Resurgence of hunting is “welcome, overdue”

[Some people actually agreed with the Time article, if you can believe that!]

A recent cover story in Time magazine made the case that hunting is on the verge of making a comeback.

If true, that would be welcome.

Interest in both hunting and fishing in the United States (and even in Oregon, despite the state’s rich outdoors tradition) has been declining for years.

Now, as the article in Time argued, we’re starting to see one of the results: Our forests and wildlands are packed with unsustainable numbers of wild animals — and the critters, starving for habitat, are starting to move in on more urban areas.

States and cities have adopted what appear to be extraordinary measures to deal with the overflow. Consider these examples cited by Time:

— The City Council in Durham, N.C., recently authorized bow hunting for deer inside the city limits to help deal with an outbreak of Lyme disease and an increase in the number of deer-vs.-vehicle collisions.

— Officials in San Jose, Calif. — yes, in the heart of Silicon Valley — now allow the hunting of wild pigs within the city.

— Rock Island, Ill. recently approved bow hunting in town, as long as it occurs on the city’s green spaces — golf courses, parks, cemeteries — or on public land.

The long-running shift in attitudes toward hunting (it dates, in some ways, to the release of the movie “Bambi“) has had exactly the result you would expect: The number of animals in our forests in some cases has reached historic highs. Consider, for example, white-tailed deer — in 1930, hunted nearly to the point of extinction. Today, estimates suggest, 32 million deer are in the United States — and a couple of million of them recently have been in your back yard, eating everything they can.

We have dramatically underestimated the important role hunters play in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. In retrospect, the results should have been obvious.

But the price we are paying for that failure, in some ways, isn’t as obvious: Damage from the nation’s 5.5 million feral pigs, for example, is estimated at $1.5 billion every year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a plan to encourage wild pig hunting.

It is true that the actions of some thoughtless vandals have hurt the image of hunting. Consider the incident last month in Oregon State University’s McDonald-Dunn Research Forest, in which poachers dumped a bull elk, wasting more than 250 pounds of meat. The elk’s antlers had been cut from its skull with a saw.

The people responsible for despicable actions like these are not hunters. They are criminals — but their actions tarnish the reputation of the sport, and likely have played some role in the decline of hunting.

Now, however, the table might be set for true hunters to reclaim their position as critical players in maintaining the balance that allows both animals and humans to thrive. (mm)

Mike McInally is the editor of the Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at 541-812-6097


17 thoughts on “Resurgence of hunting is “welcome, overdue”

  1. I’m calling bullshit on this. And I’m certain the number of “criminals” among hunters is extremely high. The subsistence hunting of the old days has evolved into a gory game of bloodlust and killing-all-you-can “contests” – sport killing. Apparently the vast majority of hunters support this because they are not speaking out. They ALL deserve a tarnished reputation.

  2. I read The Republican Brain 2-3 years ago and it is about the seemingly genetic basis of alternative universe thinking (not constrained by facts, logic, empiricism or science): They just make sh– up and pass along misinformation to each other directly and through their sources, i.e. Fox News. The writer, Chris Mooney, did not mention hunters or ranchers, but they are mostly the same. I have always thought of Time magazine as a conservative bastion which justifies far right or just right thinking. Anyway, I had already made the same conclusions as Chris Mooney about the right of moderate republicans and have in the same past couple of years come to see hunters and ranchers, mostly but not all of course, as of the same ilk. The far, and not so far right, and hunters and ranchers are currently taking a deliberate tactic of taking over red state legislatures with their crazy agendas. I have just finished reading The Wolf Almanac and it surveyed the status of wolves around the world and you do not have to guess the historic and historic enemies of balanced wildlife ecology and the predators: hunters and ranchers/farmers. Some news sources, I just read the Wall Street Journal for six months, Time magazine, email Newsmax and many others are bolstering the madness sweeping the country, hopefully at an apex and ready for a decline, the right brain way of thinking. Believe me, or better, read The Republican Brain, The Wolf Almanac, The Hidden Life of Wolves, Exposing the Big Game, Romeo The Story of an Alaskan Wolf, and others. We, wildlife conservationists are dealing with bat sh– crazy!

    • Well said, Roger! I think for many of them, reason and logic is beyond their capacity to comprehend. Compassion just never entered the picture from the beginning?
      The more we objectify certain groups as the enemy, the more likely we are to lose our own balance. So we must do the only thing we can do that they can’t. We must be driven to understand why things are this bad and lead the masses with our compassion for animals, people down on their luck, discriminated against etc. Some from inside DC and the rest everywhere an animal, child, woman, elder is being abused. The 60s happened because regular people were outraged at the wrongs being done to the innocent by bullies in positions of power. Nixon was forced to resign over what would be business as usual for the current crop of old, white men with guns! We must remember that the sociopaths doing the killing of wolves are the end users of the laws that allow this wretched business to go on and on. We must focus our energy toward political action. You want people to notice, try to raise bail first, then get a group together and occupy the FWS and invite the press to cover it from the inside with you. The goal is to educate the masses to the truth and be the gatekeepers of honesty and compassion. Translate this into delisting politicians and re-listing the wolves. If wolves can make it to 2016, we can save them. And as I have said right along, if you find out about orphaned pups, don’t leave them to die, take them to a sanctuary. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
      As far as messing up these hunts for money, foul them up by playing very loud noises in the woods on an old boombox radio:-) they are free at the town dump. Drive the creatures out of the area of the hunt. If anybody says anything, say that you are recreating and happen to like Blueman Group! Haha, the louder the better! 🙂 If you really want to do it right, put a bunch of boom-boxes on a timer switch. Wired in a series or on batteries. Put endless loop of a tape of a large crowd of humans whaching fireworks. Hoist the radios into the trees. Set it off a couple of hours before the ’round-up’ and spook every creature into hiding. It will stop when the batteries run out. On one of my jobs, I had to get raccoons and skunks to get out of a commercial dumpster, so I put a plank in it, then lowered a boom-box down by the animal with loud humans being obnoxious, such as recording the sound track from a fight. It always worked.

      • As always, Melody, an insightful post seasoned with some clever hints on how to disrupt hunts. I think the real problem is not the 5-10% of the population who create all the mayhem in the woods. They are beyond-the-pale psychos who will never be reached by reason, logic, or appeals to compassion; and I, for one, am more than happy to objectify them as “the enemy” and do everything within my meager powers to ostracize, circumscribe, and contain them. They are like cancer cells and you don’t strike bargains with cancer, you coolly and unemotionally seek ways to eliminate it.

        The real problem is not these degenerates, it’s the other 85-90% of the population (exempting the maybe 5% who genuinely care about the welfare and sufferings of non-human animals and who regularly visit blog-sites like this one) who just don’t give a damn or consider inhumane treatment of non-human animals to be of such trivial importance that they refuse even to think about it. As Elie Wiesel has said, “indifference is the epitome of evil”. To cite just two recent examples from the “C.A.S.H. Courier”: the Supreme Court (now thankfully meeting the politically-correct diversity quota with a “wise Latina”, a gay Harvard law professor, an Uncle Tom, as well as the more traditional pious-Catholics-with-guns) has declined to hear the appeal of a Pennsylvania woman charged under “hunter harassment” laws, arguably among the most egregious assaults on our purported Constitutional right to freedom of speech in recent history; and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (darling of the political Left and spawn of Andrew Cuomo, darling of the political Left from a previous era) “has instituted a state initiative to increase hunting and trapping in New York State. Bobcats, thought to have almost no population in western New York, and a relatively small population in the state (est. 5,000), will nevertheless be hunted in parts of western New York for the first time in decades.” Anyone who really thinks we’re on the cusp of winning the battle to reverse the systematic abuse of wild animals in this country needs to get off of the opium pipe.

        These folks who make-up the vast majority of our body politic are like the mule in the apocryphal story: the only way to get its attention is to first whack it on the side of the head with a 2 x 4 (with all due apologies to muledom). So, I like your suggestion about occupying FWS offices as well as other, considerably less polite, forms of protest. Barring that kind of robust activism, you will never get the media’s or the public’s attention for long enough to change anything.

      • I believe that Geoff is correct, that we have to wake the sleeping giant.

        Before we despair about the resurgence in hunting, though, we should remember that rebound and growth interpretation is pushed by the “not enough game” crowd. In 1960, 11.2% of the US population (16+ years of age) hunted. By 1996, the hunting percentage had dropped to 7%. Hunting dropped to a low of 5% in 2006, and then (..wait for it …) had a highly touted resurgence of 9% growth. That advertised 9% GROWTH of hunting enthusiasts surged the percentage of hunters in the population to 6%–about the 2001 level. Legislators, game commissioners, et al, need to be reminded that the “popularity of hunting is growing,” is about as accurate as the person who takes $1,000 to Las Vegas and returns with “$200 of winnings.”

  3. Reblogged this on Wolf Is My Soul and commented:
    I can’t believe most of the “crazy” news that come from the U.S.! I mean TIME Magazine was once a publication with articles echoing globally. Since Snowden and and the leak of the PRISM program, news stories originating from America are closely scrutinized. Too bad TIME printed this article without checking their facts

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