Response to Hunting Article in AARP Magazine

dsc_0171
As members of AARP, we are shocked to see that your magazine editor felt it was necessary to feature an article on hunting entitled “Where the Heart Is,” in the April/May issue, Volume 59, Number 3B.
Surely you are  aware that the majority of people do Not Hunt, and that shooting with a camera is one of the most popular ways to visit wildlife, not killing them? The the idea (stated in this article) that “as you hunt, you bond with animals” is nonsense. True “bonding” with an animal is simply respecting them, observing them, and letting them live.
The hunting/NRA lobby certainly has enough media venues already, without AARP enabling them to encourage shooting and maiming animals. Why promote such an activity, which clearly is tied to the overall gun violence in our society?
Perhaps you should have an counter-article featuring the blood trail left by the thousands of wounded wild animals who crawl off to die after being shot, or trapped.
Rosemary Lowe, M.A., RN
Marc Bedner

“The Shit Has Hit the Fan” in the form of HR2406

by Stephen Capra

For more than thirty years, I have worked in Conservation. In fights as ranging as efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to our more recent battles to create two new National Monuments in New Mexico, sportsmen were on the front lines in defense of wilderness and wildlife. So what has happened and why are they now so determined to pass legislation that will kill so much wildlife and wilderness?

The answer is not entirely clear, but there seems to be some ominous clues: it began with the brutal years of the Bush Presidency, a time when conservation legislation was automatically dead on arrival. It was a time when pressure to drill in wild places was heavy in the air, and common sense was a memory. During this difficult time, Foundations that supported conservation decided that Sportsmen were the key to protection and the money flowed to their organizations. The results produced during this time were small; Bush was not much of a hunter, and their voice did little to protect wild places, but they garnered respect and lots of media attention.

The result has been that funding to sportsmen has continued, at the expense of many small conservation-focused organizations. At the same time, the NRA has mushroomed into a super-power in Washington, using the second amendment to threaten and cajole elected officials into permitting weapons in grocery stores and churches.

Shortly after his election to congress, then-congressman Martin Heinrich set about to solve a problem that bothered him and other hunters, locked gates on roads that led to wilderness and other public lands; thus began the road to what we now know as SB-2406.

So how did opening gates for sportsmen lead to a bill so destructive? The answer has a lot to do with Washington, and even more about the zealous nature of sportsmen and their desire to rule our public lands.

Since the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act, (legislation that taxed the sales of guns and ammo and earmarked its revenue for state’s wildlife management programs,) sportsmen have found ways to use their power to influence policy. During the sixties, the rise of environmental awareness pushed sportsmen out of the mainstream, allowing the growth of mainstream conservation groups that focused on wildlife- without killing, which supported wilderness, clean air and water. Sportsmen were relegated more to state issues and maintained complete control over Game and Fish Departments. The NRA at this point was not on the radar.

With the Reagan and Bush years the NRA was allowed in the front door and became an important component of the Republican Party as they began a strategy of reclaiming the South and the West. The second amendment was the bullet they used to counter common sense.

With more concern about wildlife and Endangered Species programs becoming effective, Republicans and some rural blue dog Democrats began complaining about restrictions on private property. In many tight races in the West and with the rise of the Sage Brush Rebellion, such programs became a target for those who wanted access to kill all wildlife and hated government intervention.

With the election of our first African-American President, all of this came to maturation. By now sportsmen had regained momentum; the NRA would find their zenith of power attacking the President and those rural counties in the south and west, would be the soldiers of a new sagebrush blow-back. The President for his part seemed to use wildlife as a currency that he would yield on for critical votes, or reelection support for failing blue dogs and the US Fish and Wildlife Service of his administration has made clear that their efforts have been focused on removing species from endangered status.

This brings us to today. Legislation designed to open a few remote roads for access, has evolved into a plan that will permit aerial killing of bears, wolves and coyotes. The import of ivory is now acceptable, despite worldwide efforts to stop the killing of elephants; the National Wildlife Refuge System would now be redesigned to make killing of species, not protection, a priority. Gun ranges will become the mandate of National Forests and Monuments and all public land, with funds that should go to wildlife management reallocated to build them. The Wilderness Act would be undermined to allow construction of building, roads, and access by ATV’s. Bears their cubs and wolves could be killed in their dens and polar bears killed in Canada could be brought into America for the trophy-needy slobs that killed them.

This is not legislation; it’s madness.

It reflects the manner in which common sense and sound science are being destroyed in a power grab by sportsmen who frankly should be ashamed of supporting legislation that reflects not sportsmanship, but 19th century ignorance. The NRA wants to take complete control of our public lands as they have our places of worship, bars, schools and grocery stores. They want our world to be fear based and now the place we go to for solace and to restore our spirit, could become a place filled with the sounds of guns.

This legislation changed the day Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became a co-sponsor of SB-405 the original bill, of H.R. 2406’s latest House derivative. Her record on the environment is a disgrace, her motives are to kill, conquer and destroy all that is wild.

If passed, this legislation will also set up a “Sportsman’s Committee,” which will directly advise the Interior Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture, who manages our National Forests. They will be there representing the NRA, Gun manufacturer’s, outfitters and ammo dealers, ranchers and the usual groups designed to undermine our public land, with power to dictate policy and kill precious species, such as wolves and grizzly bears.

Sportsmen are feeling their power and showing no restraint: From the slaughter that is occurring with bison in Yellowstone, to plans to start killing grizzlies around the borders of the park, to now this legislation, common sense is not being reflected in their push for power.

This legislation has been a generation or more in the making; it started with a simply concept that has exploded into a very dangerous piece of legislation that we cannot allow to pass.

Sportsmen must also begin to question their motivations? When you blur the lines between sport and destroying a sacred trust, you lose your credibility. Sportsmen should ask for this legislation to be tabled. They should join the fight to defeat legislation that went from simple access, to transforming our most sacred trust.

Bold Visions Conservation stands with wildlife, against turning our wildlands into gun ranges, and we’ll fight every day until this legislation is killed. We understand how it happened; if this legislation does not die, and then it will be the weapon that destroys the animals and lands we all so dearly love. Such bloodletting has no place in modern America.

Such deception should not be tolerated.

Visit our new page dedicated to defeating H.R. 2406, the most dangerous anti-nature, anti-wildlife, anti-people legislation in modern history!

On this page you can read H.R.2406 and Sign a Petition to Fight H.R.2406, Watch videos on the implications of H.R. 2406 and Read and/or Contribute to our informational Blog.

Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.© AP Photo/Jim Mone, File FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/justice-scalia-spent-his-last-hours-with-members-of-this-secretive-society-of-elite-hunters/ar-BBpXBgx?ocid=spartandhp

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.

After Scalia’s death Feb. 13, the names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort, along with details about Scalia’s connection to the hunters, have remained largely unknown. A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.

Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.

Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. It is unclear what, if any, official association Scalia had with the group.

“There is nothing I can add to your observation that among my many guests at Cibolo Creek Ranch over the years some members of the International Order of St. Hubertus have been numbered,” Poindexter said in an email. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”

An attorney for the Scalia family did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Two other private planes that landed at the ranch for the weekend are linked to two men who have held leadership positions with the Texas chapter of the Order, according to a review of state business filings and flight records from the airport.

After Scalia’s death, Poindexter told reporters that he met Scalia at a “sports group” gathering in Washington. The U.S. chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus lists a suite on M Street NW in the District as its headquarters, although the address is only a mailbox in a United Parcel Service store.

The International Order of St. Hubertus, according to its website, is a “true knightly order in the historical tradition.” In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic.

The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria,” according to the Order’s website. The next gathering for “Ordensbrothers” and guests is an “investiture” March 10 in Charleston, S.C.

The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove — one of the most well-known secret societies in the country.

In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, according to a Houston society publication. A number of members from Mexico were also part of the ranch festivities that included “three days of organized shoots and ‘gala’ lunches and dinners.”

Poindexter told CultureMap Houston that some of the guests dressed in “traditional European shooting attire for the boxed bird shoot competition” and for the shooting of pheasants and chukar, a type of partridge.

For the hunting weekend earlier this month, Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia traveled to Houston with his friend and U.S. marshals, who provide security for Supreme Court justices. The Post obtained a Presidio County Sheriff’s Office report that named Foster as Scalia’s close friend on the trip.

Sheriff Danny Dominguez confirmed that a photograph of Washington lawyer C. Allen Foster is the same man he interviewed at the ranch the day of Scalia’s death.

From Houston, Scalia and Foster chartered a plane without the marshals to the Cibolo Creek Ranch airstrip. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.

The friend, Louisiana-born Foster, is a lawyer with the Washington firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston. He is also known for his passion for hunting and is a former spokesman for the hunting group Safari Club.

In 2006, Foster was featured in The Post when he celebrated his 65th birthday with a six-day celebration in the Czech Republic. He flew his family and 40 Washington friends there to stay in Moravia’s Zidlochovice, a baroque castle and hunting park. The birthday bash included “tours of the Czech countryside, wine tasting, wild boar and mouflon (wild sheep) hunts, classic dance instruction and a masked costume ball.”

A secretary at Foster’s law firm said he is traveling in Argentina. The firm’s director of marketing, Mindee L. Mosher, said Foster was traveling and she would try to contact him. A woman answering a phone associated with Foster hung up when asked for comment.

Planes owned by Wallace “Happy” Rogers III and the company of A.J. Lewis III left from San Antonio and arrived at the ranch just after noon Feb. 12. The planes departed the ranch about 30 minutes apart Feb. 14, according to flight records provided to The Post by FlightAware.

Rogers owns the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum in San Antonio. He has donated $65,000 to Republican candidates since 2008. Lewis is the owner of a restaurant supplier company, also based in San Antonio. He has given $3,500 to GOP candidates since 2007.

Rogers and Lewis have both served as prior officers in the Texas chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus, according to Texas business records. Rogers spoke to a Post reporter briefly on the phone and confirmed that he was at the ranch the weekend of Scalia’s death, He declined to comment further.

Lewis did not respond to several attempts for comment.

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report to The Post on Tuesday that revealed Foster’s name as Scalia’s traveling companion and provided details about the discovery of his body.

Poindexter and Foster told the sheriff that Scalia had traveled to Texas the day before to go hunting. Poindexter told the sheriff that they “had supper and talked for a while” that evening.

Scalia “said that he was tired and was going to his room for the night,” the sheriff wrote in his report.

When Scalia didn’t show up for breakfast that morning, Poindexter knocked on his door and eventually went in and found the Justice dead in his bed, Poindexter said.

Law enforcement officials told The Post that they had no knowledge of the International Order of St. Hubertus or its connection to Poindexter and ranch guests. The officials said the FBI had declined to investigate Scalia’s death when they were told by the marshals that he died from natural causes.

Alice Crites in Washington and Eva Ruth Moravec in San Antonio contributed to this report.

More than 20,000 trophy hunters descend on Las Vegas to join ‘pay to slay’ auctions

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/more-than-20000-trophy-hunters-descend-on-las-vegas-to-join-pay-to-slay-auctions-a6847361.html

by Tom Bawden Environment Editor
The hunts, which will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, have outraged activists…

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to take part in a series of “pay to slay” auctions that have outraged animal rights activists.

The hunting jamboree, at which delegates will bid for the right to take part in 301 hunts that will eventually kill about 600 animals in 32 countries, is organised by Safari Club International (SCI), whose members include the notorious killer of Cecil the lion.

The four-day extravaganza at the Mandalay Bay hotel and convention centre on the Las Vegas Strip includes live music from country veteran Merle Haggard and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

The auction features an array of items including a white gold leopard broach – starting price $39,000 (£27,500) – and bullet gift certificates.

But the centrepiece of the event is unquestionably the auction of packages to hunt – and in some cases stuff – big game. Lots range from Iberian red deer and Pyrenean chamois to Australian water buffalo and African elephants.

The description of the 10-day Alaska Brown Bear and Black Bear hunt, which has a starting price of $75,150, reads: “This all-inclusive hunt is an outstanding option for hunters who want an all-in-one luxury hunting experience…in amazing areas boasting the highest density of bears in the world.”

5-walter-palmer2.jpg

US dentist Walter Palmer, who shot Cecil the lion, with another of his trophies

It adds: “Method of take is hunters’ choice.”

The Ultimate Hunters’ Market has been condemned by animal rights activists, amid a renewed focus on the ethics of big game hunting after SCI member and US dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil in Zimbabwe last year.

Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International said: “The auction site reads like a grotesque killing-for-kicks catalogue, in which the lives of the precious wildlife are sold to the highest bidder so that they can be slaughtered for fun.

“It is a tragic indictment on our society that, despite the global outrage over Cecil the Lion’s pointless killing, this scale of trophy hunting is still going on,” said Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International.

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves added: “It beggars belief that there are still people who are excited by the prospect of slaughtering an animal for target practice and turning it into a trophy.”

The Safari Club International (SCI) is expected to raise more than $2.5 million from auctioning the mammal hunts alone, which have been provided from various hunt organisers.

The club runs the convention annually and it provides the majority of its income – most of which is used to lobby Washington.

If Golden Globes Host Ricky Gervais Gives Out Prestigious Awards to His Favorite Animal Abusers

1. Worst Performance as a “Conservationist”

6 Awards Ricky Gervais Will be Giving Out
2. Worst Supporting Actress to the Above Jerk

Ricky2

3. Lifetime of Cruelty in Entertainment Achievement Award

6 Awards Ricky Gervais Will be Giving Out

4. Worst Original Idea to Abuse Animals for Sport

6 Awards Ricky Gervais Will be Giving Out

5. Best Onscreen Performance of Why Tigers Belong in the Wild

6 Awards Ricky Gervais Will be Giving Out

6. Most Rabbit Tears in Makeup and Hairstyling

6 Awards Ricky Gervais Will be Giving Out

 

 

They’re getting out of control!

From John A. Livingston’s The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation:

“I happen to loath and abominate blood ‘sports.’ I think that killing any sensate being for recreation—for fun—is evil and contemptible. I have said so, for public consumption, many times.

“The most frequent theme in the resulting letters I receive is that I have absolutely no rational argument to present, and that as the result I (sneakily) resort to purelyDSC_0192 emotional appeals. Some of the mail, by the way, has to be opened with my asbestos gloves.

“An acquaintance of mine in the arctic town of Inuvik once said to me, ‘John, we’ve got to do something about all these ravens here in town!’ ‘Why so?’ I asked. ‘For heaven’s sake, man, look around you—there are so many of them they’re getting out of control!’

“Loss of control is the abdication of power. It is tantamount to chaos. The universe is orderly, therefore chaos is unnatural. …

“So, it is seen that the ravens of Inuvik (prospering on our garbage) are thumbing their amiable beaks at universal order and thus at us. …

“Death is the final sting, the ultimate victory of uncontrollable, unmanageable, immoral, chaotic nature—from which experience we are snatched at the final exhalation by the gorgeous rationalization. Spirit over flesh, man over nature.”

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Bear shot dead by NINE-YEAR-OLD boy at a children’s birthday party

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, All Rights Reserved

Looking through the scope of a high powered hunting rifle, an excited boy of nine celebrates his birthday by shooting dead a majestic brown bear.

Reed Sutley shouted “yeah” after firing the fatal shot.

The delighted lad and four pals then giggled at the grisly birthday party as they chatted about the killing.

Reed boasted: “We saw eight bears – one down and seven more to go.”

The boys were taken on the trip by Reed’s dad, Greg, who filmed the killing and posted the footage online.

The video – which has emerged as part of a Mirror investigation – shows Reed and his school friends perched in a lair high above the ground.

Whispering and waiting on the wooden platform in a tree, they watched the bears that were lured to the area with bait provided by Mr Sutley.

An adult then took the gun from a collection of weapons and passed it to Reed.

The boy can hardly contain his glee as he prepared to kill.

Reed took aim as two bears gorged on the food.

His dad gave encouragement and told the lad to shoot the animal that was lying on the floor while it ate.

A single bullet is fired and the animal collapses as Reed celebrates the slaying and the other bear runs away.

After filming the birthday party in Alberta, Canada, hunter Mr Sutley posted the harrowing three-minute video – called “9 Year Old Shoots First Bear at Birthday Party” – on YouTube.

The proud dad bragged on his YouTube page: “Reed took his first bear with a perfect shot!”

His footage has attracted outrage, with one YouTube user saying: “Words cannot describe how disgusting this is.

“Greg mate, you should be ashamed of yourself bringing kids out on a road trip for the soul purpose of killing an innocent animal… Why the f*** are these kids laughing… after they killed it?”

Canadian Mr Sutley runs a hunting company in Alberta which charges up to £5,500 for those wanting to follow in the footsteps of Walter Palmer, the US dentist who killed Cecil the lion and has shot dead black bears with a bow and arrow.

The Mirror’s probe into Canada’s cruel hunters found the use of the term “hunter” in parts of North America is not a true reflection of these sickening expeditions.

Images of people tracking animals for days were shown to be myths.

In fact, companies like Mr Sutley’s lure their quarry to their death using barrels filled with beaver tails, doughnuts and maple syrup.

Hunters sit comfortably in hides or trees waiting to kill their prey. The animals are shot dead from yards away.

As part of our investigation we watched as eager trophy hunters descended on Alberta to kill baited bears.

US beauty queen Brittany York, who describes herself on her social media pages as an “animal lover”, is among those who have recently been to the region to hunt.

Last month the 25-year-old along with her dad Richard, 49, travelled more than 2,000 miles via Dallas to Edmonton.

It was her second hunting trip this year to Alberta after killing a bear three months earlier.

Often boasting about her skills she regularly posts graphic pictures and videos of her hunts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

After practising with her bow, Miss York and her party drove in convoy, taking two 4×4 trucks and towing two off-road vehicles to Halliards Bay where her guide and his team bait the area.

For four days the group sat as bears weighing up to 30st and standing 7ft tall ate in front of them, waiting until they found what they thought would make an acceptable kill.

Last Thursday Ms York, who was crowned Miss North Carolina in 2011, published a photo of her dad on Instagram, holding the paw of one of their kills. “Great job, Daddy!” she wrote.

The beauty queen justifies her hobby by claiming she only hunts to eat. But she has been slammed.

One critic said on Facebook: “You call yourself an animal lover when your own cover picture is you smiling disgustingly with a dead animal? You’re despicable.”

Despite repeated attempts to contact Mr Sutley and Miss York, both were unavailable for comment.

The hunts are licensed and there is no suggestion that anything illegal has been done.

Mr Sutley runs his Smoky River Outfitting business from his home in Debolt, Alberta.

The video of his son was published online last year but it has only just been unearthed.

Our probe has also found that hunters can kill bears for as little as £67.

More: http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/bear-shot-dead-by-nine-year-old-boy-at-a-childrens-birthday-party/ar-AAeasJk?li=AA9SkIr&ocid=mailsignout

 

Woman Sprints In To Save Fox As Hunters Scream At Her

https://www.thedodo.com/woman-rushes-save-fox-1330092433.html?utm_source=The+Dodo+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fa102935b6-09_06_2015_NL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4342b46fc5-fa102935b6-125298189

There’s simply nothing classy about fox hunting, a bloody tradition that uses dogs to tear foxes limb from limb.

While a ban on the cruel sport has been in place for a decade, it’s hard to enforce, and no one knows how many foxes are still killed each year.

But some animal activists in the U.K. are taking the law into their own hands, using whatever means they can to intervene on behalf of the defenseless animals hunted down despite the law protecting them.

Moving footage from 2012 shows the determination of a woman who couldn’t stand the cruelty.

Facebook/Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary

The hunters sit astride horses in the fox hunting tradition, while their trained dogs do their dirty work.

Facebook/Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary

The hounds are zeroing in on a tiny fox when a woman sprints towards them. She starts screaming at the dogs to get them to stand back.

Facebook/Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary

She throws her own body on the fox and brings the shaking animal into her arms.

As she runs away with the fox, the hunters shout at her from their horses: “Leave it!”

Facebook/Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary

Watch her beautiful act of bravery here:

Add your name to a petition that says the fox hunting ban needs to be more strictly enforced.

Mia Farrow faces Twitter backlash over lion killer’s address

http://www.komonews.com/news/entertainment/Mia-Farrow-faces-Twitter-backlash-over-lion-killers-address-319613911.html

NEW YORK (AP) – Mia Farrow took some Twitter heat Wednesday for joining other angry social media posters and blasting out the business address of the dentist who killed the beloved lion Cecil in Zimbabwe.

Some apparently thought the actress had listed Walter Palmer’s home address in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, calling for her verified Twitter account to be suspended under the site’s terms of service.

A Twitter spokesman said the company does not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. He directed The Associated Press to official Twitter rules and policies that allow wiggle room on disciplinary action when information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter.

The Farrow account deleted the original missive amid the outrage questioning whether the intent was to ensure Palmer is physically tracked down by haters. But the deletion did little to calm Twitter nerves.

One tweeter clucked back at Farrow, “Maybe Donald Trump should give out your phone number,” referring to Trump doing just that for a GOP rival, Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Another tweeted: “I hate what he did, but giving out his address isn’t the way to go.”

Farrow’s manager did not immediately return an email Wednesday seeking comment.

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