“I think it’s cruel that they would take sport in stuff like that. Very cruel. It’s just sophomoric, juvenile.”
That quote could just as easily have been a humane person’s reaction to witnessing any legal goose, pheasant, elk or wolf hunt, but in this case it was in reference to a speeding driver running over 92 protected shorebirds on the Washington coast (on the same stretch of beach mentioned in this earlier post, Compassion for All, Not Just the Endangered).
Shorebirds, like the dunlins who were senselessly killed, huddle close together on the beaches this time of year, which makes the act of running over nearly eight dozen of them at one time no great challenge for anyone willing to stoop to such an act.
The driver was most likely just out for a bit of fun when they spotted the flock of migratory birds dead ahead. After plowing through the birds—who have an uncanny knack of flying off at the last minute to avoid any vehicle following the posted speed limit of 25mph, but who must not have been ready for someone going twice that speed—chances are the driver said to his passengers something like, “that was pretty neat.”
That same line was uttered by a Dubois taxidermist and outfitter, Joe Hargrave, who, on Oct. 5, just four days after their season opened, became one of Wyoming’s first hunters to legally kill a wolf since 1974.
“It was pretty neat to be able to hunt them because they’re a magnificent animal,” Hargrave said. “I like to see them in the wild just like elk, moose and everything else. It is nice to be able to have the opportunity to hunt them.” (The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming on Sept. 30, kicking off the first hunting season since wolves were placed on the list in 1974. Conservation groups have filed three lawsuits seeking to re-list the wolves; they are expected to be decided sometime in 2013.)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Wildlife Rehab Center of North Coast are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the illegal killing of the protected shorebirds. Meanwhile, thousands of unprotected migratory geese, deer, elk, cougars, coyotes and wolves are shot each year by people with the same motive as those thrill seeking, sophomoric, sociopathic beach drivers—they’re just out for a bit of fun.
Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson