“Recreational Shooting Opportunities” Have Taken Their Toll

http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/articles-recreational-shooting.html

Article posted by C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

From CASH COURIER NEWSLETTER, Fall 2016

If you want to read an exceptional book, or share it with your friends or acquaintances who aren’t yet convinced that hunting and the management of our wildlife has got to go, then please give them this book.

EXPOSING THE BIG GAME: Living Targets of a Dying Sport
BY JIM ROBERTSON

exposing the big game

You can purchase the book by emailing us at wildwatch@verizon.net or by calling us at 914-388-5221. For a donation to C.A.S.H. of a Basic Plus membership, you will receive a copy in the mail.

Excerpt from EXPOSING THE BIG GAME: LIVING TARGETS OF A DYING SPORT:

Every place I have lied in the West, I’ve been fortunate enough to locate or stumble upon the rare or secretive creatures native to the locality, be they cougars, wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, otters, fisher, mink, pine marten, or badgers, even crossing paths with the shadowy wolverine on four separate occasions. So, it was with confidence that I set out across eastern Montana and Wyoming in search of the amicable, diurnal rodents that call the prairie their home. Surely they must be thick out there. How hard could they be to ferret out? It’s not like I was searching for Bigfoot this time.

I combed hundreds of miles of what should be prime prairie dog habitat, scouring gravel back roads amid over-grazed cattle allotments and between functioning and defunct oil rigs, but found almost no sign of them. What I did find were prairie dog ghost towns and a lot of lonely, parched and denuded ground desperately in need of the vital cornerstone of the treeless grasslands.

Frusted, I stopped at the headquarters of a national recreation area and asked the park service spokeswoman why there were no prairie dogs anywhere in the vicinity. She replied with a shrug, “Uh…Target practice?” Apparently, unregulated “recreational shooting opportunities” (glib game department jargon for their year-round open season on prairie dogs) have taken their toll.

prairie dogs
Wildlife Photography, Copyright Jim Robertson. Reprinted with permission. For more of Jim’s photography, visit Animals in the Wild.

No one at that government compound could direct me to a single place where prairie dogs still existed, yet this vanishing keystone species is left unprotected by ESA safeguards. What will good ol’ boys shoot at when they run out of prairie dogs, marmots or ground squirrels—each other? Okay, fair enough, but let’s hope they don’t hit anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Driving back home to southwest Montana on I-90, I spotted a sign for Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park. As the name implies, there is an active prairie dog town there—one of the last of its kind. The trivial excuse for a park, located right along the interstate with a busy railroad just beyond, is, oddly enough, a surprisingly decent place to see them living otherwise undisturbed. But with the constant whirr of the freeway punctuated by locomotives dragging eternal black streams of overflowing coal cars, it’s also a good place to get a glimpse into what’s happened to the world of the prairie dogs and why there are so few left of their kind.

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2 thoughts on ““Recreational Shooting Opportunities” Have Taken Their Toll

  1. Many youth have already been indoctrinated into recreational killing of wildlife (aka hunting). The hunters look at wildlife as renewable recreational killing opportunities. They are usually ecology ignorant, not realizing, and in many cases not caring about the harm they do. They do not see their killing targets as sentient, and/or they do not care. They think it is good wholesome family fun. They think it is heroic. The outdoors sections of some newspapers are plastered with young killers of wildlife and their targets. It is a killing tradition. Only about 6% of the population hunts, but the coverage by newspapers make it seem more and healthy activity. It is not healthy for man or wildlife or ecology.

    Hunters debated and worried that Cecil the lion poaching incident (July 1, 2015) in Zimbabwe will negatively affect public attitudes toward “ethical hunting” and their dwindling “sport”. Actually, the unethical, non legal, unsporting killing of Cecil the lion brought to light the nature of hunting and trophy hunting. It was a catalyst for the public to take a look. Hunting is quite simply the recreational killing of wildlife. It is not a wholesome thing to do for man or wildlife. In the case of some animals, like the African lion, it is killing a diminishing species. It also brought to light the myths of hunting as conservation and the economics of wildlife killing over wildlife viewing. Hunting is a primitive and barbaric pastime, not a sport, sporting, nor ethical. There is no such thing as ethical killing of wildlife for fun; no such thing as sporting and ethical game farming in the wild or on game farms for recreational killing. Hunting leads to game farming in one form or another and a distortion in wildlife balanced ecology, a balance of apex predators in the natural wild and trophic cascades. Wildlife viewing is more valuable than wildlife killing, and healthier for man and the wild. Regarding the wclaim by trophy hunters about the economic benefit to African economies (hunter rationalization mythology) of their “sport”, trophy hunting contributes no more than (.27%) of GDP and no more than 1,8% of tourism. Wildlife viewing safaris is far better for economies and wildlife.

    Man considers himself an apex predator, not because of tooth or claw or super strength or super senses, speed and cunning, but because of an arsenal of tools (weapons) and intelligence. He likes the image of himself as apex animal, but without his weapons and protective clothing he is puny and not a competitive apex predator and may become the prey.

    Man presents as more as a harmful trophic cascade effect (harmful apex predator) than a natural healthful trophic cascade effect. He (man) really could be viewed as a parasite on the wild, something harmful that stands outside the wild since the dawn of civilization and his declaration of war on wildlife. With his pollution, destruction of biodiversity, destruction of wildlife habitat he may even be classified as a disease (departure from health) to the earth, and the earth would be better off without man. Mankind was not even a healthful apex predator when he was a subsistence hunter. Hunters are not true conservationists nor are most state wildlife agencies, in that they destroy natural trophic cascade ecology and in effect game farm. Wildlife agencies like to manage through hunting, but it is neither management nor conservation. Hunting, trophy hunting, trapping are primitive and barbaric, parasitic activities. They are harmful profiteering of and recreational killing of wildlife and a disruption of healthful trophic cascade ecology and biodiversity.

    • Thank you I enjoyed reading your response, albeit the topic is so very depressing. I usually am so angry that I just go straight to name calling. I have been calling hunters parasites on two legs. Because I could not think of them as anything else. Their need to describe the act of killing as a spiritual and uplifting experience is macabre, it is almost like they are trying to hide a secret, the secret that they need to kill, to snuff the lives of animals wherever they go.

      A few weeks ago I had the misfortune of clicking a link that was in an email I had received from National Wildlife Federation. I thought someone was playing a joke when I read all these fanciful descriptions of hunters, affectionately calling them the anglers! A picture showing the silhouette of a man with a dog a horse and a gun on his shoulder, and the caption said something like anglers are rediscovering the simple joy of hunting! Then a bit further on the same site, showed a picture of a man hiding in an ambush position, and aiming with a powerful gun for long distance shooing, and the caption said, meet and share with other anglers the first hunt that changed you! I wanted to have one of those killers in front of me and scream at him/her, “what are you?” because you sure as hell cannot be a fully evolved human if you find spirituality in killing! Then at that moment I couldn’t think of anything else but one word “parasite”.

      They cannot be described simply as demons or monsters because, to me at least, those categories imply a lack of intelligence, like mutated animals with capacity for murder. But hunters have the brain capacity to understand how the rest of the world perceives them and they try to put a positive spin on what they do, by using elaborate descriptions of the act of killing (as anything but killing) or their motivation for doing it. So if they know how the others perceive them, then why do they do it? It is for the same reason that some parasites take over an organism and consume it until they kill it. It is hunger, hunger for killing, for taking lives of the animals around them and the thrill of it.

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