolated incidents. Information is frequently outdated, inaccurate, or just plain fabricated. They want to legislate against hunters and thereby coerce me and every other sportsman by force of arms. In other words, they want hunting outlawed, thereby allowing the use of law enforcement personnel to coerce and compel obedience to their belief system.

Sometimes I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would make of all this.

I have to thank Delphina for the opportunity to set things straight. I found quite a bit of supporting evidence that, as you saw, discredited Delphina. It also gave me an opportunity to find new material to support the hunter's rightful position in this great Nation of ours. I also hope Dell appreciates everything my fellow soldiers, patriots, and countrymen have done for him over the decades and centuries so that he can say what he wants without fear of retribution.

Aren't you lucky to live in this great Nation.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


Anonymous said...

BRAVO Albert!

You are definately a pit bull in the outdoor blogosphere and I commend you.

Phillip Loughlin said...

A new Rasch crusade! Loving it!

It's an exhausting and largely thankless battle, fighting the lies and misdirection of the antis, but it's one that needs to be carried.

Glad you're up to it for now.

LSP said...

Well said Albert.

I feel that most antis have a hatred for the countryside and its people - to say nothing of being indifferent to animals themselves. If they thought otherwise they'd actually do something positive for conservation. I fear 'animal rights' tends to be a handy excuse for a more radical agenda.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I have to commend you again, Mr. Rasch, for all the things that you do. I know not how you find the time to do this research, but I'm here to tell you that it is time well spent.

A big thank you from all of us who enjoy hunting for your post such as this.

You are an outdoor blogging pit bull indeed.

ASM826 said...

Even though you wrote that for us, and for yourself, it is well thought out and well said.

As a coda, if she is that opposed to meat eating, she should avoid benefiting from the work done by meat eaters. Like all the nice wires on the poles delivering electricity and the power plants built and staffed by meat eating men.

And anything delivered in a truck by meat eating driver, or use of a road or bridge built by meat eaters.

Her willingness to use those things exposes the truth of her position.

Editor said...

a very interesting and concise post to refute this anti-hunter.
most of these people and yes i know what i am talking about have never spent one minute in anything but a managed environment.
from experience I also believe that most wounded deer live to fight another day.
good job.

Unknown said...

Jut because someone takes a contrary view to you it doesn't mean to say that they have no validity in their argument. You benefit from the work of the same people ho may be vegetarian or vegan or macro biotic.

i guess this won't get past you guys. So let me shoot you with a 30-06 and see how you do. These are sentient beings ie they feel pain unlike you. You have no empathy for the things you hunt. Why not be real men and go hunt with a bow and not form some tree stand. I would love o see you against a bull elk on foot with no gun. You would crap yourselves

Albert A Rasch said...

I went hand to hand with an Afghan insurgent and won. I was scared, but I did not let that interfere with what needed to be done.

To state that I have no empathy for the animal whose lives I take would be incorrect.

I might add that I do not believe I have taken exception to someone for being vegetarian, rather I take exception to being told I am wrong for hunting, or eating meat.