HARWICH, MA – Another thieving great white shark snatched a fisherman’s catch off the coast of Cape Cod Monday, just as he was about to bring the fish aboard the boat. In a video posted to the Magellan Deep Sea Fishing Charters Facebook page, the shark is seen grabbing the striped bass as others on the boat urge the man to hurry up and reel the fish in.
“We had a visitor on yesterday’s trip,” the company wrote on Facebook. “A 12-foot great white shark grabbed a striper – well, most of it – off the line.”
The theft happened near the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Vineyard Sound. Atlantic White Shark Conservancy President Cynthia Wigren confirmed to the Boston Globe that the shark in the video was a great white.
Watch the video below (warning: contains strong language):
North Carolina voters will decide this fall whether the state’s heritage of hunting and fishing should be enshrined in the state constitution.
“The right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of the state’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good,” reads the opening of the amendment proposed in Senate Bill 677. Lawmakers voted last week to put the amendment on the Nov. 6 general election ballot as a referendum.
The bill passed with bipartisan — though not unanimous — support, the General Assembly’s website shows. Among those voting for the amendment were Republican lawmakers Sen. Bill Cook and Rep. Bob Steinburg. Area Democratic Rep. Howard Hunter III of Hertford County had excused absences for votes on the amendment, but wrote in an email Wednesday that he saw no harm in it.
If passed by the voters, the amendment would be a win for hunting and fishing groups, including the Eastern Carolina Houndsmen Alliance. In an interview Friday, alliance President Terry Morse said his organization has members throughout the state — including bear hunters in the western mountains — and it’s endorsed the amendment as preserving a heritage that predates the state itself.
Asked why the amendment is necessary, given the wide popularity of hunting and fishing in the state, Morse suggested some animal rights and humane societies might seek to limit hunting in the future. He claims the amendment is a proactive step to not only protect hunting and fishing, but preserve them as conservation tools.
Would the amendment’s guarantee of a right to hunt and fish force major changes to state laws and regulations, or otherwise have unintended consequences? Morse and other supporters say no.
The amendment’s text specifically states the right to hunt and fish are subject to state laws and regulations to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “preserve the future of fishing and hunting.”
The amendment also states it shall not “be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain.”
Morse said the amendment preserves the authority of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to regulate hunting and fishing, including by setting annual limits on how many animals can be killed. That’s important, because preserving the heritage of hunting and fishing requires maintaining game populations, he explained.
Similarly, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers said Friday that the amendment would not change the commission’s authority. He said the commission would also still have authority to ban hunting or fishing specific animals, if it determined their numbers were already too low.
Though the amendment preserves authority to regulate hunting and fishing for conservation, and to protect property rights, it does call at least one hunting regulation into question: restrictions on Sunday hunting. In deference to religious services, current state law restricts hunting on Sunday mornings, the use of hunting dogs, and hunting within 500 yards of a place of worship.
In an interview Thursday, Steinburg confirmed that lawmakers had debated, but apparently not settled, the question of how the amendment would affect Sunday hunting restrictions.
“That’s one of those things that, if it’s challenged in court, it will be interesting to see how it turns out,” Steinburg said.
Notably, the General Assembly’s website shows that state Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, filed amendments to S677 that would have stipulated hunting rights were subject to laws and regulations relating to public safety and public peace, “including limitations on Sunday hunting.” The amendments also would have allowed hunting to be affected in “regulation of commercial activities.” Both amendments failed.
In supporting the amendment, Steinburg said he did so because it seeks to ensure that “extreme environmental groups” or liberal judges won’t wrongly infringe on rights to hunt and fish.
Cook also strongly supported the amendment in an email Thursday, noting it would “bring North Carolina in line with 21 other states that already guarantee this right in their constitutions.”
Cook also noted the amendment enjoys strong support from hunting-related groups, including the National Rifle Association, Delta Waterfowl, Safari Club International, the Eastern Carolina Houndsmen Alliance, and others.
Cook also said the most recent state data found sportsmen and women spent $2.3 billion on hunting and fishing in 2011, supporting more than 35,000 local jobs.
Contacted on Friday, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Sierra Club said the environmental group had not taken a position on the amendment yet. The club’s statewide leadership is still considering it, she said.
You don’t hear all that much about 104-year-olds, perhaps since they’re usually squirreled away in some nursing home ‘for their own protection’ by then. Or perhaps because the average human life expectancy is 79.3 in the U.S. (for both sexes combined), while in Sierra Leone it’s still only 50.1 and the longest-lived people in the world these days, the Japanese, live an average of 83.7. But ironically I happened across articles about not one, but two century+4-year-olds while leafing through the news today.
‘Goodall didn’t want to travel to Switzerland for the procedure, but it was the only option for him since his home nation of Australia forbids assisted suicide in all instances. He made sure everyone knew about his frustrations.
“I greatly regret having reached that age; I would much prefer to be 20 or 30 years younger,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. during the [104th birthday] festivities in April. When asked whether he had a nice birthday, he replied: “No, I’m not happy. I want to die. … It’s not sad, particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”
“My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights, including the right of assisted suicide,” the 104-year-old man added.’
Order aims to allow broader access to public lands to hunters, fishers
Interior Department says Obama administration was too restrictive
Washington (CNN)Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Friday morning aiming to expand access for hunters and fishers to public lands and monuments.
In what is being described as an “expansive” secretarial order, Zinke’s rule would ultimately allow broader access across the board to hunters and fishers on public lands managed by the Interior Department, according to the order.
A section of the order also amends the national monument management plan to include or expand hunting and fishing opportunities to the “extent practicable under the law.”
The order cites a 2007 executive order from President George W. Bush to “facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.” It directs agencies to to create a report and plan to streamline how best to enhance and expand access to hunting and fishing on public lands.
The Interior Department oversees national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands.
The secretarial order also aims to expand educational outreach for hunting and fishing to “under served” communities such as minorities and veterans as well as increase volunteer access to federal lands.
“Today’s secretarial order is the latest example of how the Trump administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands,” Zinke said in a statement.
“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” he said.
Interior said Obama administration policies were too restrictive.
“Through management plans made under the previous administration, which did not appreciate access to hunting and target shooting like this administration does, access and usage has been restricted,” said Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift.
Zinke’s rule will not have to go through a formal rule-making process.
It is the second major action from Interior in the last few weeks.
In August, Zinke recommended shrinking the boundaries of a handful of national monuments, but stopped short of suggesting the elimination of any federal designations following a review ordered by President Donald Trump.
At Trump’s direction, Zinke earlier this year launched a review of 27 national monuments, a controversial move that could undo protections for millions of acres of federal lands, as well as limits on oil and gas or other energy production. Interior and the White House have so far resisted releasing the contents of Zinke’s full recommendations.
However some groups are arguing that the new order is a “stunt” by the department, aimed at moving the dialogue away from other recent controversial actions they’ve taken — including recommending the shrinking of national monuments and supporting increased fracking and logging.
“The real story is that, with this announcement, the Trump administration is trying to create a distraction from their plans to dramatically reduce the size of America’s national monuments, which would be the largest elimination of protections on wildlife habitat in US history,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
He added that according to the Congressional Research Service, every national monument “that the Trump administration claims to be opening to hunting and recreational fishing is already open to hunting and recreational fishing.”
Drew McConville, a senior managing director at the Wilderness Society, called the order a “red herring.”
“This issue is … completely unnecessary, since national monuments are typically open to hunting and fishing already,” McConville said. “The Trump administration ‘review’ of places protected as national monuments is nothing more than an excuse to sell out America’s most treasured public lands for commercial gain by oil, gas and other extractive industries. This agenda inherently means a loss of access to premier places for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pastimes.”
Bec and Sharna don’t look like the kind of people you’d call “psychotic murderers”, “disgusting whores” or “killers with a sick fetish”.[… but they are.]
They’re normal, friendly women. They’ve got normal jobs. They live in normal, regional towns.
Bec and Sharna
But when killing wild animals on the weekend is what you call fun, they’re the kind of names they’ve come to expect.
Between them, Bec and Sharna have killed enough animals to pretty much fill a zoo. Deer, a zebra, a giraffe, a mountain lion, a pigeon, foxes, kangaroos, impalas, baboons, a feral cat, a cow and a wild dog have all found themselves in the crosshairs of Sharna’s rifle or the target of Bec’s bow.
Some end up on their dinner table, some in their dog’s bowls, and some end up hanging in their living rooms.
“Each of those have their own story and for us, we don’t want to see any of it go to waste either. That’s probably the best use of those skins.”
The Hunting “lifestyle”
Hunting has been part of her life for so long, Bec can’t even remember the first time she fired a gun. A sixth-generation hunter; it’s in her blood.
“It was the same as other kids going and playing footy. We went hunting. It was just something that was done.
“I learnt really quickly that when I went to school that not all families were like my family. We ate a lot of homekill meat; I grew up on a sheep farm so Dad always slaughtered our own lambs.
“Sometimes that meant that we even ate our pets,” Bec says, remembering her pet lamb Blinky who eventually ended up on her plate.
“I remember friends coming over after school and they were like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ and then I started to realise that that wasn’t how other families did it.”
Bec and Sharna are both licensed hunters and only hunt animals permitted by local authorities. They both insist hunting, for them, is more than a hobby.
Why hunters find joy in the kill
Sarah McVeigh spent five days with Bec and Sharna in the Victorian High Country to understand how they tick and why they get satisfaction from killing animals.
“Hunting is a challenge. And sitting around the campfire is fun,” Sharna says. “Pushing myself when it’s freezing cold up that mountain, that’s the fun part. Taking the actual shot is something where, you’re in the moment, there’s that adrenaline rush.
“I think they say it’s the same chemical release as kissing and that sort of thing. You’re getting that big rush of endorphins.”
Critics of Bec and Sharna – mostly on their public posts on Facebook – don’t buy their argument. They call Bec and Sharna serial killers; they call them sick; they say Bec and Sharna should turn their weapons on themselves.
“Put a rifle up your c***,” someone wrote, “and pull the trigger”.
Bec and Sharna understand why people are quick to judge hunters. But they say criticism tends to be clouded by false assumptions, and – unless their critics are vegans – embedded in hypocrisy.
“They think we go out there to torture animals where we don’t,” Sharna says. “They don’t understand what we do. That’s definitely an aspect of why people dislike us so much.”
But Bec and Sharna’s reasoning for hunting boils down to a few things: they enjoy hunting for fitness, they eat the animals they’ve killed, and they only kill animals that are a sustainable resource.
“I’d much rather know where my meat is coming from,” Sharna says. “I don’t want to just walk into the supermarket, pick it up off the shelf and not know where it’s come from.
“There’s a genuine respect for the animal. There’s no regret [when we kill]. But there’s… it’s very hard to describe. It’s not remorse, it’s not regret.
Are all animals equal?
Bec and Sharna often go back to this existential point: when it comes to hunting in the animal kingdom, there is no hierarchy. Apart from endangered or rare species, no life is worth more than another. Squishing a spider is the same as shooting a baboon in South Africa – where they are a sustainable resource, Bec says.
Bec shot a giraffe in South Africa, and the animal was butchered that day for the locals to eat.
Bec in South Africa
“The amount of food that this guy provided for the local community is possibly still being enjoyed,” Bec says.
“I’m not a serial killer”
Bec says none of the criticism she’s received online has made her “second-guess” her hobby and lifestyle choice.
But for Sharna, one comment caught her off guard.
A commenter once took issue with Sharna’s taxidermy animals. “That’s what a serial killer does, a serial killer collects tokens,” the commenter told Sharna.
“For me I was like, ‘I want to know what separates me from a serial killer’ and that’s a pretty big thing to think about within yourself. That comment made me sit down and think about that.”
So what does separate Sharna and Bec from, say, Ivan Milat? Is it just the victims they choose?
“There’s plenty of things,” Sharna says.
“I’m a nurse and I have compassion for people. Obviously serial killers don’t think about their actions – they’re sociopaths. So there’s quite a bit that separates me from a serial killer.
Sarah McVeigh with Bec and Sharna
Both Bec and Sharna are careful about calling killing “fun”. They insist the act of hunting – the whole experience – is fun, but pulling the trigger is not.
“If I were to say that to pull the trigger is fun, the way people view me might change,” Sharna admits.
“You take the shot, pull the trigger, and if that animal falls over straight away, hasn’t really known what’s going on, that’s a success. So you do get excited about it, and it is a fun activity.”
Sharna and Bec know it’s hard for people to understand how killing could be fun.
“Instead of just sitting behind a keyboard and telling me that what I’m doing is wrong, come and see it.”
A Russian hunter was shot dead by his own dog when the excited pooch hopped up on his lap and tapped his shotgun — which discharged into his gut.
The freak accident struck while Sergei Terekhov, 64, and his brother were hunting rabbits in the remote Saratov region, according to reports Monday.
Terekhov’s double-barrelled shotgun was resting on his knee when his Estonian Hound bounded towards him and bumped the weapon with his paw, causing it to go off, according to the local news site Region 64 and other outlets.
“The weapon rested on his knee, with the butt facing down and the barrel pointing towards his stomach,” investigator Alexander Galanin told the site.
The investigative committee later told Newsweek Terekhov was holding the Soviet Toz-3, which discharged after the pooch darted from a car and hopped up onto him.
Terekhov’s brother called an ambulance but he died on the way to a hospital.
Terekhov was experienced hunter with a license, Galanin said. “Everything was in order. It was an accident.”
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.
Safari company criticised for £1000 lion-hunting raffle
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.”
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.
The African Pachyderm Organisation stunned conservationists by ending a long-standing moratorium on the crushing of rich tossers who think slaughtering rare wildlife somehow makes up for the loveless pantomime that is their life.
Tembo, a Tanzanian bull elephant and PR director for the APO, denied the move was linked to the steady increase of privileged bellends called Troy or Donald Jr going to Africa and pretending that shooting a large animal from the safety of a Land Rover is a life-affirming experience.
He explained, “We are doing it to enhance the ecological health of the Rich Prick subspecies, particularly in America.
“They have been too long removed from having to fend for themselves and the degeneracy is showing. We are seeing highly aggressive behaviour combined with physical cowardice and horrendous mating habits based on intimidation and humiliation. A cull is long overdue.”
Tembo also denied the unrestricted squishing of narcissist wankers emulating Hemingway would hurt the tourist trade in already impoverished countries.
He went on, “Quite the opposite. The end of restrictions will mean great windfalls for local communities.
“The APO is fully committed to the principles of Sustainable Squishing. Our crushers work with rural humans to track and bait the trigger-happy fuckwits with promises of macabre selfies next to dead apex predators.
“Tribal elders are always consulted to help select the most egregious gun-nuts for a good trampling.
“The locals take all the spoils and a share of the squishing fee. Did you know that the personal effects of a Florida orthodontist can buy a whole new schoolhouse for a Zambian village?”
The law elicited a wide range of responses. Proponents of the bipartisan legislation hoped it would help recruit hunters by offering more options.
Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), who introduced the bill with Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range), proudly brandished pink clothing as he talked up the legislation.
“We have no illusions about women flocking to hunting because of blaze pink being allowed,” said Kleefisch at a 2015 hearing for the bill. “We’d like to provide more choice to all.”
The bill obtained 38 co-sponsors in the Assembly.
But many hunters, including women, considered it a joke or worse.
“I think it’s really misguided,” said Sarah Ingle of Genesee, president of the Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association and a hunter for about 25 years. “Among the group of women I hunt with, we find it insulting and demeaning.”
Females comprise about 10% of the Wisconsin hunting population but about 35% of new gun deer license buyers, according to Department of Natural Resources statistics.
Geschke, the Fleet Farm assistant manager, said the pink appeared to be more of a “fad” and appealed more to the “trend conscious.”
So far, it hasn’t been sufficient to produce strong demand for blaze pink, Scherper said.
Trophy hunting organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies are in cahoots in the Southwest in executing ruthless mountain lion killing programs, typically involving radio telemetry equipment, packs of hounds, and rifles and bows they use to shoot lions they’ve driven into trees to kill at point-blank range. The trophy hunters are motivated by bragging rights and taxidermy (they are head hunters, and don’t eat the lions). And the states, in addition to catering to that small subset of hunters and enabling their unsporting methods of killing, view the lions as competitors with human hunters for deer and elk. In their economic calculus, every deer or elk lost to a lion is one less hunting license fee paid to the states, to paraphrase an observation from the esteemed outdoor writer Ted Williams.
But The HSUS and other wildlife protection groups are fighting back, and taking a stand for lions—in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Last week, after legal maneuvers by WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Western Environmental Law Center, state and federal authorities temporarily halted a massive mountain lion “control” program in Colorado ostensibly designed to inflate mule deer populations, pending further environmental review.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife had entered into an agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears on two study sites to determine if these massive predator-control projects could revive the Centennial State’s flagging mule deer population.
These sorts of programs are a fool’s errand. Across the Western U.S., mule deer struggle because of habitat destruction and corridor loss. In Colorado, this has been exacerbated by rampant oil and gas drilling in western Colorado with its spider web of roads and drill pads that have degraded tremendous amounts of former mule deer habitat and migration routes.
And in New Mexico, a federal judge recently rejected the State’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by The HSUS and Animal Protection of New Mexico challenging the state’s Department of Game and Fish’s 2016 decision to open a cougar trapping season on public lands—for the first time in almost 50 years. Even though hounding is bad enough, it’s all the more outrageous to allow trapping and snaring programs for lions, since the lions suffer in the traps and the traps catch whatever creature is unlucky enough to trigger the device.
The Commission’s 2016 Cougar Rule radically expands cougar trapping on more than nine million acres of public trust land, including key Mexican wolf habitat, as well as expanding opportunities for trapping on private land. The risk of a cougar trap injuring or killing a Mexican wolf is high due to the similarity in size and habitat preference between the species.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, we are in full battle mode, as we conduct the signature-gathering campaign to qualify a ballot measure to halt any trophy hunting of lions in the state. The measure would also forbid trophy hunting of bobcats, jaguars, ocelots, and lynx, in a state with the richest diversity of wild cat species in the United States.
Despite Western states’ claim of using science, their arguments amount to no more than fake news and faux science. When trophy hunters kill an adult male lion, his females and kittens are susceptible to mortality from incoming males, as many other studies from Utah, Montana, and Washington have shown. Killing one male lion results in the death of numerous other lions, particularly dependent kittens, who are cannibalized by incoming males. And if a trophy hunter kills an adult female, any kittens under 12 months of age will likely die from starvation, predation, or exposure.
Two summers ago, Americans reacted with outrage in seeing an American trophy hunter grinning over an African lion he killed in Zimbabwe. He conducted that hunt for no other reasons than bragging rights and the trophy. The people who kill mountain lions here in the Southwest are motivated by the same purposes.
Lions strengthen population of deer and elk. They are needed apex predators in intact ecosystems. The states have no idea how many lions they have, and their programs are a relic of antiquated attitudes towards predators.
It’s one thing to kill animals for meat. It’s another to do it just for the heads. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it’s the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
P.S. Using cutting-edge, remote-camera technologies, Panthera discovered that mountain lions are far more social than biologists ever realized—despite 60 years’ research. Females share their kills with other females and their kittens and even with the adult territorial male. In return, the adult males protect the females and all of his kittens from immigrating males. If left undisturbed, mountain lions have a stable social society where reciprocity between individuals is shared. A revolutionary finding.