Oklahoma Gears Up For Hunting Geese; Doves and Squirrels “in Season” Now

OKC Saturday hunting news:

The Washita National Wildlife Refuge near Butler, Okla. and on the upper
end of Foss Reservoir is now accepting applications for blinds for goose
hunting for the upcoming hunting seasons.

There will be ten blinds on the edges of wheat fields available to
hunters. On six Wednesday hunts, blinds will be filled by reservation only on a
first-call, first -served basis that week. Applicants must be 18 years or older.The refuge has been offering goose hunts since 1982 and is one of the premier public waterfowl hunts in Oklahoma.
Last season, 223 hunters bagged 271 geese during the refuge hunts. The
bag limit for geese has increased this year.

The refuge manager states “Washita continues to be a prime goose-hunting
destination and offers some of the most economical hunting in the state.
With a peak population near 100,000 most years, true water fowlers are
sure to get a thrill whether or not they take home their limit.”

Okla.’s annual free hunting days on Sept. 7th thru the 8th. Dove and
squirrel are in season those days.

[They gotta always have something to shoot at, don't they?]

Photo by Jim Robertson

Photo by Jim Robertson

 

Have a Nice Day—Leave the Weapons At Home

Hunters and their apologists have been getting craftier lately in regards to public perception. They seem to understand that if they were to reveal hunting’s dark underbelly and its evil agenda to usurp all open land for their blood-sport, people would not only be appalled, but the roughly 95% of Americans who do not hunt would not go along with their program.

And their PR efforts seem to be paying off. That’s why you hear some non-hunters say things like, “The hunters I know rarely talk about ‘the kill,’ they talk about sitting on the hill in the still of the morning with the fog burning off, with their father/son/grandfather/uncles. They tell you stories of years past about the times spent with their friends and family.”

Ok, great, spend a nice morning watching the fog lift. Get out for a walk in the woods with your friends or family members. But leave the guns behind—that way nobody will get hurt. Too many people lately have had their day ruined when one of their party ends up getting shot. I’m sure the family of Joseph Steele wishes they had opted for a peaceful nature walk rather than an armed foray last Saturday evening, when the 28-year-old was accidentally shot and killed by one of his own.

As the Kokomo Tribune reports it in their update, “Name released in hunting death, Deputies say Joseph Steele was accidentally shot and killed by family memberSteele was hunting with family members in a wooded area just south of his residence. According to witnesses, the hunters had split up, and at some point they lost sight of the Steele. One of the hunters fired from a distance at what he perceived to be a squirrel, deputies said. Moments later, Steele yelled out that he’d been shot. He was able to communicate with witnesses before eventually losing consciousness…

It’s not the 1800s anymore, people. When we finally realize we can enjoy nature without brandishing a weapon, these kinds of accidents will be a thing of the past.

Text and Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Who the Hell Hunts With a Machine Gun Anyway?

While America is reeling in shock over the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and mourning those lost in a volley of peacetime machine gun fire, the papers are rehashing the same questions posed whenever a mass killing makes the news: “Why did this happen?” and “How can we prevent this kind of thing in the future?”

Predictably, politicians from both sides of the fence are weighing in on gun control or the culpability shared by violent Hollywood movies (and even cartoons like Family Guy and American Dad—both of which were preempted by Fox this week because of the tragedy). What we’re not hearing in the mainstream media is any mention of the leading role that sport hunting plays in promoting guns and perpetuating violence.

The latest school shooter, Adam Lanza, and the D.C. Beltway snipers, John Mohammad and John Malvo, all used a Bushmaster .223 hunting/assault rifle to carry out their killings. It was also the weapon used in the Colorado theater shooting, and in a host of other homicidal meltdowns.

The .223 semi-automatic can fire 6 rounds per second (okay, if you want to split hairs, it’s not technically considered a machine gun because you have to hit the hair-trigger with each shot), but what makes it so deadly is the way the bullet reacts on impact: It’s designed to bounce around inside the body once it makes contact with bone.

90641_Varminter

Why is such a lethal assault rifle legal for non-military civilians to own? According to the manufacturer, they are intended to be used for hunting animals. As the NRA well knows, hunting has been used to justify the private ownership of some of the most destructive weapons ever invented.

But who the Hell really hunts with a machine gun anyway? Unfortunately, some folks do. One thrill-killer describes his sport this way: “Prairie dog hunting is a blast, on both private and public lands. I like to start by clearing everything within 50 yards with an AR-15, then switch to my .223 Remington for anything out to about 150 and finally trade up to the bull barrel .22-250 for the longer shots.”

And those who mass murder coyotes seem to feel entitled to the deadliest of armaments as well. A recent “contest hunt” offered up a free shotgun or a pair of semi-automatic rifles to whoever murdered the most canines. The terms of the competition were simple: hunters in New Mexico had two days to shoot and kill as many coyotes as they could; the winner got their choice of a Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun or two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s M16 that has been in production since Vietnam.) “Nothing’s gonna stop me,” said Mark Chavez, the hunt’s sponsor, and the owner of Gunhawk Firearms “This is my right to hunt and we’re not breaking any laws.”

Bushmaster describes their .223 as a “Varmint Rifle.” Oh really? That shines new light on what some of these politicians really mean when they say they only hunt “varmints.” I’ve never been an invited guest at George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford Texas; therefore I can only guess that this is the type of weapon the self-proclaimed “varmint” hunter uses when he goes up against a family of scary ground squirrels, marmots or a town of talkative prairie dogs.

Larger caliber Bushmaster models are categorized as “Predator Rifles.”

90823_Pred_ATACS

Ironically, it was Lanza’s mother, Nancy, who taught young Adam how to shoot. She was an avid gun enthusiast who legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock (both handguns commonly used by police) and a military-style Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, according to law enforcement officials. As it turns out, it was one of her guns that her son turned on her before using them in his attack on the students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary…

See also, “Honor Thy Father and Mother, Except When They Misbehave.”

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Are Hunters Psychopaths?

Hey hunters, here’s a question for you: On a scale of 0-3, how strongly do you agree with this statement “Seeing an animal injured or in pain doesn’t bother me in the slightest.” If your answer was 3, do society a favor and get yourself fitted for a straightjacket and a Hannibal Lector hockey mask, because that was one of the top questions from the “How-to-tell-if-you-are-a-psychopath” quiz.

On a similar note, I just came across a September 3rd 2009 article by George Wuerthner with the no-brainer question for a title: “Are Hunters Stupid?” The article’s subheading, “The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting,” was more in keeping with his point, since Wuerthner is a hunter and former hunting guide who probably doesn’t really consider himself stupid.

He starts his article out by telling about Daryl, a co-worker of his at the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho. At a party, Daryl was trying to put the moves on a couple of women, asking them if they wanted to go gopher shooting with him…  “’Gopher shooting?’ they asked incredulously. ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘gopher hunting—you know blowing away gophers.’ They looked stunned and remained silent. So Daryl tried to recover and said, ‘The fun part is seeing the red mist rise in the air when you hit one. It’s an incredible rush,’ he said with obvious enthusiasm. Those women just looked at each other like they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.  He might as well ask them if they wanted to go to the park and molest children. The women fled. Daryl was left baffled and standing alone. He just couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to go blow away gophers, especially when he offered to bring a spare rifle so they could join in the fun…”

Since I don’t personally know this guy Daryl, I can’t say for sure if he’d qualify as stupid, by today’s standards, but I can tell you one thing—he’s definitely a psychopath. A lack of empathy is a sign of psychopathy and Daryl clearly had no empathy for either the gophers he enjoys “blowing away,” or for the women he thought would be impressed by his offer. Other symptoms of psychopathy, according to the “Psychopathy Checklist” spelled out by Robert Hare, PhD, include a lack of remorse or guilt—neither of which hunters seem to be capable of when it comes to their animal victims.

Anyone who thinks, “The fun part [of gopher hunting] is seeing the red mist rise in the air when you hit one. It’s an incredible rush,” would surely score high on any psychopathy quiz. But the point of Wuerthner’s article (which, to be fair, does include some good lines in defense of wolves) is that wolf hunters who cluelessly boast about their exploits in public are a lot like his friend Daryl in terms of hunter PR. If he might hesitate to admit that all hunters are psychopaths, Wuerthner would have to agree the diagnosis when it comes to trophy wolf hunters.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved