The Infertile Union

So you don’t get the idea I go around unfairly picking on small grassroots groups, here’s an excerpt from my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, wherein I take on the Goliath of all national green groups for siding with hunting…

Sport hunters have enjoyed so much laudation of late they’re beginning to cast themselves as conservation heroes. What’s worse is that many modern, influential green groups are swallowing that blather, hook, line and sinker. Maybe they ought to reread the words of Sierra Club founder, John Muir:

“Surely a better time must be drawing nigh when godlike human beings will become truly humane, and learn to put their animal fellow mortals in their hearts instead of on their backs or in their dinners. In the meantime we may just as well as not learn to live clean, innocent lives instead of slimy, bloody ones. All hale, red-blooded boys are savage, fond of hunting and fishing. But when thoughtless childhood is past, the best rise the highest above all the bloody flesh and sport business…”

Henry David Thoreau, another nineteenth-century nature-lover whose forward-thinking writings were an inspiration to Muir, cautions, “No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure he does. The hare in its extremity cries like a child. I warn you, mothers, that my sympathies do not make the usual philanthropic distinctions.”

If those dated messages and mockery are lost on twenty-first-century Sierra-clubbers, Edward Abbey’s sentiment should be obvious enough for anyone, “To speak of harvesting other living creatures, whether deer or elk or birds or cottontail rabbits, as if they were no more than a crop, exposes the meanest, cruelest, most narrow and homocentric of possible human attitudes towards the life that surrounds us.”

Early vanguards of ecological ideology recognized Homo sapiens as just one among thousands of animal species on the planet, no more important than any other in the intricate web of life. They also abhorred sport hunting.

But a shocking turn-around is taking place in the current bastardization of the environmental movement. The Sierra Club and other large, corporate green groups are embracing (read: sleeping with) powerful hunting groups like the Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association (NRA). In a transparent effort to appear down-home and therefore more in touch with nature, they’re making the fatal mistake of joining frces with sportsmen whose conservation “ethic” exists only so their preferred prey species can be slain again and again.

The infertile union between super-sized modern green groups and mega-bucks hunting clubs must have been sired by their shared conviction that humans are the most crucial cogs in the wheel of life (or at least the squeakiest wheels in the dough machine). As the only animal capable of coughing up cash when the collection plate comes around, human beings (every last gourmandizing, carnivorous one of them) are the primary concern; their wants must be given priority over those of all other species. Contemporary environmental organizations, seduced by a desire to engage as many paying members as they can get their hands on (regardless of their attitudes towards animal life), must believe blood-soaked money is as green underneath as any.

Forever stagnating in “thoughtless childhood,” members of hunting groups like the NRA live for the day they can register a record-breaking trophy with the Boone and Crocket Club—formed by Roosevelt “to promote manly sport with rifles.” Fund for Animals creator, Cleveland Amory, took issue with the sporty statesman in his anti-hunting epic, Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife. A benevolent humanitarian for humans and nonhumans alike, Mr Amory wrote, “Theodore Roosevelt…cannot be faulted for at least some efforts in the field of conservation. But here the praise must end. When it came to killing animals, he was close to psychopathic. Dangerously close indeed (think: Ted Bundy). In his two-volume African Game Trails, Roosevelt lovingly muses over shooting elephants, hippos, buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, zebras, hartebeest, impalas, pigs, the not-so-formidable 30-pound steenbok and even (in what must have seemed the pinnacle of manly sport with rifles) a mother ostrich on her nest.

But don’t let on to a hunter your informed opinion of their esteemed idol, because, as Mr Amory points out, “…the least implication anywhere that hunters are not the worthiest souls since the apostles drives them into virtual paroxysms of self-pity.” Amory goes on to say:

The hunter, seeing there would soon be nothing left to kill, seized upon the new-fangled idea of “conservation” with a vengeance. Soon they had such a stranglehold [think: Ted Nugent] on so much of the movement that the word itself was turned from the idea of protecting and saving the animals to the idea of raising and using them—for killing. The idea of wildlife “management”—for man, of course—was born. Animals were to be “harvested.” They were to be a “crop”—like corn.

Fortunately, a faithful few are seeing through the murky sludge spread where green fields once thrived. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Captain Paul Watson (founder and president of about the only group still using the word conservation to mean protecting and saving animals) recently took another in a lifetime of steadfast stands by resigning from his position on the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club. He refused to be a part of their whorish sleeping with the enemy—their pandering to sportsmen by holding a “Why I Hunt” essay contest, complete with a grand prize trophy hunt to Alaska. To think of how many trees were needlessly reduced to pulp for this profane effort when the answer to why hunters hunt was so succinctly summed up in just one sentence by Paul Watson, “Behind all the chit-chat of conservation and tradition is the plain simple fact that trophy hunters like to kill living things.”

Just as the naïve young girl who falls for the charms and promises of a sunny sociopath learns, the hard way, about his hidden penchant for abuse and violence, the Sierra Club and other middle-ground eco-friendly groups may soon learn the dangers of looking for Mr. Goodbar in all the wrong places. How will they divorce themselves from this unholy alliance when the affair goes sour and sportsmen reveal their malicious, hidden agenda by calling for another contest hunt on coyotes or cull on cougars, wolves or grizzly bears to do away with the competition for “their” deer, elk, moose or caribou?

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28 thoughts on “The Infertile Union

  1. I volunteer with our local Sierra Club chapter and can tell you this: The Club board of directors is elected by members, we have a lot of say in our policies. Many of us were not happy with the deference to hunters mentioned above. Our chapter is not hunter focused- I don’t any of our leaders hunt. Thankfully, we no longer have a “why I hunt” essay contest. And just last year the Board of Directors adopted a very strong and unequivocal policy opposing trapping.

    • I’m glad to hear a lot of you weren’t happy with the SC embracing hunting and that you have a lot of say in your local chapter. I remember now that the group recently opposed trapping, so I’m going to remove from my post the mention of them condoning it. Thanks for reminding me.

    • I was so impressed with this local chapter and your work against trapping that I joined it last year. I was going to renew this year, but I was worried that my membership money would not stay with the local chapter. The national Sierra Club isn’t getting a penny from me!

    • The survey the Sierra Club took had repeated input by a cadre of the usual focused trapper sadists, but was overwhelmingly a push to the National Sierra Club to take a stand and run a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN against trapping. I have yet to see it. Saying you are against trapping is nice, but if you don’t use the power of your membership to ban it, words without meaning.

      I was told by the local acting head of the John Muir chapter of the Sierra Club that the “be-yoo-ti-ful thing about the Sierra Club” is that the members guide the direction of the club ( which happens to be focused on global warming). And heavily infiltrated by hunter/trapper/hounder membership – so you can see what guidance there is there…

      When I asked this leader of the John Muir chapter who she thought was protecting Wisconsin wildlife, she said weakly, “Wisconsin Wildlife Federation”? The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is the coalition of killing clubs – Whitetails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Safari International, Sportsmen’s Coalition and the rest of the 186 hounding, trapping, rod and gun clubs. So if the leadership of the Sierra Club thinks the wildlife killers are protecting wildlife – there is your story for Audubon Society in bed with Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy which promotes hunting and trapping on 92% of its land, and the Nelson Institute whose “Stewardship lands” are also 92% hunted and trapped.

      I realized that the older organizations have made the bargain with their killing membership to “save habitat FOR killing.” Bad bargain – let them know.

  2. This is what I got from all-creatures.com

    “The same is happening in the United States. Tons of animal-loving anti-hunting donors’ hard-earned money and heart-given donations are pumped into pro-hunting and downright
    hunting organizations with names like the Aududon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, to name just a few. (At least the Safari Club International, the quintessential big-game hunters’ club, of which both Presidents Bush, and VP Cheney on down, are members, is more honest with its self-indicting nomenclature.) Not only are vast financial resources injected into these imposter groups from the innocent animal-loving public, but the AR and AW movements are deprived of these same resources in the process, so the damage done to the AR/AW movement is doubled.”

    “Tips to keep in mind when deciding on which organization(s) to support:

    To help us understand the situation, let me start from the quintessential hunter himself, who often holds high positions in these hunt clubs and impostor groups, as well as government.

    1. His most primal motivation is to kill animals for entertainment and, to perpetuate their “culture” and “tradition”, to teach their offspring, as young as 3, to kill for fun.

    2. He prides himself of being the “true wildlife conservationist”, when his true motive, even if he ends up conserving some species, is to have more of that species to hunt next year, not to preserve nature for its own sakes to perpetuity as lived by real wildlife preservationists.

    3. He “harvests” the most magnificent specimen of any given species, fully knowing, yet disregarding, that this would diminish the quality of that species over time. All he cares about is to have the biggest trophy in his rec-room, perhaps as a compensation for his personal shortcomings which he would certainly not hang on the wall.

    4. He regards the natural predators, such as cougar, bear and wolf, as competitors for deer, elk and moose, and seeks to exterminate them by any means necessary, including involving these pseudo-conservation groups and impostor groups in the process. They of course enjoy killing all animals, including, perhaps especially, the predators.

    5. He wants as many deer (being the main prey by far, plus elk and moose and others) to hunt as possible. Eradicating the predator species is one means to this end. They also artificially feed deer in the wild (in the form of feed plots), for the express purpose of cultivating as large a deer population for hunting purposes as possible.

    6. He and his political and industrial cronies then complain bitterly and loudly to the public that there is a deer overpopulation problem from coast to coast, and that deer must be and need be hunted in large numbers, and urban and suburban deer culled by bow hunters (among others like sharpshooters and captive bolters), to “protect the public” from deer-vehicle accidents (DVAs) across the land, and horticultural damage in residents’ gardens.

    7. He makes it sound as if he is doing the public a favor, but the truth of the matter is that first, he is the origin of the deer population problem, and second, the direct cause of DVAs. Call any major insurance company and it will tell you that the largest number of DVA claims occur during the deer hunting season, with a sharp spike on the opening day of the season. Deer are usually prudent and cautious while approaching any open space, such as a glade or a roadway. But on the opening day, they dash across the road to escape from the hunters in the woods.

    8. Whereas there exists a broad range of non-lethal and humane strategies, tactics, methods and technologies, including several proven categories of immunocontraception techniques (and the new concept of the Deer Auto-Conveyor – DAC – see http://www.HOPE-CARE.org – deer section), which in combination can easily replace and displace the lethal methods. For this very reason, immunocontraception is by-and-large not permitted by the hunter-dominated governments in the vast majority of states.

    9. The reason for the governments making pro-hunting policy as a rule is that most of the wildlife-oriented decision-makers in government are themselves hunters and their cronies. This is an artificial situation, dictated by laws and rules and regulations created by hunters, for hunters. Things cannot be more glaring than in such examples as the NJ Fish and Game Council filling itself with hunters by means of the archaic Title 13 which requires that at least 7 of the 11 voting members must be hunters. States like PA and others have similar rules.

    10. The hunters, hunter groups, impostor groups and the hunting industry are immensely rich and powerful (partly due to the misdirected donations from the deceived public) that most politicians, from the president on down, have become their puppets.

    “Please protect your well earned dollars by first making a phone call to the organizations you intend to donate to:

    1. What is your position on hunting?

    2. What is your overhead? An overhead of 30% means that 30% of your donation will go to administration (including in some cases very high salaries) and real estate acquisition and maintenance, etc., and only 70 cents out of a dollar actually go to the animals. In general, a donation made to a strong grassroots group will go much farther in producing real results on the ground level than to a giant national organization.” From Anthony Marr, founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

    • And they are totally empowered by having the only access to our wildlife as killing fodder. As long as killing licenses are the major internal funding mechanism of state wildlife management, there will be maximum killing “opportunities”. Imagine a killer going in to the state agency to buy his or her patron “kill them all” license and finding only SAVING licenses. Nope – you cannot kill, but you can buy a license to tag an animal to LIVE…that is how it is in reverse, completely disenfranchising all humane citizens from participation. They either give us a hundred years of just saving licenses to restore nature and wildlife – or democratize the system with GENERAL PUBLIC FUNDS tied to real democratic representation. In Wisconsin, a heavy hunting state, that would mean ONE representation of ten would be hunter and the rest would be scientists, photographers, wolf enthusiasts, silent sports folks, birdwatchers, and ecotourism experts. But power does not give itself up without even a demand.

      Make appointments with your most progressive legislators and take the statistics from the comparison of economic impacts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of hunting compared to wildlife watching and demand that you have the right as a citizen to be represented in pay and say – to direct that money to power.

      And I would add to the questions above…what is your position on trapping?

  3. Dammit! You read my mind again Jim! :) I was reading an article today about Minnesota’s wolf slaughter and some DNR talking head kept rambling on about the wolf “harvest” and the “harvest” numbers. It is all a game to these people. They don’t have the guts to come out and admit what we all know: that they love to KILL. Out of one side of their mouth it is about “management” and out of the other it is about “hunter/trapper opportunity. which is it? I still cannot figure out why such a tiny percentage of the population has so much control over our wild lands and wildlife. Regarding the Sierra Club I have been getting all kinds of emails from them about “saving wolves.” They should have thought about that before getting in bed with the kill everything groups.

      • Them too. The same with HSUS. While the Wisconsin wolf kill bill was still in the legislature I and others were begging them to step in and help but they blew us off. Apparently they were holding out hope that Wisconsin was going to work with them to pass an exotic animals ban so they didn’t want to piss them off. That sure worked out well. When will these groups learn that you cannot work with these insane right-wingers who are in the pockets of the kill everything groups?

  4. Reblogged this on Howling For Justice and commented:
    This is a huge problem and one of the reasons the pro wolf movement has been stalled. Too many people are depending on the big Orgs to save wolves when in fact they have very little to do with grass roots organizing and mainly shun the smaller groups who have done much of the footwork concerning wolves. We are treated like step children while they beg for money to “save wolves” when in fact there is no “saving of wolves” going on. Before you give one cent to any large green group, find out their stand on wolf hunting. If they won’t tell you or equivocate, then pass them by. Howling for Justice, Wolf Warriors, NIWA and Howl Across America do not support wolf hunting or wolf managing, which is a euphemism for killing wolves. Wolves do not need to be managed..their numbers are regulated by prey availability. Please do not be fooled or sucked into working with state game agencies who are in the predator killing business. They don’t care one whit about wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears or other apex predators. What they care about is selling tags to trophy hunters that love to kill predators. Wolf advocates need to put away the pipe dream of working with hunting centered agencies and push for relisting of gray wolves. That is there only hope. Thank you Jim for your clear thinking, excellent analysis of hunting and how far it is from being remotely connected to conservation. It’s the same as calling Ted Nugent an environmentalist.

  5. Sport killing is killing. There is nothing manly in taking the life of an animal that wants to live as much as any person, unless being a man means being a heartless moron. And killing intelligent, highly social, family oriented animals such as wolves, elephants and whales is pure evil. Hunting for food may be around for awhile longer but sport killing, including the killing of all natural predators must end now.

  6. I could not agree more with this essay. Everyone talks about compromise but as humans we are not willing to manage our own numbers as we expect other species to be managed by us. Humans have expanded their population for over 2000 years now with only nature to cut down our numbers with disease Oh of course there were the wars caused by humans. . We are the problem here. Where is human greed for that extra dollar of revenue from the extra barrel of oil or extra cubic foot of natural gas or extra acre of corn and it does not really matter that sport hunting kills deer, elk, moose and other species, if we do not push for population controls of our own species we will over run the remaining wildcards that give life to the species we are trying to protect. There needs to be a massive change in our ideals as to what is good for the wildlife and I agree that there is an infiltration by sporting groups into the conservation groups that we all have trusted such as the Sierras Club Defenders of Wildlife and others. I have canceled my member ship to both of these because of their position on some endangered species

    .Claudia

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