Sunday Go-a-Huntin’ Day

Living near prime wildlife habitat means that at any given moment you might get to see Vs of migratory ducks or cackling Canada geese flying right overhead. If you’re lucky, trumpeter swans might be among the waterfowl feeding and calling in the nearby estuary. And wood ducks or hooded mergansers might pay your inland pond a visit while searching for a quiet place to nest.
The down side of living near a natural wonderland? Being awakened Sunday morning at first light by the repeated volley of shotgun blasts, as though all-out war has been declared on all things avian (as is currently happening this morning). The Elmers out there (no doubt dressed in the latest expensive camo-pattern—a fashion statement apparently meant to impress the other Elmers out there) must be reveling in the fact that the dense morning fog allows them to “sneak” (in their loud outboard motor boats) up close enough to the flocks so that a large number of birds will end up dead, winged or otherwise wounded when they stand up and spray lead.

Duck hunting is the ultimate betrayal. It happens well into the winter, long after about other any hunting season is over, when the birds are congregated in flocks on their wintering grounds. And it happens often on lands supposedly set aside as wildlife “refuges.” Pro-kill groups like Ducks Unlimited (DU—an acronym, or perhaps an abbreviation for “duh”) insist that they have the animals’ best interests in mind. But when it comes right down to it, all they really want to preserve land for is to have a playground for killing (just listen to them scream if you try to propose a refuge closed to hunting).

Interestingly, they always seem to choose Sunday as their special day for bird killing. It’s no secret that most American hunters count themselves as good Christians. In choosing to hunt in lieu of church this time of year, they must feel closest to their gods in the killing fields.

How is this any different than a follower of Santeria sacrificing chickens? Both practices are equally bloody and violent. And the practice of Sunday go-a-duck-huntin’ probably claims more victims.


16 thoughts on “Sunday Go-a-Huntin’ Day

  1. I like your acronym for “duh” !! In NJ they have since 4 years ago they have hunting on Sunday on “willdlife management” area only so they say. The as of last year they narrowed the buffer zone in many urban areas in NJ endangering children and pets and even the adults.

    Look at this NJ scumbag killing with crossbow right on the ground, he can mistaken a child, a pet etc
    Sad to hear about the duck hunting, we have them in NY. I live in Fla. now and no wildlife but for 7 years I lived around wildlife but with that hunting. When bow season is over it was bird season and shotgun was heard as they polluted the rivers with their shells.

  2. In Washington State duck and goose hunting (hell season) ends today, Jan. 27. After today, I can finally go birding without having to worry so much about being shot or witnessing/hearing birds being maimed and killed. I have been waiting to see the Snowy Owls and some of the other unusual birds in the Skagit area, but this is a major hunting area. As I was told by the former director of WDFW, if I found hunting season uncomfortable, I should just stay home.

    On WDFW’s website, they say to call 911 to report poaching in progress. Their non-emergency number to report poaching or hunting and fishing violations is 1-877-933-9847, Or you can go to their website to enter a report online or send them an email. You can also text them by Enter WDFWTIP (a space) and the report.
    Send to: 847411 (TIP411). They say that all reports are completely anonymous. Call 911 if in progress. The non-emergency reports are only checked during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

    If you live in other states, look up your state’s information and how to report violations.

    Put the contact numbers in your cell phone. If you see or suspect poaching or other hunting and fishing violations, report them! Make the fish and wildlife agents do something good with our tax dollars and actually help wildllife.

    Don’t let the low-lifes get away with murder!

    • JustTheTruth, I’m in Washington right now, too, and I feel socked inside urban enclaves during these months.

      Like you, I now avoid seeing the winter wildlife I would absolutely love to observe and photograph … because it’s so traumatic to witness. When I do encounter hunting, I stick around to make sure there are no “cripples” left behind (I have some rescue training). But, as Jim describes here, hunting season is an assault that transcends even the killing. It never fails to amaze me how uncaring the vast majority of hunters are about the total disruption that occurs because of their sport. The carnage is bad enough, the crippling even worse. But, they affect every human and animal in their presence in ways that are beyond comprehensible to someone like me who likes to tread softly. It has to be one of the most — if not the most — selfish pursuit on the planet. Killing, maiming and destroying serenity for all, just for the sake of your violent enjoyment. I will never understand it.

      (An acquaintance recently posted a Snowy Owl video, shot in the fog in Skagit, where Snow Geese were flying, and the sound of shotguns peppered the entire audio track. It was clear the Snowy Owl was stressed by what was happening, so I don’t believe we even know all of the ancillary effects on non-game animals.)

      I’m sometimes in the minority around other photographers who don’t seem to mind, and who venture into these war zones to photograph birds. I asked one photog recently, if the place where he’d been photographing Short-eared Owls was heavily hunted (meaning, do I need to avoid it). He said, “oh yes, it was hunted!” When I asked if he that was an enthusiastic “yes” he went on to describe how he was enthralled with the whole process, the eagles chasing the downed birds and so forth. I was just cut from a different cloth. It has never been in my constitution to take pleasure in the suffering of another. I wish it were so for all of our species, alas ….

      Next year, I may do an about turn and go out there deliberately to photograph as much as possible, to keep the truth of the sport publicly visible for those who don’t know.

      • Thank you Ingrid. You are braver than me! More people need to see and be made aware of what is going on.

        About a month or so ago, I saw a post on another site saying that an Audubon Society field trip (to I believe Foster Island) had to leave because it wasn’t safe because hunters were blasting away in the dense fog. I am surprised that more people are not shot. However, if the hunters want to shoot each other, that is fine with me.

      • Thank you for being there to rehabilitate the wounded when you find them, Ingrid. Today I hiked 2 hours to get away from the noise of the shooting–you could hear it for miles. They were clearly desperate for one more kill before the season was over…

      • Jim, you’d think it would get easier, that a person could numb himself or herself after all these years of seeing what happens. But lately, even the report of a rifle or shotgun this year sent me into a very high anxiety/stress state that I couldn’t easily overcome. I think it’s a system overload for my psyche. Those perpetrating these acts have no clue and nor do they care for how their violent behavior affects everyone in their slipstream.

      • Ingrid,
        I do Transcendental Meditation to help release the anger and to keep me sane. I found that I cannot be an effective advocate for animals if I am angry and depressed by all the cruelty that I see. Draw boundaries if you need to and do what you can. Also, try to find peace and joy from the animals and from all the beauty that is still left in the world.

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  4. JustTheTruth, thank you. Funny thing is, I did learn medication at a young age and I always tell people, just think what I would be like if I *didn’t* meditate! (hehe). My constitution was described by one practitioner as a “hummingbird living in a colony of rooks.” I have to take everything in smaller doses. 🙂 I’m also reminded of Krishnamurti’s quote: “It’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick world.” Somewhere between being maladjusted and being complacent, lies the very productive place you’re talking about. It’s a place I need to hang on to for dear life, thanks.

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  6. I remember sitting in St. Helena’s Cathedral in the fall. One of the priests would ascend to the pulpit and issue a dire warning for hunters, telling them that if they skipped mass in the coming weeks to get an early start, they put their eternal souls in jeopardy. Missing mass was considered a mortal sin, an evil whose condign punishment was hell. If they had an accident and died before they could repent, there was no hope. No mention was made of the suffering and death of the animals whose doom was sealed every autumn. Days later the cars would appear with dead deer and elk tied to roofs and fenders (pick-up trucks with the bloody bodies safely concealed in the back were still in the future). Those sermons were the beginning of the end of Catholicism for me. I spent some years writing bishops and talking to priests about nonhuman suffering and sin and what the Church’s lack of concern for animals meant for its own theodicy. It was useless. There was no mercy to be found.

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