Today, I had intended to write a post about the exploitative "reality" television shows that are all over television, but someone beat me to it. Yesterday, while at my health club, one of the channels showed the former "History" channel broadcasting a show called "Swamp People." I couldn't hear the dialog of the program but for a solid hour the show showed a collection of cretins impaling alligators with massive hooks and executing them with rifle shots.
NWC Official Statement: Montana Wolf Hunt Proposal, 2013-14
May 13th, 2013
Montana officials estimated that at least 625 wolves, in 147 verified packs, and 37 breeding pairs inhabited the state at the end of 2012. During Montana’s 2012/2013 wolf season, hunters and trappers killed 128 wolves and trappers took 97 wolves for a total of 225. The actual numbers of wolves killed in the state, however, estimates more than 300 when factoring in wolves that were killed by depredation control (USDA’s Wildlife Services killed 108 wolves), vehicular accidents, disease and other natural causes.
Montana FWP Commission proposed its 2013-14 wolf hunting and trapping season. Comment period begins on Mon., May 13th and ends on June 24th at 5PM. Final decision will be made at a Commission meeting on July 10th in Helena.
•Submit via online submission – or – email: email@example.com
•Submit via USPS mail at FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701
1.Archery-only hunting would run from Sept. 7 through Sept. 14.
2.The hunting season is extended – the general hunting season (Sept. 15 and ending March 31, 2014); trapping season (Dec. 15 through Feb. 28, 2014)
3.The overall bag limit is 5 wolves per person in any combination of wolves taken by hunting or trapping, – an increase from 1 per person last year.
4.Wolf quotas would be maintained in areas near Montana’s two national parks, with a quota of 7 wolves in an expanded Wolf Management Unit 316 near Yellowstone National Park and a quota of 2 wolves in WMU 110 near Glacier National Park.
5.A new regulation would allow hunters to take a wolf over bait placed for trapping
• As of Jan. 2013, Montana has 2.6 million head of cattle and 225,000 sheep. FWP Director Jeff Hagener said in a press release, “Confirmed livestock depredations due to wolves included 67 cattle, 37 sheep, one dog, two horses and one llama in 2012. Cattle losses in 2012 were the lowest recorded in the past six years.”
•In April 2012, MtFWP’s former Commissioner Ream stated, “The arrival of wolves in the West Fork added to the predatory pressure on the elk herds, but does not come close to the impact that mountain lions have. Statistics show that the elk population statewide is doing well with numbers at an all-time high of 112,000. He said the state management objective calls for 90,000 which means the state is about 22,000 elk over objective.” Ream suggests, considering a number of factors, that it was “a perfect storm“ that led to elk population reductions in Hunting district 250. Those factors include hunting, predation and weather and have all have tipped the balance in that area against the elk. He said the drop in the calf/cow ratio had hit a critical low, but did show some sign of recent recovery.
•In a May 1st article in the Independent Record, FWP Recommends Expanded Wolf Hunt Season and Bad Limit , George Pauley, FWP Wildlife Management Chief, said the reasons for the proposed changes in Montana’s 2013-14 wolf hunting season are twofold. “We’re just looking for opportunities to hunt wolves … and it’s an attempt to reduce the population,” Pauley said. “We’ve always had a philosophy of incrementally increasing harvest rates and opportunities.”
The National Wolfwatcher Coalition submitted its
NWC Official Public Comment re: Montana’s wolf hunting proposal for 2013-14.
We have already reached out to the Commission so that we can ensure the voices of all stakeholders are represented in its policy objectives. You are invited to review our statement and use it as a resource to guide the drafting of your own public comment via the directions above.
Questions or Comments? Contact us via email at : firstname.lastname@example.org
The first half of this post was excerpted from the chapter “Bears Show More Restraint than Ursiphobic Elmers” in my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport…
An irrational fear of bears dates back to the earliest days of American history and is customarily accompanied by obtuse thinking and quirky spelling. The most famous inscription (carved into a tree, naturally) attributable to Daniel Boone (that guy who went around with a dead raccoon on his head) bragged how he “…cilled a bar…in the year 1760.” The bears Boone killed (and there were many) in North Carolina and Tennessee were black bears, a uniquely American species that, like coyotes, evolved on the Western Hemisphere.
Greatly fearing the grizzly bears they discovered on their voyage up the Missouri River to the Pacific, Lewis and Clark were among the first frontiersmen responsible for leading them down the path to near-extinction. In a May 5, 1805, entry in their journals, Lewis quilled of the “turrible” grizzly, “It was a most tremendous looking anamal and extreemly hard to kill.” Clark and another member of their party pumped the unarmed bear with ten shots of lead before he finally succumbed.
Between 50,000 and 100,000 grizzlies once inhabited the western continental US before incoming settlers shot, poisoned and trapped them out, quickly snatching up prime valley bottoms (the preferred habitat of grizzly bears) for themselves and their livestock. Thus driven into desolate high country, the rare grizzlies who hold on in the lower 48 are allowed only two percent of their historic domain. The current population of 500 is essentially marooned on islands of insufficient wilderness, cut off from one another by freeways, urban sprawl and a network of barbed wire fences that spell “keep out” to any grizzly who knows what’s good for ‘em.
In the vein of fables handed down for generations, bear tales have been told, embellished upon, amplified and retold by sportsmen wanting to justify hounding, baiting and just plain killing. As Charlie Russell, author of Grizzly Heart: Living without Fear among the Brown Bears of Kamchatka, tells it:
“Hunting guides describe bears as ferocious, unpredictable and savage predators. They tell one horrifying story after another about people being torn apart. The victims are always those who approached the encounter poorly armed. Then the guides move on to recount countless acts of sportsman bravery: tales of real men stopping huge angry bears just short of the barrel of their guns. They keep it up until their clients are shaking in their boots, barely able to muster the courage to face the dreadful foe.”
Slowly but surely, hyperbolic bear tales are being replaced by the honest truth about bears and folks are waking up to the reality that bears aren’t really out to get them, as evidenced in this recent article from the Calgary Herald:
Overcoming fear of grizzlies key to survival of species, says author
Albertans need to stop being afraid of grizzly bears and learn to live with the animals to protect the threatened species in the province, says the former superintendent of Banff National Park.
Kevin Van Tighem, a fourth-generation Calgarian who worked with Parks Canada for three decades, said it’s time to reconsider how bears are managed in the province.
“If we really want bears to have a future, we need to manage them without fear,” he said in an interview with the Herald about his new book, Bears Without Fear. “We are primarily managing around a risk averse, keep-bears-scared-of-people paradigm.
“I don’t support bear hazing, I don’t support the Karelian bear dog program or the long-distance relocations.”
The strategies are all part of Alberta’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan 2008-2013, which was implemented after studies found there were fewer than 700 grizzly bears in the province — a number that led to their status as a threatened species.
All but one of the 15 grizzly bear deaths on provincial land (another two bears were hit and killed by a train in Banff National Park) in 2012 were caused by humans.
In addition, a total of 31 grizzly bears have been relocated by the province after threatening public safety, attacking livestock or damaging property — up from last year’s 24 “problem” bears.
Research shows relocation can triple the mortality of grizzly bears, which has raised concerns among conservationists.
Van Tighem said moving bears out of their habitat is part of the problem, pointing to the relocation of a mother grizzly bear and her three cubs out of Canmore last spring as an example.
“These were totally harmless bears,” he said. “They weren’t scared of people and because they weren’t scared of people, whenever they were surprised by a bicyclist or a dog walker, nothing bad happened. The mother would basically look and say, ‘Well, that’s people. They aren’t scary, so I don’t have to react in a scary way.’
As a result, he said the province took the best possible bears to live around and relocated them because they were worried about what could go wrong.
“We just can’t do that anymore,” said Van Tighem.
When is an act of cruelty to animals not considered a crime?
When it’s committed in the name of sport.
“Injuring or killing any animal, outside of its permitted hunting season, is a crime.”
That quote was from Putnam County SPCA Chief Ken Ross, in response to the shooting of a Canada goose by a man annoyed that geese leave their droppings in an area where human children might play. The entire quote read: “In New York State, all animals are protected under cruelty statutes. Injuring or killing any animal, outside of its permitted hunting season, is a crime” (my emphasis added).
Clearly, even in a state as progressive as New York, “sportsmen” like hunters, fishers and trappers are given a free pass to get away with the crime of animal cruelty. At the risk of undermining the few laws currently in existence protecting non-humans, it’s time to recognize the tradition of hunting as nothing more than legalized cruelty to animals.
This Canada Goose was shot dead near Lake Orsi on May 13, 2013. (credit: Putnam County SPCA)
BREWSTER, N.Y. – A Putnam County man apparently tired of goose droppings is in a sticky situation.
Gregory Stefkovic, 44, faces animal cruelty charges and received several summonses after he allegedly shot a Canada Goose, the Putnam County SPCA said.
Stefkovic was spotted with an air rifle near Lake Orsi in Carmel after shooting a goose dead and leaving its body by the shore, the Putnam County SPCA said.
No one—aside maybe from survivalists who'd stocked up on MREs and assault rifles—was really looking forward to a peak-oil world. Read this 2007 GQ piece by Benjamin Kunkel—while we're discussing topics from the mid-2000s—that imagines what a world without oil would really be like. Think uncomfortable and violent. Oil is in nearly every modern product we use, and it's still what gets us from point A to point B—especially if you need to get from A to B in a plane.
Montana's farmers and hunters are going after the state's wolf population to protect their own interests. This week Montana is set to hold public debate on doubling the number of wolves that can be killed by hunters, expanding the 2013-2014 hunting season, and allowing shooting of wolves near baited traps.
"Our overall goal is to get wolves in balance with the rest of the critters on the landscape as well as landowner tolerance,"
When studying something which can be tested in a lab, scientists don’t hesitate to employ the tried and true formula: if it looks like shit, and smells like it, chances are it’s actually shit. When it comes to literal excrement, some scientists are real whizzes. Even without a DNA test, they can tell you with near-certainty through which species of animal’s anus a particular scat has passed. But when it comes to animal sentience, some scientists still don’t know shit (pardon my French—throughout).
Thanks to his creator, author Arthur Conan Doyle, the criminologist Sherlock Holmes famously pointed out that, “If you’ve eliminated all other possibilities, whatever remains must be the truth.” Well, scientists have spent centuries toying with every other possibility to avoid the obvious fact that non-human animals are conscious, thinking, feeling beings.
Incredibly, there are some who’re still grappling with the question: “Are animals aware?” What the fuck—of course they’re aware! Most animals are far more aware of their surroundings than the average human, for that matter.
The science of animal behavior has come a long ways from the dark days of Rene Descartes, thanks to the likes of Donald Griffin, Marc Bekoff and other pioneers in the study of cognitive ethology. Just last summer, an international group of prominent neuroscientists meeting at the University of Cambridge issued “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals,” The document stated that “humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness,” and concludes that numerous documented animal behaviors must be considered “consistent with experienced feeling states.”
Having witnessed remarkably intelligent actions on the part of individuals throughout the animal kingdom—from the family dog leaping to his feet at the whispered mention of a “walk” or “car ride,” to a herd of wild bison mourning over the remains of their dead—my response to the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals is, “Well duh, tell us something we don’t know.”
Speciously, the Cambridge Declaration drew an arbitrary line and left the world of fishes out in the cold when it comes to animal consciousness. Far too many of today’s “behaviorists” still ascribe to the long outdated notion of fish the way science had long thought of all non-human animals—as automatons: mindless machines going through life without any more than random responses to stimuli.
Now I’m in no way anti-science—far from it, in fact—I just think that sometimes a scientist will spend an exorbitant amount of time chasing his or her tail when the answer they’re looking for is as plain as the nose on their face.
Take the question of animal communication, for example. We all know whales and dolphins are able (when they can find a quiet stretch of ocean—devoid of the deafening drone of ships or navy sonar) to communicate with one another through songs or clicks, respectively. But lately observers have learned that even fish have devised clever ways to keep in touch. According to an article entitled “Fish Farts: Herring Use Flatulence To Communicate” in the Huffington Post, apparently some types of herring pass gas to “speak” to each other without alerting other fish.
Researchers Bob Batty, Ben Wilson and Larry Dill made that Nobel Prize-worthy discovery after studying Pacific and Atlantic herring in Canada and Scotland, noting (importantly) that the gas is not caused by the digestive process. Instead, the fish swallow air from the surface and emit it through a small opening near their bung holes. Thus, profound as they may be, the bubbles aren’t really farts in the stinky, human sense.
So, it seems to me a bit arrogant to write an entire class of animal life out of a “Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals.” Granted, herring may not be flatulent enough to recite the Preamble to the Constitution, but then, as Georg Christoph Lichtenberg wrote, “Only a man can draw a self-portrait, but only a man wants to.”
Time for skeptical scientists to wake up and smell the sentience when it comes to fish.
Super-rich kill bears for ‘sport’
TOM NEWTON DUNN
The Sun: 12th January 2011
THE World Conservation Union has upped the Asiatic black bear’s status to “vulnerable to extinction”.
Conservationists estimate there are just 50,000 left in the world.
Also known as the Tibetan black bear, the Himalayan black bear, or moon bear, they have a thick black coat and a white V marking on their chest.
They grow to about 6ft and males weigh up to 150kg. They can live up to 25 years.
They eat berries, grass, seeds, nuts, honey and some meat.
Of the world’s eight species of bear, six are at risk of extinction.
Only the American black bear and European brown bear are considered safe.
In a sickening execution, a blood-crazed millionaire blasts an endangered bear to death as it hibernates.
Given no chance, the rare beast is woken in its den, terrorised and shot at point-blank range.
The grinning “hunter” then poses proudly next to its blood-drenched corpse for a twisted souvenir snap.
Hundreds of Asiatic black bears have been killed this winter in the vast forests of Siberia. And all for nothing more than sick thrills and a prized trophy hide.
The massacre of these majestic animals has become big business, flying in the face of international conventions which outlaw it, The Sun can reveal.
Yet it is not just rich Russians who are happy to exterminate their own national symbol. Well-heeled clients from Britain, the US, Germany, Spain, Poland and Finland have also booked Asiatic black hunting trips in the past year, we have discovered.
Such slayings were illegal for years, but Russian president Vladimir Putin has now relaxed his country’s ban on killing the species, to appease the super-rich.
Hunting the bears remains strictly illegal in the other countries where they live, including India, China and Japan.
Like most bears, the Asiatic black hibernates from December to the end of February, when winter snows begin to melt. Many of the females killed as they hibernate are pregnant, as they breed in the summer and autumn, ready to give birth in the spring.
In an exposé of the barbaric practice, we posed as would-be hunters to obtain shocking video footage of three recent hunts.
In an office off a busy central Moscow street, The Sun was offered a four-day trip to depart in a week’s time — with FOUR Asiatic black kills guaranteed — for the sum of £16,000.
The hibernating bears had already been located in deep forests outside the city of Khabarovsk, 3,500 miles east of Moscow.
A travel business named Slavic Trophy Club is one of a handful in Moscow that take bear hunters to the killing fields.
Slavic Trophy Club’s Nikolai Lynkov assured us: “They are there ready and waiting for you. I can promise you four kills for sure, maybe six if you are lucky.
“It is legal in Russia to hunt Asiatic black bears. There is no problem with that. You just have to be 18 years old.”
The persecuted bears do not die a quick and painless death.
To coax them out of their dens into the waiting gunman’s firing line, organisers resort to extraordinarily cruel tactics.
Lynkov explained: “We know where the bears are because we pay local people to keep track of them.
“They like to hibernate in hollow tree trunks but sometimes it is not easy to get them out.
“Don’t worry though, they always come — even if we have to cut them out.”
On one of the hunts we have video footage of, it took workers 20 minutes of torture to force a bear to climb out of its tree trunk into the sights of the hunter, standing 15 metres away.
At first, two men jabbed the animal with sharpened spears through a hole cut in the tree’s base. When that didn’t work, one of them threw a smoke grenade into the trunk in a bid to choke the bear out. That too failed, so oily rags were lit to set fire to the den. Then several pistol rounds were fired to scare the bear into movement.
Only when the workers began to chainsaw through the hollow trunk to get at the bear did it finally climb the trunk and emerge. On reaching the top, the bleary-eyed giant gave a chilling roar once it saw its pursuers.
It made a desperate last attempt to scamper off to safety — but was gunned down in the snow after only a few paces.
For an extra £800, Slavic Trophy Club promised to skin any bear we killed, make it into a rug, and fly it to London.
Or for £4,000 we could have the whole beast stuffed and shipped instead. Some hunting firms openly trade in the twisted “sport” in the West.
Sergei Shushunov is a Russian-American who runs the Russian Hunting Agency from his home town of Glencoe, Illinois. When we approached him posing as rich hunters he also promised to organise for us the killing of a bear woken from hibernation.
Trying to justify the activity, Shushunov said: “Denned bear hunting in Russia is as old as trapping. In old times it required nothing but a spear. The adrenaline rush can be incredible.”
Hunting Asiatic bears was legalised in Russia four years ago. Bored of slaughtering the more common brown bear, oil and gas-rich Russians craved a special trophy for the walls of their gaudily decorated homes and offices.
With soft and long fur, an Asiatic bear’s hide is highly prized because of the rarity of the animals.
Their numbers are now so depleted, they are all but impossible to find in the wild — which is why hunts resort to killing them in their dens.
Animal campaigners last night demanded that ministers act on The Sun’s investigation and lobby President Putin to stop the barbaric hunting.
International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation said: “This simply has to stop. The Asiatic black bear is highly endangered, under constant assault in the wild throughout the continent, and even incarcerated in tiny cages in China to be milked for stomach bile, which is used in medicine there.
“We should all demand at the highest levels of government that Russia immediately stops all hunting of wild bears. Until then, there will be a price on the head of every wild bear in the country.”
The World Conservation Union’s bear expert Dr David Garshelis said: “There is a threat that the Asiatic black bear may soon be extinct in entire countries. We are very worried.
“It is alarming to hear that this is happening in Russia. The ethics of exactly how it is done is also a concern.
“There is clearly no sport in this practice at all. We are very pleased you have made this report.”
View photos and video of Sick hunters gun down bears; Gunmen laugh as they target bears; Sitting duck … terrified bear scrambles from it’s burning den into the killer’s sights Here: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/762288/News-Endangered-bears-Killed-for-sport.html#ixzz2TChxbdV4