Rebuttal to Wildlife Professionals

Since my rebuttal to the many posts opposing my Examiner article on bow hunting is too large, I have decided to place it here in it’s entirety:

I have been following the thread with great interest and have found a few of your ideas to be valid, however I won’t continue to debate the subject with a group of people who obviously have not even had the respect to read the original post. Today I deleted the entire thread. I can’t seem to resist looking at the updates and my blood boils every time one pops up into my profile with yet another inane argument, riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, on why hunters should be allowed to continue maiming wildlife with high powered archery equipment.

Many in the group believe in the superiority of the bow to the gun. I am ex military and have a pretty good idea of the capability of both. For example, the muzzle velocity of a .270 Winchester round averages over 3000 FPS, depending on the weight of the bullet. The speed of an arrow shot from a modern compound bow might reach 300 FPS. At 50 yards that is a flight time of .5 seconds vs less than .05 seconds. Even if you shoot with 100% accuracy, a half a second is plenty of time for an animal to hear the slap of your bow string and move out of position to become wounded instead of killed.

Someone said archery is the only acceptable method of culling animals in the city limits. I don’t believe the citizens of this country want to see their neighborhoods scoured by bow hunters trying to reduce the deer population. If a mountain lion or bear or any other predator is harassing humans within city limits, Fish and Game or the police would be called. This is a job for professionals, not hunters. Professionals are always assumed to be allowed to use equipment that is not necessarily available to the common populace, so the idea that bow hunting is necessary for this reason is nonsense.

This group’s continual comparison of bow hunting to cars is disingenuous. Cars are a necessary function of modern society and car deer collisions are unavoidable. Furthermore, people do not deliberately run down deer with their cars with the intent to maim or kill them. The act of shooting an arrow into an animal is the deliberate and avoidable choice of the hunter. The group says that animal activists bring up problems with no solutions. If this group would read my article it would realize I have identified a problem, the problem of large animals wounded by hunting arrows, and provided a solution. Banning bow hunting is a valid solution to animals wounded by arrows and it would affect only a small percentage of the population. Sweeping speed limit laws and other traffic regulations would affect millions of drivers. Furthermore, if this group feels so strongly about animals hit by vehicles, anyone here is free to advocate for wildlife protection traffic laws.

You speak of what a time honored tradition bow hunting is. Many of our ancestors and fellow humans have had and still have traditions that have no place in the civilized world. For example the recently canceled annual Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival where stray dogs are hunted down, beaten, skinned and boiled alive because in the middle ages there was a problem involving disease and stray dogs. Recently the bloody dolphin slaughter in Taiji Cove, Japan drew the ire of the entire world and even though the hunt this year was completed as planned, negative publicity and public awareness will most likely result in it’s cancellation next year. There is no more ingrained tradition than bull fighting in Spain, however due to EU pressure and public awareness, the barbaric tradition of torturing a bull to death for entertainment has been officially banned in Barcelona. Even though the Andean Condor is a threatened species and the national bird for a number of countries, the Yawar Festivals where the birds are captured and tied to bulls until they are thrashed to death continue. Hundreds of thousands of names have been added to petitions to end this madness.

Someone said I wanted to ban bow hunting just because I don’t like it. This is apparently another person who did not feel the need to read the original article before sounding off. Nowhere did I say I didn’t like bow hunting. I said bow hunting should be banned in the hunting of large animals because of the unacceptable wounding rate.

Someone took offense that I called bow hunters sadistic. I am struck by the number of members in this group who believe in their great hunting prowess, yet according to dozens of studies, somehow over 50% of the time, despite your touted skill, you still manage to miss your target. So how can you say you are not sadistic when you take the shot knowing that going in you have a greater than 50 /50 chance of horribly wounding the animal? It is also disingenuous to compare your hunting to suffering of animals caused by predators. Predators have to kill to survive, most often taking the weakest and the sick of their prey, strengthening herds and enhancing the environment as intended by God Himself long before man appeared on the evolutionary time scale. Hunters kill the best and the strongest specimens among the species they hunt, weakening the herds they purport to support.

Someone spoke about the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, saying that this is a requirement for consideration in the group as a wildlife professional. Where is this noted in the group bylaws? Why was I allowed to participate in this group when I am not considered a “Wildlife Professional”? Wildlife professionals themselves do not even follow the NAWCM: “Sister #2 – Prohibition on Commerce of Dead Wildlife Commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is prohibited to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations. Your own code prohibits the hunting of wildlife for profit, yet coyotes, wolves, bobcats, raccoons and more are routinely hunted for their fur. One of your participants prided himself in being hired to kill overpopulated wildlife. How is that not commercial hunting? Sister #5 – Non-Frivolous Use In North America, individuals may legally kill certain wild animals under strict guidelines for food and fur, self-defense and property protection. Laws restrict against the casual killing of wildlife merely for antlers, horns or feathers.” I live in the mountains in wildlife country. The carcasses of headless wildlife are routinely found rotting on the ground, the obvious victim of trophy hunting. Coyote and wolf slaughter contests are hardly seen by the general public as fitting “strict guidelines”.

The guidelines even contradict themselves. How can it be OK to hunt for profit in some cases and not in others? How can bounty hunters claim not to be commercial? How can hunting one animal for fur be frivolous and the killing of another for its fur completely legal? How can this model purport to be the law when different states have different laws, many of which contradict the model?

I was repeatedly chastised in this thread to keep my personal feelings about individual animals and pets to myself, yet post after post after post was submitted describing the personal feelings of hunters, with no studies, facts or figures to support them, about how they felt about their skills, their feelings of closeness with our ancestors, their feelings about walking with nature, etc. Not one person told any of them to keep their feelings to themselves. I can’t count the number of times I have read, “I would bet” and “I would wager” from major contributors in this group. I have provided studies, facts and numbers in my article and have been met with nothing but vitriol from alleged scientific experts who have nothing but bets and wagers to offer in rebuttal. Instead of attacking with your feelings and your beliefs, let me see some real numbers, real studies and real evidence.

As a reporter some of your statements have only reenforced my position that the hunting community cannot be relied upon to police itself and those statements will be put to good use by me in future articles. For example someone said, and I am paraphrasing, “although sometimes valid, personal beliefs, feelings and ethics have no place here”. What kind of a person thinks a hunting license and a gun exempts him from ethical behavior? Another in gory detail explains how the broad head arrow is designed to wound the animal and cause it to hemorrhage to death in hopes of recovering the animal later. I doubt my readership will find this to be an acceptable rebuttal.

I was told that it is wrong to consider the feelings of an individual animal. This group may consider the pain of a single animal to be inconsequential to the overall goal of wildlife conservation, but fortunately the bulk of the populace does not feel the same way. That is why hundreds of thousands of people will take time out of their day to sign a petition to free an orca named Tilikum. It is why a utility worker will risk injury to free a coyote caught in a fence. It is why a firefighter will risk his life in a fire to save a mother cat and her kittens. It is why wildlife sanctuaries exist, often taking in animals that your group has deliberately injured. It is why public outcry in Colorado forced wildlife officials to helicopter in hay to a deer herd that was stranded in the snow in the high country. It is why ordinary citizens will enter an icy stream to rescue a hypothermic wolf or risk drowning on a frozen lake to save a single dog. It is why I once risked getting fired from my job, taking a whole day off to capture and take an injured fox to a rehab center, to load up a duck that couldn’t fly, take a poisoned pigeon to a bird center, rescue a baby sparrow that my border collie stood fast and pointed out and to take time out of my day to remove a bull snake from the highway.

That is the beauty of our country. The good and compassionate people of this nation have the right to take their petitions to their government and demand change. In my state we have successfully banned bear trapping and dog racing, horse tripping has been banned in Oregon. Bear baiting continues in South Carolina, but public pressure is turning the tide. Our constitutional freedom of the press has brought to light the plight of captive animals at Sea World. In most of the cases I have mentioned, the outrage of the many has overridden the desires and pleasures of the few. And regardless of all of your opinions and your feelings, I will continue to press to have bow hunting banned for the hunting of large wildlife.

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