Back to Normal

It’s nice to see by this morning’s news that everything is back to ‘normal,’ at least in terms of humans being shot at in Paris. You wouldn’t know the ‘act of war’ was over around here. I’m hearing just as many semi-automatic shotgun blasts out there as I did yesterday.

Maybe more, in fact. Being a Saturday during goose and duck hunting season, it sounds like every waterfowl hunter in the neighborhood has declared war on our aquatic avian friends.

Someone must have set up a duck blind nearby. Yesterday they were out blasting at birds all day, right through the torrential rainstorm that should have been a duck’s delight.

Yes, everything’s back to normal today, but If this killing of animals by the hundreds is ‘normal,’ why are we so shocked when humans go after each other?

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

What Fresh Hell Is This?

What do you call a war waged on unarmed opponents?  Considering the rate and frequency of shooting I’m hearing out there now, there’s a massacre going on. If the victims being slain were human, it would be called mass murder. A pre-dawn ambush. All-out insanity. Evil incarnate.

But to the hunters on opening day annihilating ducks and geese, it’s tradition; harvesting nature; business as usual.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Someone must have signaled “charge” to an entire platoon waiting to attack at dawn, and a mindless barrage of semi-automatic shotgun fire shattered the morning air. Now it’s 7:30 a.m. and only the random explosions break the stillness. The blitzkrieg has been going on steadily for over forty-five minutes—since before first light (sunrise today is officially at 7:35, according to the NOAA weather radio).

I wasn’t sure if the “enemy,” no, “opponent,” no, victims were the elk herd who occasionally visit the neighbor’s hayfield, the stray black-tail deer who keep themselves mostly out of sight around here for fear of poachers, or the ducks and geese who are starting to gather on their customary wintering grounds. Judging by the constant rapid gun fire, the victims must be the “waterfowl” whose “season” started today.

What fresh hell is this? Armageddon for avian kind? Or just another opening day for sport hunters?

Teenage boy killed in Matata hunting accident

Newstalk ZB Staff , Emergency

Updated 2.51pm: A 16-year-old boy is dead after a hunting incident near Whakatane this morning.

Bay of Plenty Police District Command Centre’s Sergeant Dennis Murphy says police were alerted to the incident around 8 eight o’clock.

A 16 year old male was duck hunting, and while hunting a firearm was discharged. As a result of that he is now unfortunately deceased.”   [Imagine, a firearm discharging while hunting…]imagesQB1DEJIT

Whakatane CIB are investigating the death at Matata but are treating it as a hunting incident.

The boy was one of three teenagers duck shooting at Greig Road today.

He died at the scene.

Genesis 9:2, Part 2

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Continued from, “and the Fear of Thee and the Dread of Thee Shall Be upon Every Living Thing…”

On a hopeful note, wild animals can unlearn their conditioned response of fearing the worst when they see humans. The other day we surprised a familiar flock of geese, who instinctively took flight. “It’s okay; It’s just us,” we told them. As one, they must have all thought, “Oh yeah, we know them. They’re not Elmers or Elmerettes out to get us. It’s just that friendly couple that walks their dog every day.  And anyway, it’s not hunting season.” They instantly hit the brakes and gently landed back down while we gave them a wide berth and continued to tell them how glad we were to see them again.

That’s the way it should be, humans and non-humans getting along and sharing the planet.

Although I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, perhaps if we all treat the Earth and its non-human inhabitants with a little kindness and respect—stop shooting and gassing geese, and for that matter, stop treating all other animal life like they’re expendable playthings; stop calling yourselves sportsmen when all you really want to do is kill; stop pretending that primates are supposed to be predators; stop assuming everything has been put here for your benefit; stop heating up the climate by burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow;  and not to shock anyone, but why not slow down to 55 or less for the sake of migratory wildlife, if not the climate; and last but definitely not least, the unmentionable, stop having babies—we may all survive for another century or two.

In short, stop thinking only of your own species’ immediate gratification and treat the natural world with a little love and humility. Oh, and an apology to the Earth for past abuses might be in order, as well.

“and the Fear of Thee and the Dread of Thee Shall Be upon Every Living Thing…”

— Genesis 9:2

Yesterday we came across a river otter who crossed the road about 30 yards in front of us and disappeared into our pond. No cars were around so he needn’t have been in a hurry, but still he was very business-like, loping purposefully from one waterway to the next. He didn’t stop and give us any extra time to appreciate his company, and clearly—though we meant him no harm and regarded him with respect—he didn’t seem to appreciate ours.

Similarly, on today’s walk along a road through the neighboring wetlands, a large flock of ducks took flight, putting as much distance between us and them as possible, as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, several pairs of Canada geese kept a wary eye on us as they

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

honked their warning calls and ambled reluctantly behind the cover of some cattails and tall grass. We spoke reassuringly to them, explaining that we didn’t intend to hurt them, but our mere presence was disruptive. Unfortunately wildlife tends to judge all people based on human nature in general.

Although fewer folks nowadays are out to kill everything they see, destructive behavior has been a hallmark of human nature since the genus Homo first set foot on the face of the Earth. Other traits representative of the species seem to be an over-bearing sense of entitlement (as in “it’s all here for us”) and a narcissistic arrogance that empowers them to see themselves as supreme among all other beings, whom they objectify as resources put here for them by some anthropomorphic deity for their benefit to exploit as they see fit.

It’s always disappointing that the wild animals assume the worst because imagesQB1DEJITof your association, no matter how distant, with the average gun-toting Elmer, when all you want to do is be friends.

Ask Ducks Unlimited to Cancel Cruel Live Pigeon Shoot

March 3, 2015
Ask Ducks Unlimited to Cancel Cruel Live Pigeon Shoot

Last year, SHARK exposed a horrifically cruel live pigeon shoot that was to be held as a fundraiser for the Prior Lakes, Minnesota chapter of Ducks Unlimited. We made THIS ( video calling out Ducks Unlimited. To its credit, Ducks Unlimited quickly shut the shoot down and replaced it with a clay target shoot.

Ducks Unlimited Senior Communications Specialist Matt Coffey explained the shutdown this way:

“We have policies in place holding our staff and local volunteers to high ethical and moral standards, and do not condone wanton waste of wildlife or other animals. To avoid the potential for wanton waste, the event committee has decided to change the live pigeon event to a sporting clays shoot.”

Sadly, the Prior Lakes chapter of Ducks Unlimited is planning another pigeon shoot for March 19th. SHARK is again asking Ducks Unlimited’s national leaders to shut this down before 2,000 innocent birds are shot, wounded, crippled and viciously killed.

Here is the flyer for the shoot. Note how event organizers are calling it a “driven hunt.” They claim they are “harvesting” the pigeons and that they will be given to people to eat. US Senator James Inhofe tried to spin his cruel pigeon shoot the same way last year, but we exposed that as a lie in THIS ( video.

Let’s hope that the national leaders of Ducks Unlimited have more integrity than those in the Prior Lakes chapter.

Please call and write to Ducks Unlimited and politely ask that they follow their own standards and stop this horror before it happens. Let them know that if this slaughter takes place, then Ducks Unlimited reputation will be forever stained. Please let us know of any response you receive.

Dale Hall
(901) 758-3825

Matt Coffey
Senior Communications Specialist
(901) 758-3764

Dog guards hunter’s body in wildlife refuge duck blind

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) – A dog protecting its owner wouldn’t let a manager at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge approach the duck blind where the hunter had fatally collapsed.

The Clark County sheriff’s office says Ridgefield police removed the aggressive dog using a catch pole Tuesday evening and medics confirmed the 54-year-old man was dead, presumably of natural causes.

The Columbian reports the man went hunting at 5 a.m. but didn’t check out at dusk, so the manager went to check on him. A duck he had shot was inside the blind with him.

The dog was held for a family member to retrieve.


Animal Lovers: Don’t Hesitate to Feel Your Hate

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Living in Earth’s out-of-the-way places, surrounded by prime wildlife habitat (as I’ve always chosen to do), an advocate must eventually make a choice—either stand with your wildlife friends, or join in the “fun” (made increasingly more popular by repulsive “reality” shows like Duck Dynasty and so many evil others) and go around shooting everything you see.

I made my choice long ago and decided the only way to live in such a wildlife-war-torn area is to have as little to do with the people as possible. To quote Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson, referring to his native land, coastal New Brunswick, Canada (where clubbing baby seals is the local pastime), “Love the country, hate the people.”

Author Farley Mowat, another selfless Canadian animal advocate in league with Captain Watson, ultimately came around to that same sentiment in A Whale for the Killing. The 1972 book is an autobiographical account of Mowat’s moving to Newfoundland because of his love for the land and the sea, only to find himself at odds with herring fishermen who made sport of shooting at an 80-ton fin whale trapped in a lagoon by the tide. Although he had started off thinking folks around there were a quaint and pleasant lot, he grew increasingly bitter over the attitudes of so many of the locals who, in turn, resented him for “interfering” by trying to save the stranded leviathan.

Mowat wrote, “My journal notes reflect my sense of bewilderment and loss. ‘…they’re essentially good people. I know that, but what sickens me is their simple failure to resist the impulse of savagery…they seem to be just as capable of being utterly loathsome as the bastards from the cities with their high-powered rifles and telescopic sights and their mindless compulsion to slaughter everything alive, from squirrels to elephants…I admired them so much because I saw them as a natural people, living in at least some degree of harmony with the natural world. Now they seem nauseatingly anxious to renounce all that and throw themselves into the stinking quagmire of our society which has perverted everything natural within itself, and is now busy destroying everything natural outside itself. How can they be so bloody stupid? How could I have been so bloody stupid?’”

Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”

Having recently finished reading, Give a Boy a Gun, by Jack Olsen (author of the pro-coyote/anti-trapping book, Slaughter the Animals, Poison the Earth—an appropriate addition to his numerous other true-crime works), I’m still puzzled by that book’s similar underlying question: How could so many people be so stupid as to think so highly of Claude Dallas Jr., a killer whose crimes included poaching, trapping out of season and the shooting of two Idaho Department of Fish and Game agents? Apparently the majority of people in cattle country there think nothing of the prolonged suffering of a bobcat, coyote or trappers’ other non-human victims, and accept people at the shallowest of face-value (except game wardens out to uphold the few laws animals have on their side).

In civilized society we’ve been brought up not to hate other people. Tolerance is the buzz word and that’s supposed to go for everyone, even if they choose to kill the animals you care about. It’s not like animals are people, right? Well, that’s debatable; besides, there’s only so much tolerance to go around. I love the wilderness and the wild things who live there. But can you really love something, without at the same time, hating those who threaten its very existence?

Every morning I’m reminded how much I hate the local duck and goose hunters, for example. At first light this time of year, before I can even think about how much I love living where flocks of migratory geese spend the winter, the sound of shotgun fire rings out to remind me of those whom I hate—the ones who make sport of killing creatures more noble, magnanimous and intelligent than they could ever hope to be.

If it’s not okay to hate the people who kill your friends for sport, who can you hate? And don’t think for a second that hunters, no matter how the schmooze, don’t hate you or anyone who might be out to spoil their fun by trying to ban contest hunts, or otherwise exposing their sadism.

1598558_10152837672323554_7131931279073962386_oIdaho’s ongoing Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous, organized by a group ironically calling itself “Idaho for Wildlife” (more appropriate names would either be, Idaho against Wildlife, or Extremist Idahoans for the Destruction of Wildlife) claims as part of their second mission, “To fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the constitution of the United States of America.” Apparently somebody is confusing the Second Amendment with the right to kill non-human animals for sport.

Now, you may have grown up to songs with lyrics like, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now,” or just heard phrases like, “feel the love,” “love thy neighbor” “blah, blah, blah.” Bullshit! If your neighbor is out mowing down coyotes or wolves for fun or cash prizes—or blasting into flocks of geese for sport—they need to know how deeply you hate them.

But hate is such a negative emotion; it’s not good for your chakras, or whatever they say. Well, sometimes the animals need our outrage, our lividness, our hate. It’s a war, after all, and the other side is winning, partly because we resist the urge to embrace our hatred. How can you fight a war and not feel hate for your enemy?

Yet it shouldn’t be seen as desperate words coming from some lone, animal-loving whacko. As long as the laws are on their side and they think society shares their view of animals as objects, they’ll be encouraged to keep up the killing.

In other words, “Come on people now…Everybody get together, try to hate coyote hunters right now. Right now. Right Now!

coyote contest kill

Ignorance is never an excuse for hunting

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Well, actually, this article was entitled, “Ignorance is never an excuse for hunting violations,” but I thought this shortened version was more fitting. By Dan Stefanich, it starts off:

“I’m not sure how anyone can accidentally slaughter 30 ducks after the waterfowl season, but these guys did it. And thankfully, got busted.

“Three men have been arrested in connection with a highly publicized killing of ducks after the season. The March duck poaching incident occurred at Carlyle Lake Wildlife Management Area near Vandalia, Illinois. Steven Dean of Granite City, along with Bradley Peters and Daniel Groves of Wood River, were arrested on April 25.  The three men face felony charges for their alleged involvement in the illegal killing of more than 30 ducks out of season, according to the DNR. Since ducks are migratory waterfowl, they fall under the jurisdiction of both state and federal authorities and violations can be charged as felonies. Charges include: 
• Felony resource theft of migratory waterfowl 
• Unlawful possession of freshly killed species during the closed season 
• Wanton waste of migratory waterfowl 
• Unlawful take over the limit of mallard ducks 
• Unlawful take over the limit of northern pintails

“I’m thinking the Judge may throw the book at these guys, and rightfully so. Such a blatant disregard for our natural resources and regulations should carry stiff penalties. Am I the only one tired of “sportsmen” that think the law doesn’t apply to them? These are the guys that give us all a bad name.”

The article goes on to talk about “real sportsmen” following the laws. I didn’t think you’d be interested in reading the rest, but if you’re inclined, here’s the link:


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