What’s Not to Like about Guns

Guns. Sure, I own a few. What good god-fearin’ American doesn’t? I figure it’s my duty to keep the arms manufacturers afloat. Of course, mine are just to keep those other gun nuts at bay. I hope I never have to use them, but if someone’s spoilin’ for a gunfight, well that’s ok too.

So, what’s not to like about guns? Well, for starters, they’re noisy, and they’re made for killing. And since it’s illegal to shoot each other, most people use them against non-human animals.

Some folks out here in rural America are so proud of their guns they wear it like a badge. They advertise it all over their loud pickup trucks so no one seeing the cute little Pomeranians in their cab mistakes them for some kind of anti-gun pinko.

Mostly, I don’t like the noise they make. And I guess I empathize with the animals too much. Whenever you hear gunfire, ya have to wonder who the hell’s out there shooting now and what, or who, are they shooting at this time.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014.

Not All Winter Sports Negatively Impacted by Climate Change…


The USA Today ran an article yesterday by U.S. Olympic cross country skier, Andrew Newell, entitled, Climate Change Impacts Winter Sports.” Newel tells us, “As a skier, my life revolves around winter and being outside. Years spent training have not only honed my skills, but also shown me the negative impacts of climate change first-hand. There have been countless times in the past 10 years when our early season competitions have been delayed or canceled due to lack of snow, or our spring and summer training camps disrupted due to erratic weather or insufficient snowpack. It’s no coincidence then that the last decade was also the hottest decade ever recorded…

“Even the most reliable snowfall areas have seen a decrease in storms and precipitation. In the last few seasons, Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden, which host world cup ski events in November and December, have had to rely upon man-made snow and injected ice for races. Many Nordic athletes, myself included, train on glaciers during the summer months.DSC_0098

“I’ve witnessed the visible recession of off season ski destinations such as Eagle Glacier in Alaska and the Dachstein Glacier in Austria in the last decade. Warming temperatures melting snow has meant in recent years, summer skiing conditions on glaciers have become too unstable to train on. Some countries have resorted to skiing indoors in artificial ski tunnels due to unpredictable conditions.

‘The conditions in Sochi are no exception. The organizers of these Winter Games ran into similar problems and had to go to extreme and unorthodox means to supply the snow necessary to hold high-level competitions. Workers in Russia have been stockpiling nearly 16 million cubic feet of snow and adding a special kind of salt to prevent melting.”

The article goes on: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/02/11/andrew-newell-olympics-global-warming/5370379/  and in many ways parallels an early post of mine about the impacts of climate change on skiing, “In Case You Haven’t Noticed, Global Warming is Real.”  http://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/in-case-you-havent-noticed-yet-global-warming-is-real/

imagesQB1DEJITBut there’s one winter “sport” (if it can be called that) that isn’t effected by a lack of snow–bunny blasting. As Utah’s Daily Herald claims, “Rabbit hunting offers chance for winter sport” reports, “Regulations allow each hunter with a license to kill up to 10 cottontails.” [per day, no doubt.] And it also quotes Mark Zornes, who boasts, “This is what bunny hunting is like,” he said. “We rarely see people doing this, and this is the most fun kind of hunting. It’s also a great kid activity.”

So, forget snow sports, winter can be yet another chance to kill something.

Idaho Lowering Big Game Hunting Age to 10?

[Next they'll be wanting to kill more wolves so 10 year olds will have a better chance of "getting their elk."


by Heather Pilkinton on February 4, 2014.
This is neither the website of, nor affiliated in any way with, Guardian News and Media.

Hunting is a way of life for many in Idaho, but a new proposal has some questioning how young is too young to huntsafe_image big game. Idaho lawmakers are considering a proposal which would lower the current age to hunt big game, such as elk, from 12 to 10.

Right now in the state, children as young as 10 are able to hunt small game like duck and rabbit, as long as they have completed a hunter’s education program and are accompanied by a licensed adult. However, the type of gun needed to hunt big game is different than small game, which leads to the question as to whether a 10-year-old is capable of handling that level of firearm.

Currently those 12 and over are able to hunt without an accompanying adult as long as they have completed a hunter’s education program. As per Idaho law, anyone born after January 1, 1975, must complete a hunter’s education program, or show proof of a valid license from another state in order to purchase a license.

Part of the reason for the idea of lowering the hunting age is to boost stagnant hunting and fishing license sales in the state, which have hovered around the 330,000. Wildlife regulators hope that by lowering the age, hunting can be promoted as a family activity, especially in this age of electronic entertainment. They are hoping that lowering the hunting age will bring families with kids back to Mother Nature.

Sharon Kiefer, the Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director, has stated that more women are getting into hunting, but admits that not all parents are keen on the idea of younger children being out in the field with a high powered firearm. One former conservation officer and hunter education instructor, Tony Latham, worries about a 10-year-old handling a rifle, even a scaled down model, that can shoot a bullet for miles when hunting big game.

This is not the first time that Idaho’s hunting practices have come into question in the past year. In December, 2013, the Wolf and Coyote Derby held in Salmon brought a lot of unwanted attention to the state from animal rights activists, from both inside and out of the state, who sought to stop the derby. This derby is one of a few derbies in Idaho; the annual Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby in Bliss serves as a fundraiser for cancer research and other charity programs.

Idaho is also under scrutiny for another piece of legislation not related to hunting. Republican lawmaker Lynn Luker recently introduced two bills that would make it legal for professionals to refuse service to individuals based on characteristics such as sexual orientation, if that individual was “contrary” to the professional’s sincerely held religious belief. This would mean that a teacher could refuse to teach a child who is gay, or a medical professional could refuse to accept a single mother as a patient if items such as birth control violates that medical professional’s religious teaching.

The idea to lower the big game hunting age from 12 to 10 also comes at a time when gun violence as a whole is a pressing issue throughout the United States. The number of school shootings has raised the question as to how young is too young to handle a gun? This is brought to the forefront even more as gun manufacturers are making “youth” firearms, which are scaled down models of those used by adults.

However, many will say that education plays a big part in firearm safety and that younger hunters will benefit not just by Hunter’s Education, but by being mentored by experienced, adult hunters. Kiefer believes this and this sentiment is echoed by Jim Toynbee, who has taught hunter’s education for nearly 40 years, though Toynbee admits a lower hunter age would not be possible without the smaller sized rifles. He said his main concern is that a young hunter might get too excited and not make a clean shot. This means an animal might be unnecessarily wounded, where an experienced hunter would harvest the animal with a clean kill.

If the hunting age is lowered in Idaho from 12 to 10 for big game, it will not be the only state with a minimum age of 10; Maine and Nebraska both have that same minimum age with adult accompaniment. Those states who do have minimum ages often require adults to be with minor hunters. However, considering the type of firearms used and the controversy around children and firearms in general, the question is how young is too young to hunt big game in Idaho?

By Heather Pilkinton

German Environment Ministry Official in Elephant Killing Scandal


Udo W. (German law prohibits the release of his full name) is a high official in the environment ministry of the German county of Thuringia and actually still holds a leading function in the wildlife species protection department.

Just days before Botswana closed trophy “hunting” on 31. December 2013, achieving that since first of January now all such sport-killing is prohibited in the African country, the civil servant went on a trophy hunt in Botswana and bragged himself now to have killed a 40 year old, middle aged bull.

Though it apparently was a legal big-game safari in old colonial style, the case has raised a storm of protest in Germany and calls – e.g. by the Green Party – for the immediate dismissal of the civil servant from his post.

The biggest shame, however, has not yet become a viral twitter storm and that is given by the fact that Botswana actually permitted such colonial style killing for money of an elephant by a foreign trophy hunter, while at the same time and under the helm and often enough at the hands of the same Botswana officials, members of the First Nation in Botswana, the San bushmen, are tortured, killed, raped, alienated from their wildlife resources and expropriated from their wildlands. All these atrocities against the San must be seen as what they are: Outright genocide.

While peoples the indigenous hunter-gatherer cultures are driven to extinction, the kill-for-money psychopaths are allowed to continue their shameful acts in other African countries.

The leaked photos from the kill:



Read also the background to these atrocities against the San:




Hunters’ growing perception problem


by D.S. Pledger

February 2, 2014

“O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.”

Robert Burns

Occasionally I run into a thought-provoking piece or column in the various publications I read, concerning the image of hunters.

Such was the case last month. One, titled “Our Future” (as in the future of hunting) written by author Sterling Holbrook, gives a rather candid assessment of what at least one segment of the non-hunting public thinks of us.

Holbrook describes how he piloted a helicopter for the National Park Service in Alaska, ferrying park workers to various remote locations. Then he writes about a group of “parkies” he worked with, which consisted of five women and a man.

These were not “tree huggers”—the kind of anti-hunting zealots that shooters and archers often regard as the enemy.

As Holbrook puts it, “All were experienced naturalists who spent months in the bush, had rafted hundreds of miles of Alaska rivers and enjoyed the harsh interior winters. Hardly overeducated urbanites, these were tough outdoor people who, except for one person, supported subsistence hunting and ate wild meat.

”As the team worked during the fall, however, they were limited to areas where there was not some kind of a hunting season in progress. Everyone except Holbrook (who, unbeknownst to the rest, was a traditional bowhunter) was upset with the notion of interrupting their work to accommodate a bunch of yahoos.

“Each,” he writes, “reported bad experiences with hunters” and expressed the opinion that the notion of hunters as “woodsmen” or “naturalists” was a joke.

“Their experience was that hunters littered, only cared about killing the animal for the antlers or head, wasted the meat and would use any means to obtain a trophy. They considered our major failing to be support of the constant lobbying for development of public lands and wilderness by big business.

“My guess is that a lot of this perception came from observing over-equipped, under-skilled ‘out-of-state sports’ who were more interested in taking trophies than in the actual hunting experience itself, but to the parkies, this was the way we all operate.”

Another “hunter image” piece that caught my eye was a commentary on the way today’s sportsman is portrayed in advertising by the outdoor marketers. In an editorial titled, “Lookin’ Good” writer Don Thomas begins:

“Is it just me, or have others noticed that all the hunters appearing in mainstream outdoors publications suddenly look like a cross between movie stars and Navy SEALS on a mission?”

He compares the portrayal of the hunter from a generation ago, when the guys in ads looked more like your father or Uncle Ned to the current one.

“… Glaring back at you from the magazine rack today: male model good looks complete with two day’s worth of fashionable stubble, physiques that owe more to Nautilus machines than mountain trails, expressions intended to convey determination and resolve but that more often suggest Rambo-style anger at the quarry and the desire to get even.

“What’s going on here?” Thomas asks, and then answers his own question. “The problem begins with marketing demographics. Industry just loves 18- to 30-year-olds, the group most likely to fall for the technology-inspired shortcuts to success that have changed hunting so dramatically of late. And they’re more apt to identify with hunters who look like celebrities than hunters who look like hunters. Ours has become a youth-oriented popular culture concerned first with how we look, and second with how we feel. What we do comes in a distant third.”

How does this macho image play with those who neither hunt nor totally understand it? I suspect that it certainly doesn’t do much to make them think of us as thoughtful, conservation-minded users of the outdoors.

Unfortunately, if that image sells gear, this portrayal is not going to change and there’s not a lot we can do about it.

The biggest detractors to our sport might not be the folks who take potshots at hunters, portraying us as aggressive insensitive boors who are trampling nature, or as sullen tough guys. Perhaps it is those within our own ranks who provide the ammunition to back them up.
- See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/article/20140202/ARTICLES/140139917/1047#sthash.H3TxhvvH.dpuf

What Motivates a Wolf Killer?

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Killing a wolf is a crime against nature—and the motive depends on the kind of perpetrator. To a trophy hunter, a dead wolf is something to mount on a wall and brag about. By literally possessing the animal, they can relive their kill over and over, remorselessly boosting their flagging self-esteem every time they vacuously gaze at their victim’s lifeless body. For a fur trapper, a dead wolf is just a hide and a chance to play modern-day frontiersman. Although there’s no real frontier left, they consciously choose to revive a bloody, destructive lifestyle—partly for money, but mostly for a sense of identity.

But to a “wolfer,” the kind of person whose central preoccupation is hiring on to rid an area of each and every last wolf he can, a prime sense of greed is the motivating factor.

Sure, a guy like that, such as the wolfer contracted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to snuff out the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek packs in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness Area, must get an ego boost from being known as a “professional” wolf killer. He no doubt experiences some kind of perverse thrill every time he finds an animal desperately trying to free him-or-herself from one of his leg crushing traps. And he probably even gets off on hearing that his actions are upsetting a lot of empathetic wolf advocates who desperately want him to stop his atrocities. But the main reason the wolfer does the job he does is greed, pure and simple: a selfish lust for power, control and of course, money.

That may not seem like a lot to accuse him of in a country built on the spoils of selfishness and greed. Yes, he is surely evil incarnate, soulless and sick to the core, but as long as someone is paying him to “get the job done”… And who the hell pressed the state into hiring a hit man to eliminate established packs, tormenting individual wolves and disrupting nature’s time-tested order? Ask the Idaho trophy elk hunting syndicate.*

The wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness area weren’t after anyone’s cows or frightening school kids at bus stops, they were just doing what comes naturally to wolves. Killing off apex predators to make it easier for sport hunters has got to be the height of human arrogance.
*syn-di-cate (noun) 5) an association of gangsters that controls an area of organized crime

Philippine Cockfighters, Gamefowl Breeders Warned About Bird Flu


Gamefowl breeders warned vs. bird flu

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena yesterday advised gamefowl breeders and cockfighting aficionados to take extra precautions against bird flu contamination that would gravely affect the province’s multi-billion industry.

Those engaged in the gamefowl industry should avoid bird flu positive areas, such as China, he said, pointing out that Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is a highly infectious viral disease of birds.

Gamefowl breeders and cockfighting aficionados and members of their families who travel to bird flu positive areas, should not visit their fighting cock farms immediately upon their return to the country, he said.

They should stay away from their gamefowls for about three days, he said, to prevent the transmission of any virus they may have picked up in their travels.

Bird flu virus particles may be transferred through clothing, shoes and other belongings, Decena warned.

He also said visitors should also be kept at a distance from game fowls as a precaution.

The gamefowl population in Negros Occidental is valued at about P4 billion while materials such as feeds for their upkeep are estimated at P2 billion, he added.

Negros Occidental annually exports about 200,000 fighting cocks and if valued at an average of only P5,000 each would be P1 billion in sales, he said.

That is on top of the fighting cocks used for cockfights in Negros, he added.

Decena said his office is also keeping a close watch on areas that migratory birds visit in Negros Occidental, such as San Enrique and Himamaylan, for possible contamination of the local poultry industry.

He added that they conduct serum sampling every six months as a precaution.*CPG

Photo ©Jim Robertson

Photo ©Jim Robertson

A Blood Trail in the Snow

Walking the road along my property I discovered that my friend had been shot. Following the blood trail back to its origin, it was clear he was shot by my neighbor. The tracks and drops of blood—bright red against the stark white snow—led onto my land where at least he could die in peace.

I don’t usually say this about people, but I really loved this gentle soul; consequently, I hate whoever shot him.
I wish I could have warned him to always steer clear of that neighbor, whose thirst for blood is a well-known trademark among some of the other locals.

You’d think I would have called an ambulance for a wounded friend and a sheriff to put away the psychopathic neighbor. But medics and sheriff’s departments in this country don’t cotton to my friend’s kind.

The thing is, he’s an elk; and according to the law (enacted by humans exclusively for humans), shooting a non-human—especially a “game” animal—is considered “harvesting” or “sport,” rather than what it undeniably is: murder.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved



Thanksgiving Celebration—Eat Lots, Drink Lots, Respect Little, Care Less

It’s a special morning of a special day, but out in migratory bird habitat there’s a massacre going on. Though nearly every family across the country has a turkey thawing out in preparation for a gluttonous banquet a little later in the day,

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

recreational meat-pursuers are ringing in the season by blasting away into flocks of wintering geese to make up for the fact that their sacrificial bird-of-the-day came from a grocery store.

Never mind that the poor being was raised in a windowless barn, crowded-in with so many other turkeys that their wings wither away to virtual stumps of appendages, their natural coloration was bred out of them anyway.

Can’t afford your own tormented Thanksgiving turkey this year? Not to worry, chances are some abattoir has donated hundredsDSC_0277 of frozen carcasses to your local food bank, in hopes of promoting their own animal industry. Here on the coast, turkeys were donated by a thriving seafood “processing” plant.

Non-human life has very little value in today’s world. Heck, a Montana wolf hunter can go out and mow down a loyal dog walking practically at her beloved master’s side and not face any legal consequences. The value of mass-produced birds is measured by the pound. No charge for their stark white feathers; they come off the body easily and can fetch a penny or so a pound at the pillow factory.

But the mighty hunters out in the tidelands currently shooting up a storm won’t be satisfied until they kill something themselves. There’s nothing like a hands-on blood bath to get you in the mood for a feast, I guess. Some folks haven’t come far from Plymouth Rock; at least they phased out witch burnings.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Movies About Hunting Humans For Sport

Friday November 22, 2013

8 (great?) hunting-humans-for-sport movies
By Dave Croy / World-Herald staff writer

Share on facebookShare on twitter
In 1924, Colliers Weekly published a short story by Richard Connell called “The Most Dangerous Game.”

It involved a big-game hunter who fell from a yacht and washed up on an island. A wealthy former Russian aristocrat named Zaroff owned the island. And Zaroff had grown bored of big-game hunting and developed a more ruthless pastime, one that involved causing shipwrecks with misleading navigation lights and hunting the surviving crew members after they swam ashore. Ultimately, of course, the hunter and the Russian had to square off mano a mano.

The story was, among other things, a commentary on the “sport” of big-game hunting, very popular at the time among the wealthy. But the notion of hunting humans for sport apparently captured the fevered imaginations of many a writer and filmmaker.

It spawned the 1932 film, “The Most Dangerous Game,” starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray. (Filmed on many “King Kong” sets with much of the same cast and crew during a break in the making of that film.) The movie was remade in 1945 with the title “A Game of Death.” Since then, numerous films and television shows have made use of the premise, often attributing the original short story as inspiration.

With “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opening in theaters this weekend, it seems like the perfect time to revisit some of the better examples of this sub-genre of film.

8. “Surviving the Game” (1994)

Okay, this is not really a great film, but it has some wonderful actors playing really nasty bad guys, chewing the hell out of the scenery and generally spouting plenty of awful dialogue. Homeless Ice-T gets a job as a “hunting guide” for some rich guys, including Rutger Hauer, Gary Busey and F. Murray Abraham, (all scary enough in real life!) only to discover that he is their quarry! But Ice-T, as you might guess, won’t go down without a fight.

This is generally just a foul-mouthed knock-off of the original story, entirely propped-up by the performances of Hauer and Busey.

7. “Death Race 2000” (1975)

A schlockmeister Roger Corman production, this film put the fun back in funeral. David Carradine as Frankenstein and a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone as Machine-Gun Joe Viterbo are among the drivers in a high-speed cross-country race. In the futuristic world of the year 2000, U.S. democracy has given way to dictatorship, with the three-day race serving as a way to keep the populace pacified. Not only do the drivers score points for speed but for running down pedestrians, as well. The older and more infirm the pedestrian, the greater the point count.

This movie is a cartoonishly ultra-violent mess, with ridiculous “revolutionary” politics oozing through the mix, but, hey, Frankenstein’s car is a Corvette made to look like a giant alligator, and almost every minute of this “cult-classic” is good for a laugh.

6. “Battle Royale” (2000)

This financially successful critical darling from Japan is often cited as having served as a “template” for “The Hunger Games.” I submit that minimal research into this topic makes it obvious that themes like people hunting people, blood sports as “opiates for the masses” and the morality of child soldiers are recurrent throughout both history and fiction.

In this case, a class of 15-year-old schoolchildren is taken to an island, fitted with explosive tracking collars, given basic provisions and various “weapons” and told they each have three days to become the last student standing.

The ensuing violence is frequent, brutal and oddly matter-of-fact. The students’ motivations range from the comic to the melodramatic. The number of students with antisocial personality disorder seems statistically improbable for a group of 40-or-so kids.

More sophisticated critics were able to discern a greater level of depth to the proceedings than I was. I found the government’s motivations for holding the annual contest murky, the characters laughable and the action filmed with all of the grace of security-camera video.

It is never made clear in the film if the “Battle Royale” has a viewing audience outside those running the game. What I’m still trying to figure out is why this film had such a large one.

5. “Hard Target” (1993)

Based on the 1932 film “The Most Dangerous Game,” this was revered Chinese action director John Woo’s first American movie.

Sporting a mullet that appears to have been used to clean up after an oil change, Belgium’s own martial-arts hero Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Chance Bordreaux, homeless Cajun merchant seaman in New Orleans. When Yancy Butler shows up looking for her homeless, missing father, Van Damme saves her from local hoods and agrees to serve as her bodyguard and guide. Turns out that pops was a victim of a ruthless group of human-hunters, led by creepy Lance Henriksen.

Soon, one of Jean-Claude’s homeless pals falls prey to the hunters, too. As Van Damme and Butler begin to gather evidence that the homeless men are being murdered, Henriksen and his goons decide to eliminate any threats to their operation. Will the hunters become the hunted? Will Henriksen get his due? Does the phrase “grenade in pants” ring any bells?

Solid Woo action scenes, but the cheesy script and Van Damme’s spectacular lack of acting talent keep this from being a truly awesome film.

4. “The Running Man” (1987)

With “The Running Man,” director Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky of TVs “Starsky and Hutch”) took a stab at the “over-the-top, thinly-veiled R-rated science-fiction satire,” as mastered by fellow director Paul Verhoven, and he acquitted himself pretty well, considering that he was brought in a week into the production to replace fired director Andrew Davis.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Ben Richards, a former police helicopter pilot in the future wrongly convicted of killing civilians and forced to participate in a reality TV game show, “The Running Man,” where convicts are hunted by superstar “stalkers.” Richards begins killing off the hunters, one-by-one, and ultimately helps an anti-network resistance movement expose the fact that supposed “winning” contestants in the past have all been murdered.

While Ahnuld approaches the material with his usual gusto, the real standout is “Running Man” host and show-runner Richard Dawson (former “Family Feud” emcee) as the glad-handing, lady-kissing and utterly ruthless Damon Killian. Subtlety was the last thing on the minds of anyone involved in this very loose adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

More: http://www.omaha.com/article/20131122/GO/131129638/1181