Hunting is bad!
I know. It will do absolutely no good to rant and rave about Hunters and Hunting, except to satisfy my own moral dictates. To me it is a simple matter. Hunters who kill wildlife for sport and recreation are making murder on innocent animals. Sure, there are grey areas, but in the mainstream, it's murder. Sure, the dictionary says murder is: "The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice." OK. Perhaps, I'm dramatizing it by calling it murder, but it is premeditated, it is with malice and it does result in killing, most of the time. (Often, hunting results in maiming or injuring animals.) The fact that it is not killing another human is a technicality to me that brings up the question of the superiority of the human race over the rest of the animal kingdom. As an educated biologist, my view of life is one of a graduated series of evolutionary steps that go from one life form to another (perhaps with a lot of missing pieces that have dropped out over time). I don't see the major distinctions that most people make between apes, chimps, babbons, and humans, or any other lifeform. So us humans can play the piano, but can we fly 7,000 miles without stopping, can we smell another human a mile away, can we see a small insect from 1,000 feet, can we swim for miles without breathing air, etc. Who says we are superior? (We do, but isn't that a bit circular and egotistical?) We know that most higher forms of life have traits that we previously thought belonged only to human beings.
OK, I got off track a bit. To summarize, I don't see the moral distinction between animals and humans, so to me, hunters are comitting murder. So do ranchers that kill pigs for my bacon and sausge and and cattle for my hamburger. The only difference is that I feel that to kill for food is the natural order of things. To kill for recreation is purely egotistical and down right mean.
Hunters often reply that they are the saviors of the animal kingdom. They help the species by thinning them out. That's really just a glorified excuse to kill. Mother nature provides adequate means for thinning. What they might be right in saying is that they eliminate unwanted members of the animal kingdom that get in the way of the human race. (It works the same between the human races too. We did that with the North American Indians, the Germans did it with the Jews, etc.) What gives a hunter the right to play God with their rifle, bow and arrow, or knifes? They say that their way is more "humane" than mother natures way. Maybe so, but I don't see many of them agreeing to kill their grandparents when they get sick and feeble (indeed just the opposite.. we do everything we can to keep them alive against their will and put anyone in jail that trys to help them end their own suffering!) Just let Mother Nature take care of it.
Hunters often say they create more animals in the long run due to the wildlife sanctuaries that they support through their generous donations to such organizations as Ducks Unlimited, and through their purchase of hunting licenses. I say let Mother Nature deal with it. If thinning them out is a goal, then supporting wildlife sanctuaries is the equivalent of fattening the calf, or just farming more animals to murder. If they didn't kill them, they wouldn't have to culture them. Humans are so eager to play God with Mother Nature. Let it alone. Give the animals their ranges and stay away from them! I visit a specific wildlife refuge every summer and one of the celebrated residents are Moose. I have seen about 2 moose in 20 visits in the summers. Yet, they allow killing them on this same national wildlife refuge to thin them out!
Hunters have told me (as a photographer) that I also have the trophy hunter mentality. Instead of mounting a head on a wall, I mount a picture of a head on the wall. I'm just as guilty of the crime of possession and greed as they are. I'm sorry, but mine is a zero-sum game, their way messes with Mother Nature, eliminates a life (or more if they have killed a mother still caring for young animals) and leaves less for me to photograph. They consume natural resources and I record them. It's not the same.
Hunters say they are no worse than any meat eater who condones the killing of farmed animals. Although technically correct, again, the natural way for the food chain to function allows for the stronger to kill the weaker to stay alive themselves. There is no genetic or moral imperative that says, "killing for fun and profit only is OK." It's wasteful, period, and it deprives an animal of their natural life span. If only poor people, without the means to buy food were to kill animals for their own consumption, I'd have a hard time objecting. Instead, hunting is mainly a rich mans (or women's) game, just like fishing. It requires expensive tools (rifles, fancy bows and arrows, expensive fishing gear, etc), expensive vehicles and assessories to camp with (RV's, ATVs, tents, horses, horse trailers, stoves, etc), expensive fuel to drive hundreds and thousands of miles to wilderness, and often large license fees to hunt or fish or large membership fees to join hunting clubs. (That's not mentioning things like helicopter rides to chase down wolves or deer, internet fees to kill animals attracted to automatic weapons and web cams, etc.)
OK, I'm also a bit of a sentimentalist too. I enjoy seeing animals in their own environment. I enjoy studying them as they interact with each other and their environment and enjoy their pure beauty. I think they have the same right that I do to compete for a place on this Earth. I can enjoy visiting the wilderness, searching for the animals, trying to avoid scaring or interfering with them and photographing them. Most of the same things that hunters do with the important exception that my trigger finger creates a digital image instead of a dead or injured animal.
So, it still sickens me to see a truck driving down the road, 15 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, carrying two dead 5 point bull-Elk on their trailer, while adults and children only minutes away have spent their entire vacation trying to see the same Elk or Moose from the road and enjoy it as only a person from the city could. Large traffic jams occur with people harmlessly filling their cameras up with digital moose and elk bits because they appreciate the beauty, elegance and natural order of a herd of Elk or Moose. Someone paid from $100 to $1000 or more to our government for the right to deny the rest of us with that pleasure of seeing them in their normal habitats. Is that right?
Again, I have no hopes of stopping this. People claim birthrights given to their grandfathers and great-grandfathers to kill the local Elk, Moose, Bear, Sandhill Cranes, foxes, ducks, etc, etc, etc over the last hundred years. It makes no sense to me at all. (Their grandfathers didn't have a Safeway or other convenience store at every corner to buy what they needed, so maybe the "birthrights" should stop.)
Only one thing I'd vote for. Allowing Hunters with the correct license to "hunt" other hunters. A higher stakes "Paint ball" game that might even the score a bit between the human animals and others.
Don't bother to comment unless you have something constructive to say. Comments like, "Queer", "liberal", or other childish negative comments won't be responded to or appreciated (but expected).