Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

Apply for urban archery deer hunts

LITTLE ROCK — If you’re looking for an extra opportunity to put some meat in the freezer this fall, feed needy Arkansans and help control urban deer populations, now is the time to start planning.

Registration for the 2020 Arkansas Urban Archery Hunts is open until midnight Aug. 12 at https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/urban-archery-hunt.

Russellville is included in the areas open for the hunt.

Urban archery hunts are more than an added opportunity for hunters, they’re a sound technique to manage deer populations where they have become too abundant and have caused conflicts with people.

Ralph Meeker, the deer program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says certain wildlife populations have flourished in the last five decades, but there can be a downside. Each year, deer cause thousands of dollars in damage to people’s landscaping and present a danger to motorists in rural neighborhoods.

Archery hunter in tree stand”All wildlife have what is called ‘social carrying capacity,’” Meeker said. “That’s the density of a wildlife population where they begin to become a nuisance or danger. A few areas in Arkansas that have high populations of people in relatively rural settings have reached this threshold, so the AGFC works with those cities and towns to find solutions.”

Urban hunts are one of the best tools wildlife managers can use to reduce these populations without more expensive techniques such as sharpshooters.

Hunting is the most efficient means we have to control deer populations,” Meeker said. “We have hunters who want to help, and the harvest helps control the deer’s numbers.”

Even deer that are not harvested will scatter back to surrounding wildlife habitat once the added hunting pressure is apparent.

“These hunts allow hunters to enjoy their sport while offering an important service to the public and contribute to needy Arkansans throughout the state,” Meeker said. “All hunters must donate their first adult deer harvested to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.”

Meeker works with the Arkansas Bowhunters Association and city officials to coordinate the hunts throughout the state. Hunters who participate in the hunts must attend an orientation where they must pass a proficiency test with the archery equipment they intend to use during the hunt. An orientation fee is collected, which covers the insurance policy for the hunt most cities require.

Meeker says the added attraction of an early September hunt also helps drive people to participate.

“Urban hunts open Sept. 1, so they’re the best chance an Arkansas hunter has at getting a buck in velvet, which is on some hunter’s bucket lists,” Meeker said. “Early season hunting isn’t for everyone, but the hunts continue all the way through the end of February for some locations, giving hunters plenty of time to harvest an urban deer.”

Bowhunting qualifierAll urban hunts follow stringent guidelines to ensure the safety of hunters and local landowners is maintained, some of these guidelines differ from hunt to hunt. In addition to orientations and shooting proficiency tests, all hunters must have passed the International Bowhunters Education Program course to participate.

Deer harvested during urban hunts do not count toward a hunter’s seasonal limit. There are no limits to the number of deer that can be harvested in urban hunts and all antler restrictions are lifted. All deer harvested must still be checked to the appropriate urban deer zone.

OVERSET FOLLOWS:Additional hunting areas are Fairfield Bay, Cherokee Village, Horseshoe Bend, Heber Springs, Helena/West Helena, Hot Springs Village, Bull Shoals, and Lakeview.


No matter what happens, at least we are done with Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Regardless of the results on Election Day, America will finally be free of the failed ‘leadership’ of Republican Paul Ryan.

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, the self-proclaimed wunderkind policy wonk, is almost done.

Ryan once had huge political aspirations. He joined Mitt Romney’s train wreck presidential ticket in 2012, ostensibly to lend some of his far-far-right credibility to the tanking campaign. That didn’t work.

In 2015, Ryan reluctantly accepted the role of House speaker, after Ohio Republican John Boehner was run out of town by the nihilist wing of the Republican Party, the uber-conservative House Freedom Caucus — and House Republicans exhausted their admittedly small list of other options.

California’s Kevin McCarthy was next in line, but his flirtation with getting the gavel was short-livedand ended in a swirl of scandalous rumors and criticism from the far-right.

Oh, plus this guy:

Donald J. Trump


Great, Kevin McCarthy drops out of SPEAKER race. We need a really smart and really tough person to take over this very important job!

Ryan’s so-called leadership has been a disaster from day one. The far-right extremists in Congress never trusted him, and Ryan learned the hard way that actually getting stuff done was not as easy as former Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the most effective speaker in the modern era — made it look.

And then Ryan had to contend with Trump. From the very beginning of Trump’s presidential campaign, when he called Mexicans rapists, Ryan has tried to pretend Trump simply does not exist. He has dodged questions about Trump’s unending stream of racist, sexist, xenophobic bile, absurdly claiming he hasn’t seen that tweet, isn’t familiar with that quote, not aware of that story.

Occasionally, Ryan would limply insist that there is no room for that kind of talk in the Republican Party — even though the Republican Party certainly made plenty of room for it by electing Trump.

Not that Ryan cared as long as he could finally accomplish his agenda, with full Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. But even that proved too difficult for the woefully inadequate and ineffective Ryan.

The one vow every single Republican has made to voters since the Affordable Care Act was passed is that if Republicans were in control they would repeal and replace it.

That still hasn’t happened.

Instead, Ryan’s singular “achievement” as House speaker is ramming through last year’s tax scam. But even that has turned into an embarrassing and catastrophic failure.

In February, Ryan and his fellow Republicans still foolishly believed they would be able to tout their tax scam as a reason to maintain power in November. But Ryan managed to bury that argument six feet under ground when he infamously boasted that a high school secretary had seen a whopping $1.50 added to her weekly paycheck after the tax scam was enacted. That, according to Ryan, was somehow proof that the trillion dollar giveaway to corporations and millionaires was working for regular Americans.

It was a far cry from the “thousands” of dollars Republicans had promised middle America would be seeing. Ryan’s boast was so widely mocked that he deleted the tweet.

The secretary, Julia Ketchum, called out Ryan for bragging about such a minimal increase while the millionaires and billionaires of America benefitted so greatly from the tax scam.

And it didn’t take long after that for Republicans to stop talking about their tax bill and revert to the most classic of Republican playbooks: bad old-fashioned racism to rile up the right-wing base.

Meanwhile, Ryan sat back and watched it happen, just as he watched Trump take over his party and infect his toxic brand of in-your-face bigotry. As Trump spent the final weeks of the 2018 campaign turning his racism — and his lies — up to 11, Ryan still did nothing.

It was not until the Sunday before Election Day that Ryan reportedly picked up the phone and suggested that the leader of his party should focus on Ryan’s beloved tax cuts instead of screeching hysterically about a non-existent “invasion” from the south.

As has been the case throughout Ryan’s short speakership, he failed.

We don’t know what will happen on Election Day. Maybe Democrats will take back the House and put the speaker’s gavel back in Pelosi’s hands, where it belongs. Or maybe the already-failed-once McCarthy will finally get the gig, and Republicans, including Trump, will pretend they didn’t scoff at the idea just three years ago.

But whatever the result, we will finally be free of Ryan, the utterly failed leader who never once showed the moral courage to stand up to the temper-tantrum-throwing Trump — and to stand forthe American people.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Hunter rescued from sewer drain

Posted: Sep. 24, 2018 12:01 am



ALLAMUCHY — A 47-year-old hunter fell approximately six feet into an open sewer drain Friday night after allegedly shooting a deer with a bow and arrow in violation of the state’s 150-foot safety zone for bowhunting in residential areas.

The man, who sustained a head injury in the accident, later was flown to Morristown Medical Center.

Authorities were alerted to the accident, which occurred in a wooded area near the intersection of Old Allamuchy Road and County Road 517, shortly after 8 p.m. Friday.

Members of the Hackettstown Police Department, Hackettstown Rescue Squad and Hackettstown Fire Department arrived on the scene minutes later, as did paramedics from Saint Clare’s Health, where they observed the man in the sewer drain.

Firefighters and rescue squad volunteers rescued the man shortly afterward and transferred him to an Atlantic Ambulance helicopter.

Through a preliminary investigation, police determined that the man fell into the sewer drain while he and another person were attempting to retrieve the deer’s carcass. Although the man has not yet been charged, police indicated that it was determined through further investigation that he was hunting in illegal proximity to a nearby apartment building.

State law requires those engaged in bowhunting on lands to be at least 150 feet from a residential dwelling, and at least 450 feet from a school playground.

Those hunting with firearms must also do so from a minimum of 450 feet away from a residential building or school playground.

The matter remains under ongoing investigation by police, who are being assisted by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Newport News residents concerned about extending the hunting season

The City of Newport News will not be extending its hunting season.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — Newport News announced they will not be extending its hunting season on Wednesday.

The city recently enacted an Urban Archery Season that would have added four extra months to the current hunting season. However, they decided to revoke it after receiving negative feedback from the community.

On Wednesday, there was a community meeting where residents for and against Urban Archery Season were in attendance.

“In my own backyard I started counting them jumping over my fence about two years ago, and I stopped counting at 17,” said Martha Miller.

Miller is talking about deer. She said it was bad enough that they were eating her flowers, but she said when they attacked Max the family dog, enough was enough.

“She put her head down and butted him and rolled him in the grass, and I went to her to get him away, and he came up here, and the deer kind of came at me a little bit,” said Miller.

Miller, who lives in Fisher’s Landing, was one of several homeowners looking forward to September 1. That’s when the state’s Urban Archery Season begins, allowing homeowners the opportunity to bring professional archers into their yards to shoot and kill deer using a crossbow.

As the Republican Roof Caves In, Paul Ryan Hits the Road

Saturday, April 14, 2018By William Rivers PittTruthout | Op-Ed

U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) leaves his weekly press conference April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. Ryan answered a range of questions related primarily to his announcement yesterday that he will not run for office again in the 2018 midterm election. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) leaves his weekly press conference April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. Ryan answered a range of questions related primarily to his announcement yesterday that he will not run for office again in the 2018 midterm election. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms …

— TS Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

It began back in 2015 with a low rumble, like something buried deep in the Earth had rolled over in its sleep: GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine, representing Oklahoma’s first district, was retiring at the end of his term. Hardly anything about the announcement was newsworthy outside of Tulsa and Wagoner; maybe one person in ten thousand could pick Jim Bridenstine out of a line-up. As it turns out, he was the leading indicator of an explosive trend. Bridenstine was the first, but will certainly not be the last.

Two years after Bridenstine’s announcement and 15 months into the presidency of Donald Trump, the floodgates have opened: The Republican House members who are either leaving the House after the 2018 midterms or have already left in disgrace include Sam Johnson, Lynn Jenkins, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, John J. Duncan Jr., Dave Reichert, Charlie Dent, Dave Trott, Jeb Hensarling, Lamar Smith, Frank LoBiondo, Ted Poe, Bob Goodlatte, Joe Barton, Bill Shuster, Gregg Harper, Ed Royce, Darrell Issa, Pat Meehan, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Trey Gowdy, Tom Rooney, Ryan Costello, Dennis Ross, Jason Chaffetz, Tim Murphy, Pat Tiberi, Trent Franks, Blake Farenthold, Kristi Noem, James Renacci, Raul Labrador, Steve Pearce, Diane Black, Evan Jenkins, Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, Lou Barletta, Marsha Blackburn, Ron DeSantis, Martha McSally and Kevin Cramer.

Leading the charge toward the exits is none other than Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who confirmed on Wednesday that he is stepping down and leaving office after 2018.

That is 43 departures, compared to the Democrats’ 19, and the roof has not finished caving in quite yet. As Republican dysfunction and Trumpian mayhem continue to command the day, more departures are certain. Democrats need to pick up 24 seats in order to wrest back control of the House. The Cook Political Report scores 86 seats as being competitive, with 66 of those currently held by Republicans.

For remaining Republicans who still have to row their way to safety in an increasingly perilous election season, Ryan’s sudden departure was a knife thrust under the fifth rib. “It’s just another illustration of the harbinger of things to come,” Terry Sullivan, former campaign strategist for Marco Rubio, told The Hill. “There’s no Republican who’s optimistic about the November elections. If the leader of Republicans in Congress doesn’t want to be there, what is the reason they should be?”

What began two Novembers ago as an all-encompassing Republican victory, a takeover of two branches with a stranglehold on the third, has devolved into a chaotic stampede to avoid the looming and seemingly insurmountable “Blue Wave” to come. “This is the Watergate pattern writ large,” writes Rick Wilson for The Daily Beast. “In 1973, Republicans were screaming that the investigation was nothing but a Fake News Witch Hunt. They lost 49 House seats and eight Senate seats in 1974, two months after Nixon resigned.”

Take a bow, soon-to-be-former-Speaker Ryan. The representatives who believed you to be the party’s economics whiz kid, who elevated you to the Speakership after Boehner bolted, who even went so far as to nominate you to be vice president in 2012, have finally come face to face with the real man behind that aw-shucks smile. The view is not pleasant. Rather than act as the leader of an equal branch of government, Paul Ryan played the part of amiable doormat to the most ridiculous president since Andrew Johnson, and the whole caucus is about to pay a gruesome price for it.

Yes, Ryan helped see the recent massive tax cut into fruition, but this was not some herculean endeavor. Getting Republicans and Democrats in Congress to agree that rich people deserve more money is about as difficult as squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Ryan’s lifetime quest to shatter the social safety net he once depended upon may not have been fully realized yet, but he helped put enough of a beating on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security that millions will feel the pain of it for many years to come.

That was always the truly insidious part of this man with the boyish face and a pocketful of debunked economic theories. If you asked him, Ryan’s seeming goodwill would pour out of his doe eyes as he explained that all he wanted was to help people. Trouble is, he never made clear which people those were until the largest transfer of wealth in modern history was completed. Then he left. Mission accomplished.

The GOP is Trump’s party now. Mitch McConnell still rules the Senate, but with an ill electoral wind blowing even in that august chamber, he has little choice but to staple himself to a wildly oscillating wrecker who is so twisted that his own lawyernow exists only as a stack of captured boxes deep inside FBI headquarters. Every GOP election campaign is going to come down to a bunch of petrified Republicans trying to out-Trump each other with the base while hoping Fearless Leader isn’t caught building a dacha on the Volga River.

If you think I exaggerate the circumstances for congressional Republicans, consider this: The current GOP front-runner for Ryan’s seat is an avowed white supremacist named Paul Nehlan. After a peaceful counter-demonstration in Charlottesville was attacked by fascists and Nazis, resulting in the murder of one protester, Nehlan tweeted, “Incredible moment for white people who’ve had it up to here & aren’t going to take it anymore.” This, along with a barrage of racist and anti-Semitic garbage, got Nehlan bounced from Twitter, but despite cries of outrage from the Wisconsin Republican Party, he’s at the top of the list to replace Ryan. Also, Donald Trump likes him. In Republican-world these days, that’s all that seems to count.

One could call this the end of an era, except that Paul Ryan has only been Speaker for about as long as it takes to boil an egg. His years in office stand as a towering example of how far one can go in Republican politics if you cling relentlessly to the trickle-down theory while gnawing at the base of Medicare like a beaver felling an oak. A part of me will always wonder if things could have been different for Ryan had Joe Biden not laughed in his face on national television way back in 2012.

The fact that Paul Ryan is fleeing the very disaster he helped manufacture is just and fitting, an appropriate demonstration of the modern Republican ethos. He made rich people richer and served as a turnstile for the most dangerous president in living memory. History will remember him as yet another hollow man whose passage was marked only by the sound of the wind moaning through his empty spaces. Paul Ryan will not be missed.


As crossbows get more popular, Alaska requires specialized training for hunters


  • Sam Friedman sfriedman@newsminer.com
  •  (0)

As used by hunters, a crossbow is somewhere between a gun and a bow. It has a learning curve more like a gun and a range more like archery equipment. Crossbows are still relatively novel weapons. More than moose hunts, they may bring to mind images of medieval re-enactors or Chewbacca from the “Star Wars” movies.

But they’ve become common enough that Alaska’s Board of Game has asked the state to develop a training class for them. Starting July 1, crossbow hunters will be required to take a class and pass a field shooting exercise to hunt big game animals anywhere in the state.

To learn more about crossbows, I asked crossbow hunter and occasional Daily News-Miner contributor Jeff Bushke to show me the basics. Bushke has been crossbow hunting for more than a decade and set up a practice range against a snow berm in his front yard.

Bushke got interested in crossbows when he was working at the Fairbanks Sportsman’s Warehouse store soon after it opened.

“That opened my eyes to a lot of things,” he said. “When you work at a sporting goods store, you’ve got to play.”

His crossbow, a TenPoint brand Pro Fusion model, is 10 years old and shoots at 300 feet per second.

“It’s not that fast by today’s standards,” he said. “But it’s killed four moose and four bears and has punched a lot of holes in targets.”

Alaska doesn’t allow crossbows in special “archery only” hunts except for hunters who have medical exemptions. Bushke has an exemption for a shoulder injury, so he can take his crossbow on archery hunts. But he sometimes takes it on general hunts where he could use a rifle. In particular, he likes taking the crossbow to his bear bait station.

“It’s a great tool for killing bears,” he said. “If you shoot a bear with it they think they’ve got stung by a bee. They don’t think they’re dead.”

Many crossbows have mechanical aids to help cock them. Bushke’s uses a detachable crank on the stock that turns easily to slowly bring the string back toward the trigger mechanism. After pulling back the string, Bushke loaded the crossbow with a bolt, the term for the short arrows used for crossbows.

Unlike a bow, you don’t have to hold the tension in a crossbow while waiting to fire. After it’s been cocked, the crossbow is ready to fire and just needs a trigger pull to release.

Bushke gave me the most important piece of advice when I got ready to fire: Be careful with hand placement on the crossbow foregrip. Grab it too high, and you’ve put your fingers into the path of the string.

“It’s a mistake you would only make once,” he told me.

Firing the crossbow otherwise feels much like shooting a rifle. I can see why it would be easier to learn to shoot accurately with a crossbow than an actual bow. My first shots all went high and to the right, but a fourth shot landed close to the middle of the target.

It’s easy to be fooled by the weapon’s accuracy at close range and assume it can kill a distant moose. Ginamaria Smith, who coordinates Alaska’s hunter education program, said this is the biggest misconception she’s run into with crossbows. That’s a problem, because people who attempt distance shots with crossbows are likely to wound animals instead of killing them. 

The North American Crossbow Association trade group warns that popular videos of long range crossbow shots have fueled misconceptions about a crossbow’s true range.

“The effective and ethical range for a crossbow is at 50 yards or less,” the group states on its website. “While it is neat to see the 100-yard trick shots, they should never be attempted during any live hunting situation.”

So far about 70 people in Alaska have signed up for crossbow education. The first field tests — on April 15 in Anchorage and on May 16 in Fairbanks — are filling up fast, Smith said.

In the field test, hunters will shoot twice at four 3-D targets at distances they’re likely to encounter in the field. They’ll need to make a kill shot on each target and a double kill on one target.

Cecil the lion ‘died in agony’ 10 hours after being shot by hunter, says zoologist

While the world didn’t learn about Cecil the lion until after his death, Andrew Loveridge knew the animal for years. The zoologist had been studying lions around Hwange National Park since 1999. (A. J. Loveridge)


Read Story Transcript

Cecil the lion died “in agony” 10 hours after he was first shot, says a zoologist who had fitted him with a tracking collar.

The animal’s death made headlines around the world in 2015, after U.S. dentist Walter Palmer shot and killed him, with the help of a local hunting guide.

“We know that Cecil then probably ran away — about 20, 30, 40 metres away — into some bush and survived for the next 10 hours with a devastating arrow wound,” says Andrew Loveridge, who has spent his career studying Cecil and the other lions in the Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

They didn’t bother to go and kill it, to put it out of its misery.– Andrew  Loveridge

Loveridge was able to piece together the lion’s final hours through data from the satellite collar, and testimony from staff at the local hunting camp.

“When we spoke to the hunting tracker, he said that he could hear the animal struggling to breathe,” Loveridge tells The Current’s guest host Liz Hoath.

“So it was obviously close by, and they didn’t bother to go and kill it, to put it out of its misery.”

Loveridge thinks Palmer wanted to claim the kill as a bowhunting trophy. But in order to do that, he says that “he would have to kill it with a bow and arrow, he can’t go and shoot it.”

“I guess they wanted to wait for the animal to die of its initial wound.”

The new claims about the manner in which he died are made in Loveridge’s book Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil and the Future of Africa’s Iconic Cats, set to be published next week.

For his part, Palmer issued a statement after the outcry over Cecil’s death, which said, in part: “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

Palmer never faced charges in the incident, and the charges against his local hunting guide, Theo Bronkhorst, were thrown out by a Zimbabwean court.

Andrew Loveridge argues that conservation efforts have to become a global responsibility, not just paid for by African governments. (Simon & Schuster Canada; Regan Arts)

A species under threat

Loveridge says he was accustomed to seeing the lions he studied be killed in trophy hunts. In fact, Cecil was the 42nd male lion in his study group to be killed by hunters.

According to figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), African lion populations declined by about 43 per cent between 1999 and 2014.

And yet, Loveridge says trophy hunting is not the only, or even the most significant threat to Africa’s lion populations.

The lions live in almost constant tension with local people, who see them a danger to their agricultural livestock, and an impediment to economic development.

Andrew Loveridge says hunting is only part of the reason that lions are endangered. They are losing their habitats, and natural prey, as farms increase in size and number. (A. J. Loveridge)

“We can’t talk about conserving lions, without understanding that African perspective of lions,” says Loveridge.

“Lions are dangerous animals, they kill people’s domestic stock, they sometimes kill people, they kill people’s kids. And people are frightened of them.”

“They have a lot of respect for them — they don’t necessarily want to live with them.”

With the human population in Africa expected to double in the century from 2000 to 2100, according to United Nations estimates, there’s pressure to make sure that the economy can grow, in order to support the people who live there.

But that means the lions’ habitat would invariably shrink.

Habitats will shrink as the human population in Africa grows, bringing lions into greater conflict with farmers. (Jane Hunt)

Global responsibility

Loveridge says much more will need to be done to ensure that wildlife and people can continue to live side-by-side, and that lion populations are preserved.

He says conservation has to become a global responsibility, not just paid for by African governments, which are the least able to devote money to it.

“Western governments could fund conservation in a heartbeat if they wanted to.” says Loveridge.

“It’s a fraction of the defense and development spending that governments spend all the time.”

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page, where you can also share this article across email, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

This segment was produced by The Current’s Alison Masemann.

Stop chasing animals to death

by Priscilla Feral

The “Draw of Bows” (Jan. 20, Conn. Post) highlighted one person’s morbid fascination with shooting arrows into deer following personal tragedies – explaining she and her spouse were at peace when they lured deer with corn, and then killed them. Afterward, they post Instagram photos of holding bloody dead deer.

Frankly, that’s horrifying.

Although a volunteer with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) claims that “if people ever lose the desire to hunt, then (they) won’t be human anymore” that spurious argument is out-of-touch with what’s happening in Connecticut and across the country.

DEEP profits from hunter licensing and federal excise taxes on weapons and ammunition, which drives their arguments, but hunting has lost its appeal in our state for two decades – mirroring a country wide trend.

Fewer than one percent of Connecticut residents hunt. Nationwide, hunting has declined 16 percent since 2011 to 11.5 million, or 5 percent of U.S. residents, while wildlife-watching has increased to 86 million, or 35 percent of U.S. residents who observe and photograph birds, deer and other wildlife as opposed to shooting them to death.

Without new generations becoming licensed hunters, state agencies will be forced to talk about more than the interests of a shrinking minority who chase deer with bows and rifles.

Since it’s no longer acceptable to call hunting recreation, hunters invent social benefits to excuse the bloodletting. We hear about the need to defend wildflowers from over-browsing. We hear about heading off collisions between automobiles and deer. We’re told hunters feed the hungry. We hear that hunters protect our communities from Lyme disease.

There are substantive common sense arguments to show that limits to food and sheltering foliage causes animal populations to limit themselves. In truth, nature is being managed to death and it’s time for communities to call for ceasefires.

Let’s stop DEEP from catering to less than one percent of those who just like making wildlife dead.

Priscilla Feral


The writer is president of Friends of Animals.

Dog killed by bow hunter inspires new bill to restrict hunting


TRENTON –A New Jersey lawmaker is set to propose a new bill Wednesday aimed at restricting hunting near residential property.

It’s called Tonka’s Law and is named for a dog killed by a bow hunter in September in Readington Township. The bow hunter was about 50 feet from the property line of the dog’s owners.

Officials said the hunter, Romeo Antonuccio, of Kenilworth, was charged with careless discharge and damage of property after he told police that while trying to shoot deer from a tree stand, he thought the dog was a coyote.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak plans to announce the new bill Wednesday night on Facebook Live.

Appeals Court Hears Case Accusing Officials of Animal Cruelty for Bow-Hunting Program



Several weeks into the Montgomery Parks bow-hunting season, appellate judges in Annapolis on Thursday heard attorneys argue about whether this method of culling deer is animal cruelty.

Bethesda resident Eilene Cohhn has spent about two years challenging a deer-management policy that she believes is inhumane and unnecessary. Her representative, a staff attorney with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, argues that it’s also unlawful.

“The (Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission) has the right to kill deer. They don’t have the right to make them suffer before they die, if that is avoidable,” attorney Jenni James said, adding that using sharpshooters is preferable.

But an attorney for the park system contended that prohibitions against mistreating animals deal primarily with harming pets, not killing deer.

“I would submit that the animal cruelty code really has no application to hunting at all,” MNCPPC attorney William Dickerson said.

James rebutted that she doesn’t believe the archery program counts as “hunting,” in the legal sense. While most people think of hunting as a sporting activity done for fun or for food, MNCPPC established the archery program to help control the deer population, she said. Therefore, it shouldn’t qualify for the hunting exemption to the state’s animal cruelty law, James argued.

The three judges who listened to the roughly hour-long debate pressed James to explain what distinguishes Montgomery County’s bow hunting from similar lawful activities across the state.

“Why can’t they, on their land, authorize the same thing that could be done on Fort Frederick State Park?” Judge Donald Beachley asked, referring to a park west of Hagerstown.

James said the park system’s purpose—to thin the deer herds—and ability to choose other options set this situation apart.

Beachley also referenced a state bear hunting program and asked whether that, too, violates the animal cruelty laws because its objective is population management.

The PETA attorney responded that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has greater authority to run hunting programs than MNCPPC.

The judges spent less time questioning Dickerson, although they did ask him whether the MNCPPC hunt follows DNR guidelines. Dickerson said it did.

They also pushed back on Dickerson’s suggestion that the animal protection laws don’t have any bearing on hunting activities; Judge Andrea Leahy noted that the statute requires hunters to use the “most humane method reasonably available.”

Montgomery Parks in 2015 added archery to its deer management program, which also includes shotgun hunting and Park Police sharpshooting. Through the program, groups of insured archery hunters take aim at deer in parts of Great Seneca Stream Valley Park in Germantown and Watts Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac from September through January, according to its website.

For about 20 years, MNCPPC has been hunting deer as a strategy for controlling an overpopulation problem that can damage wild habitats and increase the likelihood of car crashes.

It decided to explore bow hunting in parks near communities or other areas where shooting a firearm might be unsafe.

Cohhn said her home backs up to Stratton Local Park in Bethesda, and she often has deer meandering through her yard.

“I’ve gone out at night, and they’re on my porch. They’re the babies,” she said. “They’re beautiful animals.”

Cohhn said she wishes people could coexist with deer, but if officials find it necessary to curb the population, sharpshooting is a more humane approach than archery.

The likelihood of maiming a deer instead of killing it rises with archery, compared to shooting, James said. Deer shot with an arrow tend to die more slowly, she added.

Parks officials report that in its first two seasons, the archery pilot program wounding rate was 7 percent and 3 percent, an indication of how many deer were shot but not immediately killed.

Cohhn filed her lawsuit about two years ago in Montgomery County Circuit Court. After a judge last year ruled against Cohhn and PETA, she appealed her case to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals for consideration.

James said she doesn’t know when to expect the appeals court judges to issue a decision in the case.