As most of you know, this blog, as a rule, does not allow comments from self-proclaimed wildlife killers or their apologists, for the same reason a victim’s rights group might have a policy not to approve comments from abusers of vulnerable human victims. However, once in a while I post a hunter’s comment if it gives us particular insight into how their minds work.
According to the following comment to the post “High School Class Sponsoring Crow Hunting Tournament,” crows, coyotes, deer, hogs and ducks are “nothing,” but domesticated chickens may have some value…
“I think you are all making a big deal of out of nothing. I grew up in Sasakwa, I graduated from Sasakwa, and I hunt deer, ducks, and hogs. I don’t see why crows or coyotes are any different. My family lives in the country and we have animals. Coyotes will come and kill our chickens if we don’t keep an eye out for them.
“And we are not ruthless killers. Many kids and adults in Sasakwa have taken Hunter Safety Courses and hunt. Just because our community puts a hunting event together doesn’t mean there will be a big school shooting.”
Well, that’s what the shooters from Columbine would have said. Granted, not every bully becomes a serial killer, but the shooting of crows or coyotes for the sake of a sporting event is abusive in its own right. The contest-killing of sentient beings may not qualify as mass murder according to the laws of the day, but it’s certainly not “nothing.”
On the way up to the mountains to ski some of the seven plus feet of snow which fell during the past week, I passed a car with a bumper sticker that read: “The Animals Support Gun Control.” That brings up an issue you almost never hear about, ironically enough, after someone brings a hunting rifle to school and tries to peck off every kid or teacher they can get a bead on.
Oh, you hear about gun control, that’s a given, but almost never in the context of how they’re used against non-human animals—for sport or savagery—in contest kills, often geared especially for young people, as if to tempt the next mass-murderer out of hiding and onto the playground for some real fun and games.
You can’t expect grade-schoolers to understand the subtle difference between a sacred human life and those of other animals they’ve been trained to kill—before they could even develop a conscience—by their proud parents, who use their kids’ eagerness to please and to play follow the leader against them, in hopes of recruiting a life-time hunting partner.
The disturbing trend among states to lower the legal hunting age, practically to infancy, suggests the word “Columbine” evokes only the image of a pretty flower to them. Meanwhile, hunters in states like Idaho are actively luring young children to try their luck in coyote or wolf killing derbies to further degrade the value of life that movies and video games have already taught them to disregard a thousand times over. The town of Holley, New York, just held another appalling example of state-sanctioned sadism in the form of an animal-kill contest they dubbed the “squirrel slam.” “Sporting” events like the so-called “squirrel slam” are an embarrassment that only adds to the global perception that this is an inherently violent country.
Not to be outdone, the Oklahoma “game” department just announced that the senior class of Sasakwa High is sponsoring a crow-killing contest, set for the end of this month—complete with prize money for whoever murders the most crows. It’s a spectacle sure to inspire the next killer-in-waiting to turn their semi-automatic on their fellow classmates.
These kinds of hunting events beg the obvious question: how can kids be expected to know the difference between officially sanctioned animal cruelty and acts of cruelty they come up with on their own?
So if you feel your Second Amendment rights are withering away at the mere mention of gun control, relax that death-grip on your rifle for a moment and consider what the animals would have to say about the issue, if only we allowed them a voice.
By Tom Rivers, editor 19 February 2014
HOLLEY – Edita Birnkrant doesn’t want to take away anyone’s Second Amendment rights. But she does want to make shooting animals illegal when it’s part of a fund-raiser.
Birnkrant is director of Friends of Animals in New York. She will be in Holley on Saturday for the 8th annual Squirrel Slam. She may be joined by hundreds of FOA supporters from several states.
“We share the landscape with wildlife,” Birnkrant said by phone this afternoon from New York City. “I see this as a crime against nature.”
Friends of Animals plans a peaceful protest near the Holley Firehall from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Birnkrant was in Holley last year for the Squirrel Slam and she said some of the hunters taunted her with dead squirrels, holding them out towards her as they passed by for the weigh station at the firehall.
Police have told Birnkrant the Friends of Animals will be separated from the hunters on Saturday. Police don’t want the hunters walking through a pack of protestors.
This year’s event has the added dimension of the New York Revolution, a group that formed last year after the state passed the controversial gun control measure known as the SAFE Act. The group is expected to be in Holley on Saturday, showing its support for the Second Amendment.
Birnkrant said she doesn’t want to infringe on the Second Amendment.
“We’re not trying to take guns away,” she said. “We think wildlife killing contests should be unlawful. As a society we have to evolve from this.”
The Holley event isn’t the only fund-raiser where participants hunt wildlife. Other events target crows and coyotes. But Birnkrant said Holley’s Squirrel Slam is unusual because it has a fire department as its sponsor and
welcomes children as young as 12 to participate.
Participants bring up to five squirrels to the weigh station and prizes go to the heaviest cumulative entry. The event on Saturday, despite little advertising, quickly was a sellout and capped at 650 participants.
The Squirrel Slam generates about $6,500 in revenue for the Fire Department. After it pays out $1,500 for prizes, $500 for food and $440 to Holley for police overtime, Fire Department President Fran Gaylord said the event nets about $4,000.
Friends of Animals plans to present a petition to village and fire department officials, asking that the event be cancelled in the future. Friends has offered to make up the fund-raising loss for the fire department, Birnkrant said.
Bills in both the State Assembly and Senate call for banning wildlife hunting contests. That doesn’t include fishing derbies. Birnkrant said that her goal is to stop the contests that call for killing of land animals. She
doesn’t see the contests as hunting in the traditional sense.
“Most people would be horrified by a dog or cat killing contest because they are pets,” Birnkrant said. “I’m horrified by a squirrel killing contest. They feel pain.”
Friends of Animals is actually against all hunting, but the group’s immediate goal is to see state legislation approved to ban wildlife hunting contests.
Birnkrant said her group hopes to show its opposition to the Holley event on Saturday, and doesn’t want to get into any confrontations with supporters of the Squirrel Slam.
“I would hope it would be pretty uneventful,” she said.
Holley police expects to have at least five officers on duty Saturday afternoon with additional support from the Albion Police Department and New York State Police.
…and other weekly hunting news from Oklahoma.
The senior class of Sasakwa High is sponsoring a crow hunting tournament
on March 1st. [Watch for the next big school shooting to happen there, sometime after March 1st.]
[Crow] “hunters” can register for the tournament as individuals or
The deadline to enter is Feb. 17th. The cost is $20 per person. The
place will pay 35 percent of the entry fees. The second place will be
The Okla. Station Chapter of the Safari Club International is holding its
annual convention banquet and fundraiser on March 1st at the Okla.
Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
In 2010 and 2012, the chapter’s banquet program won best-in-class among
all the organization’s chapters across the world.
The 2014 banquet will feature much more. This includes more than
worth of auction items such as big-game hunts around the world, bird hunts,
fishing trips, guns, gear, jewelry, sculptures and more.
Auction items can be viewed on line and the tickets are $75 in advance or
$95 at the door
Okla. is now debating whether to hunt a young deer buck or shoot a trophy
deer. Now, deer associations and landowners work together to manage
deer and other wildlife on their properties, with a common goal, such as
protecting young bucks and increasing the buck age structure.
A bill has been introduced in the Okla. House of Representatives that
proposes a 6-point antler restriction on bucks for hunters ages 17 or
This is an attempt to protect young bucks. They can’t grow into trophy
bucks if they keep getting killed as yearlings.
Other states have similar restrictions. However, some wildlife officials
don’t think it would work in Okla.
Because so many deer hunters voluntarily do not kill young deer, wildlife
officials believe that the trend in Okla. is that more hunters keep passing
on young bucks.
One official notes “Hunters are better educated, and they are more
selective about what they harvest.”
Four of the top five states that had the lowest percentage of yearling
harvested were states that did not have any antler regulation.
Depending on which side of the deer management debate often depends
on whether you primarily hunt for meat or hunt for horns.
The Okla. Wildlife Dept. tries to please both groups thru liberal hunting
seasons and Deer Management Assistance Programs for landowner
interested in managing for bigger bucks.
Humans aren’t all bad—not all the time, anyway. We may be the most parasitic plague and destructive mutants ever to evolve on Earth, but occasionally our actions can actually help certain other animals.
Sometimes it’s unintentional, such as when people are driving the sandy beaches here on the Pacific coast. Vehicles on the soft, upland sand can disrupt or damage endangered snowy plover nests, and when people drive too fast right along the surf they’ve been known to run over migratory shorebirds feeding there. But on exceptionally windy days, while driving the beach in search of pelagic birds, like murres or grebes, washed up after brutal storms and now in need of rehabilitation, I’ve noticed that the shorebirds take refuge in deep tire tracks, hunkering down in the only cover they can find (especially if beachcombers have trucked off all the driftwood logs).
While leaving deep tire tracks in the sand can’t really be considered a direct, intentional act of kindness for an animal, keeping fresh, thawed sugar-water out for the straggler humming bird we’ve had here all winter surely can. The poor bird must have stuck around this normally mild, coastal region, rather than migrating further south, because of the late-blooming honeysuckle and early blossoming salmonberry shrubs. But now an arctic air mass has encroached for a week, bringing with it temperatures in the teens and wind-chills in the single digits. Frozen ponds and snow coating on the Sitka spruces and western hemlock complete this late Christmas-card scene, but I can imagine, to a high strung hummingbird, it must feel like the ice age is back to stay.
My wife has been the one diligently keeping watch over the feeder, being sure to exchange it for a thawed one every other hour on these iciest of days. But at first light this morning, while the coffee was brewing, I went out in my bathrobe before filling the other birds’ feeders and replaced his liquid refreshment. As it was, the hummingbird didn’t show up at until after 8:00.a.m. It must have been hard to leave the thicket he was crouched in and face the frozen wasteland to find out whether or not the human handout had turned into a sugar-water popsicle. He was lucky this morning. Hardly a steaming cup of hot coffee, but it must have seemed like the nectar of the gods to someone with such a high metabolism—especially after a long night spent burning precious energy trying to stay warm.
Were I of a different mindset (i.e., not an animal lover) I might say, “That hummingbird is becoming a pest. It could be considered a safety hazard, or maybe even a road hazard. It could be an exotic or even an invasive species. It might be time to call for a cull, or even a contest hunt on him.” But, fortunately for him, I’m not like that.
Please join Project Coyote to take immediate action to stop a brutal coyote killing contest scheduled for January 18-19th in Crane, Oregon. There is no place for a wildlife killing contest in our civilized society.
Contest participants, in teams of two, with no geographical restrictions will slaughter coyotes for thrills and compete for cheap prizes (including cash). Awards will be given for the most coyotes killed, the largest coyote, and other categories including a calcutta. This is not hunting but a gratuitous massacre that is legal in Oregon and across the country. Children under the age of 16 are encouraged to participate with free entry on Saturday.
What: Eighth Annual Coyote Killing Contest Where: Crane, Oregon When: Saturday, January 17th through Sunday January 19th, 2014
Pl. share this image from the recent Salmon, ID coyote/wolf “derby” (95,360 views & 1,749 shares to date) & help spread the message
Talking Points (please personalize your letter and if you recreate in Oregon please mention this):
1. Wildlife killing contests are ethically indefensible events allowing participants to kill wildlife to win prizes. They are biologically and ecologically reckless, not only harming individual animals, but also altering predator-prey dynamics, disrupting the social dynamics of predatory species, and increasing threats to public safety, all for fun and prizes. They have no beneficial management purpose but, rather, promote gratuitous violence against wildlife. They demean the immense ecological and economic value of predators in an ecosystem while teaching children to hate and trivialize the lives of predators.
2. Killing contests have nothing in common with fair chase, ethical hunting. Technology, baiting, and “calling” place wildlife at an even greater and unfair disadvantage. Killing predators, or any wild animal, as part of a ‘contest’ is ethically indefensible and ecologically reckless. 3. Bloodsport contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes and, simply, for the “fun” of killing. No evidence exists showing that predator killing contests control problem animals or serve any beneficial management function. Coyote populations that are not exploited (that is hunted, trapped, or controlled by other means), form stable “extended family” social structures that naturally limit overall coyote populations through defense of territory and the suppression of breeding by subordinate female members of the family group.
4. The importance of coyotes and other predators in maintaining order, stability, and productivity in ecosystems has been well documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Coyotes provide myriad ecosystem services that benefit humans including their control of smaller predators, rodents, and jack rabbits, which compete with domestic livestock for available forage. 5. Wildlife killing contests perpetuate a culture of violence and send the message to children that life has little value and that an entire species of animals is disposable. 6. Wildlife killing contests put non-target animals, companion animals, and people at risk. Domestic dogs are sometimes mistaken for coyotes and wolves.
Immediately contact the following to voice your firm but polite protest:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
900 Court Street NE, 160, Salem, OR 97301
Harney County Chamber of Commerce
Chelsea Harrison, Executive Director
484 North Broadway, Burns, OR 97720
Please post polite comments on the Facebook pages of Travel Oregon and the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association:
Travel Oregon/Oregon Tourism Commission
Judiaann Woo, Director, Global Communications
Eastern Oregon Visitors Association
Phone: 1 (800) 332-1843
The year of our lord, 2013, could be known as the year of the big backslide, at least in terms of attitudes toward animals and the environment, as well as the general acceptance of scientific fact.
For example, CBS News reports that the number of Republicans who believe in evolution today has plummeted compared to what it was in 2009, according to new analysis from the Pew Research Center. A poll out Monday shows that less than half – 43 percent – of those who identify with the Republican Party say they believe humans have evolved over time, plunging from 54 percent four years ago. Forty-eight percent say they believe “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time,” up from 39 percent in 2009.
I can’t help but think this is because many people still aren’t comfortable admitting they’re animals. And this supremacist attitude is reflected in everything they do in regard to our fellow species.
Anyone who has been following the wolf issue since gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List in a handful of backward states has certainly noticed a rapid backslide pertaining to how wolves are perceived, treated and “managed” by those bent on dragging us back to the dark ages for animals—the Nineteenth Century—when concepts like bounties, culls and contest hunts were commonplace. Hunters and ranchers in the tri-state area surrounding Yellowstone National Park, as well as in the Great Lakes region, are doing everything they can to resurrect the gory glory days of the 1800s, and wolves are paying the ultimate price.
Meanwhile, in spite of great efforts to educate people about the myriad of problems associated with factory farming and the dependence on meat consumption in an ever more crowded human world, the number of ruminants raised for food on the planet today is at an all-time high of 3.6 billion, double what is was 50 years ago. Regardless of or our burgeoning human population, not only do we have a chicken in every pot in this country, we now have cow and sheep parts in every freezer and pig parts in practically every poke. This, of course, is all thanks to ever-worsening living conditions for farmed animals.
Professor William Ripple and co-authors of a research paper, “Ruminants, Climate Change, and Climate Policy,” prepared in Scotland, Austria, Australia and the United States, noted that about 25 percent of the earth’s land area is dedicated to grazing, and a third of all arable land is used to grow food for livestock, according to the report. Reducing the number of cattle and sheep on the planet, and thereby reducing the methane gas emissions they produce, is a faster way to impact climate change than reducing carbon dioxide alone, the report concluded. The researchers concluded that greenhouse gas emissions from cattle and sheep are 19 to 48 times higher per pounds of food produced than the gas emitted in the production of plant protein foods such as beans, grains or soy.
To get an idea of how unnatural and unsustainable 3.6 billion large ruminants is, think back to when vast bison herds blackened the plains. At that time there were only 50 million bison in all of North America. There are over 300 million human beef-eaters in the United States, every one of them expecting to see a fully stocked steak house, Subway or McDonald’s on every street corner.
Meanwhile, the media’s busily cooking up a spin to answer to meat’s culpability in this planet’s climate crisis. Articles on how methane from grass-eaters is a primary greenhouse gas are often accompanied by the suggestion that pigs and chickens don’t produce as much. In other words, don’t worry your little meat-addicted heads if this beef-cow-causing-global-warming thing becomes a recognized issue, you can just switch over to other non-ruminants’ carcasses—no one really expects you to become a vegetarian, after all.
One of the most outrageous spins ever concocted aired on a “Ted Talk” just last March. Allan Savory, a former Rhodesian provincial Game Officer, has been spreading the counterintuitive notion that to control desertification and stop global warming we need to turn even more cattle out onto arid land. This notion comes from a man who, as late as 1969 advocated for the culling of large populations of elephants and hippos because he felt they were destroying their habitat. Savory participated in the culling of 40,000 elephants in the 1950s, but he later concluded it did not reverse the degradation of the land and called the culling project “the saddest and greatest blunder of my life.” Now he’s trying to sell us on another blunder with even more destructive consequences. What will this guy do for an encore? Never mind, I don’t want to know.
Speaking of Africa, 2013 saw the fastest growing and second most populous continent on its way to adding another billion people to the planet. By the end of this century, 3/4 of the world’s growth is expected to come from Africa, and projections put its population at four billion—one billion in Nigeria alone. Most African countries will at least triple in population, as there are very high fertility rates and very little family planning in most regions. No one is quite sure how the continent will provide for that many hungry humans; only time will tell.
And even though China’s overwhelming population is already well past a billion, in 2013 they abandoned their one child policy and affectively doubled it by implementing a two child policy at the stroke of a pen.
Sorry, but this shit is scary, at least if you care about the plight of non-human species on this planet. Sure, cultural diversity is important—to people. But it sure as hell doesn’t trump biological diversity in the scheme of things. Regardless of what you may or may not believe about whether we were created in the image of a god, life on Earth as we know it will not go on if we humans are one of the only species left around.
The coming decades are going to test just what Homo sapiens are made of. Are we progressive and adaptable enough to learn to share the planet with others and become plant eaters, as some people have? Or is our incessant breeding and meat consumption going to put us into an all new classification—planet eater?
The New York Times’ editorial, “Wolf Haters” (December 29, 2013), brought up two prime examples of how anti-wolf fanatics in states like Idaho are trying to drag us back to the dark ages of centuries past, when predators were hunted and trapped to extinction by ignorant people claiming all of nature’s bounty for themselves.
Most Americans nowadays understand natural processes well enough to know that apex species, like wolves, will find equilibrium with their prey if given a chance. Perhaps the only ones who won’t accept that fact are trophy hunters who still claim the elk in Idaho’s wilderness areas as a commodity exclusively for them. It goes beyond the absurd that the US Forest Service would permit a state game department to bring in a bounty hunter because the land is too rugged for the average wolf hunter. To me that seems like the perfect kind of place for predator and prey to return to some semblance of the order that existed before the spread of Manifest Destiny.
I’m sure the enlightened lawmakers who crafted the Endangered Species Act (exactly 40 years ago) never imagined recovering species would be used as targets for some hair-brained “hunters’ rights” groups’ “derby hunt,” as is going on in Salmon, Idaho. Yet this brand of disregard is not without precedence—endangered prairie dogs are routinely targeted by “shooting sports” enthusiasts across the West. What’s next—contest hunts on Yellowstone Bison reminiscent of Buffalo Bill’s reckless era? Or, perhaps a Sunday afternoon of blasting bald eagles?
SALMON, Idaho -
Ask any of the people in Salmon and they’ll tell you there’s nothing they like more than a good hunt.
“It is really a way of life,” said Salmon resident Billijo Beck.
But lately that way of life has come under scrutiny after a local outfitter announced a wolf derby in which hunters will be given cash prizes for killing wolves.
Several in the town of 3,000 say they’ve received threatening e-mails and Facebook messages from all over the world.
“There was one that they were gonna hang our entire family by a noose,” recalls Jen Larson, who says she began receiving threats after she and her husband’s diner, the Savage Grill, became a derby sponsor.
“Wanted to burn the business down with us in it. Make sure we were in it,” said Dave Larson.
“Some rock and a flaming arrow needs to fly through that sign,” reads one message, referring to the Savage Grill’s Native American logo.
Another reads, “Sick [expletives] like you need to be removed from the planet. I hope a pack of wolves eviscerates you and leaves your worthless carcass to die slowly, painfully and alone.”
We tracked down one of the people behind one of the threats—a man living in Canada who identified himself as a Native American elder but wouldn’t give his name.
He insists he didn’t cross any line by sending the messages.
“They’re beautiful and you can’t eat the meat. Why do they want to shoot them?” he asked.
But hunters say they’re doing nothing wrong.
“If you look up the definition of murder, it’s defined in human terms. Not in animal terms,” said Beck.
They say the wolf derby will continue despite the negative response.
“It’s mostly out-of-state people who don’t have a clue what we do here or how we live here,” said Dave Larson.
The Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm whether they’re investigating the threats.
The wolf derby will take place Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 in Salmon.
Copyright 2013 NPG of Idaho.