Five hunters to participate in Missouri’s first official elk hunt

NEWS

SPRINGFIELD, Mo (KOLR) — Five hunters from across Missouri have won the chance to hunt elk, an animal well-known in the western United States.

Francis Skalicky, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says elk were once native to Missouri.

“The last time elk where being hunted in Missouri, Missouri was still being settled. When Lewis and Clark crossed Missouri, elk were found statewide. By the time of the Civil War, elk were scarce in Missouri, and by the late 1800s, they had disappeared,” says Skalicky.

Skalicky says elk were extrapolated from Missouri, which is different from extinction. Extrapolation, Skalicy says, means the animal is gone from a specific area. In 2011 the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) began an elk reintroduction program.

“Now, the population has grown to more than 200, and the population has reached a point to where we can have a limited hunting season, which is what this is going to be,” says Skalicky.

So for there to be an official elk hunt in Missouri is a big deal, according to Skalicky. The five winners were drawn randomly in a group of over 19,000 hunters who applied for the permit to hunt the elk.

One of the five hunters is from Mount Vernon, Joseph Benthall. The hunters could decide to use archery or a firearm. Benthall is hunting with a rifle.

Benthall told the MDC he has been deer hunting off and on for 25 years and has not hunted elk before. Benthall applied for the permit because he has always wanted to hunt elk but has not had the time or money for a trip out west.

Here are the five hunters who won:

  • Bill Clark of Van Buren, who was drawn for the resident-landowner antlered-elk permit.
  • Joseph Benthall of Mount Vernon, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Michael Buschjost of St. Thomas, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Samuel Schultz of Winfield, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.
  • Eugene Guilkey of Liberty, who was drawn for an antlered-elk general permit.

The five will hunt the elk in a 20-acre elk restoration zone covering parts of Carter, Reynolds, and Shannon counties. The archery hunters will take part in a nine-day hunt from October 17-25, and the firearm hunters will hunt from December 12-20. Skalicky says the hunt will not interfere with public elk viewing areas at the Peak Ranch Conservation Area.

If anybody has information about who is responsible for building the device or placing it, contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Office at (515) 433-0524.

The investigation is ongoing.

Dean Welte

Drunk driving hunter arrested in Pulaski County, deputies say

James Allison
James Allison (New River Valley Regional Jail)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Pulaski County deputies arrested a man they say was driving drunk, as well as hunting drunk, on Friday night.

At about 8 p.m., they responded to the 1500 block of Julia Simpkins Road after being alerted that 58-year-old James “Teddy” Allison was drunk and making threats, while firing a gun.

When deputies arrived, Allison was driving away and they stopped him in a nearby field.

They could see he was drunk and found a gun in his car, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He’s charged with driving under the influence, reckless handing of a firearm and hunting while intoxicated.

He’s being held without bond at the New River Valley Regional Jail.

Answer to the “Sun” article

This is my response to the article I posted earlier:..

Hunting, fishing licenses required (even if you don’t hunt or fish) for hundreds of Colorado wildlife areas

“We want folks to hunt and fish on these properties,” stated public information officer, Travis Duncan, in a recent Colorado Sun article entitled, “Hunting, fishing licenses required (even if you don’t hunt or fish) for hundreds of Colorado wildlife areas.” In other words, if you’re there simply to bird and/or wildlife watch or otherwise enjoy the sights and sounds of the living natural world and its inhabitants, you’re not welcome. Not without paying the same fee and being lumped in with those who came there to kill something (sportingly, of course).

Don’t get me wrong, visitors who might want spend a morning or afternoon at one of Colorado’s remaining natural areas and witness the natural splendor they have to offer are not opposed to paying a fee (within reason) to cover maintenance and upkeep of roads or facilities—we just don’t want to be counted as a “sportsmen” who are only there to get something they can take away from their visit.

Your article gave one example of a non-consumptive user—a river rafter–who did not think the new law was fair for all. Other examples run the gambit from the aforementioned bird watcher to the casual wildlife photographer to the just plain nature lover.

Sport hunters get enough glad-handing and back-slapping from each other whenever they make a kill. Better not to feed a swelling ego by claiming they are personally responsible for nature’s great abundance or they might take it to heart and become even harder for the rest of us to live with.

 

Hunting, fishing licenses required (even if you don’t hunt or fish) for hundreds of Colorado wildlife areas

The Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River below the Loma put-in, which is part of a State Wildlife Area. (Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun)

Rule approved last month applies to State Wildlife Areas and State Trust Lands, which can contain popular stretches for boating and other recreation

OUTDOORSPRIMARY CATEGORY IN WHICH BLOG POST IS PUBLISHED

Saskatchewan allows motorized wheelchairs for disabled hunters

It’s a small bullet point in a list of ten items from a March 25 provincial order in council, but the regulatory change will make a big difference for Bobbie Cherepuschak, an avid hunter who was born with spina bifida.

“Authorize permits to use tracked wheelchairs for hunters with mobility impairments,” the bullet point states.

Now 32 years old and living in Lumsden, Sask., Cherepuschak mostly uses a wheelchair to get around. It’s a task easier said than done for his favourite pastime, hunting out in the bush.

After he took it up as a full-time hobby in 2003 and got his driver’s licence, he used special permits from the provincial government, allowing him to fire a gun from the cab of his truck. He renewed them every five years.

But such a set-up often limited how far into the bush he could track and find game, much less set up a clear shot.

Now the regulatory change allows hunters with disabilities and mobility issues to apply for a permit to use a motorized wheelchair, which comes equipped with thick, all-terrain treaded tracks that can handle the province’s rugged, rolling landscapes.

Cherepuschak and other hunters will fill out the Special Authorization for a Hunter with Disabilities form, ticking off a new box, beside which is listed “use a motorized wheelchair.”

The province’s Ministry of Environment gave him word of the change last week; on Monday a ministry worker told him the application was up on the saskatchewan.ca website.

“It’s slowly starting to hit me that I did something that changed something for everybody in the province in my situation, not just for myself for my own good,” Cherepuschak said.

The timing worked out well for his next planned hunting trip: In June he learned he was drawn for moose in the fall.

 

“It’s definitely a warm fuzzy feeling that you get in your stomach, and I think the closer I get to my moose season, the more excitement I’ll have,” he said.

He’s drawn for wildlife management Zone 40, which sits in the east-central part of the province in the Wadena area.

As of early July, there’s not yet a motorized wheelchair in the province that’s equipped for covering rough ground. The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) is trying to secure the province’s first one.

“We’ve requested an updated list of the requirements of this machine (from the environment) ministry so we can identify preferably (a company) in Saskatchewan, if not, in Canada to modify one or build one for us,” SWF executive director Darrell Crabbe said.

The federation estimates it will cost $30,000 to purchase one.

Crabbe said the preference is for a gas-powered chair, over a battery-powered one, to be reliable in cold weather.

The SWF wants the chair to be used by non-hunters, too. “Maybe some other folks (can) go for a hike or tour some wildlife lands, or even take it out fishing,” Crabbe said.

In securing the regulatory change, Cherepuschak had help from NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon.

“This is something we’ve been pushing for. We advocated directly to the ministry and directly to the minister (Dustin Duncan) to make this important change,” Wotherspoon said.

Cherepuschak first pitched Wotherspoon on the change when they crossed paths at Regina’s Cabela’s in December; Cherepuschak was in the middle of a work shift at the outdoor outfitter.

Wotherspoon commended him on his persistence.

Using 2017 data, Statistics Canada says 2,676,370 Canadians aged 15 and older have a mobility-related disability; the drug company Rexall estimates each year in Canada 120 babies are born with spina bifida, a neural tube defect.

Spina bifida occurs during pregnancy, affecting the proper development of a baby’s spine; it occurs in three different forms, the difference being how far and if a person’s nerve endings protrude outside of their spine.

 

Two orphaned bear cubs were rescued June 15 from the Skagit, they will now stay Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley until next summer. Their mother was shot by a hunter in the Skagit Valley on June 13. Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee photo

Cubs rescued, hunter fined after sow shot in Skagit Valley

Officers opt for fines, as hefty punishment could prevent hunter cooperation in future

  • Jul. 4, 2020 12:00 a.m.

A hunter has been fined after shooting a mother bear in the Skagit Valley June 13, leaving two cubs orphaned yet safe and cared for at a Langley wildlife rescue.

The shooting took place during the annual spring black bear hunting season from April 1 to June 15 said Sergeant Don Stahl with the Conservation Officer Service (COS). The hunter, who had a licence and tags to hunt black bears and assisted the conservation service after the incident, has been fined.

“He watched this one particular bear for a while in a logging slash and didn’t see any cubs…he thought it was a single bear, so he shot it,” Stahl said. “When he got closer and he wanted to dress the bear up, take the meat…about 80-100 metres away in really thick brush he heard and then ended up seeing some cubs.”

The hunter knew it was illegal to hunt sows, Stahl said, hence the reason he had watched the bear for a time. When finding out it was a mother, Stahl said the hunter had two choices – he could have left the area without informing anyone, and as a result the cubs would have died without their mother, or he could turn himself in.

“He did the right thing, he called and he self-reported himself to us,” Stahl said. The hunter then took a day off of work, heading up to the area together with conservation officers and Lydia Koot from the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. The group carried live traps in to where the cubs were last seen.

The cubs were caught on June 15, a day after traps were set said Lydia Koot. They were the first cubs of the year brought to the Critter Care Wildlife Rescue in Langley, one of three wildlife shelters in B.C. that take bears. The other two are located on Vancouver Island and in Smithers.

“We of course are really happy with that. They look healthy, they are tiny and they are safe and sound,” she said, adding they are around 4.5 to 5 months old, a brother and sister, weighing around nine pounds each at the time of rescue.

VIDEO: Bear cub brother and sister boost Langley wildlife centre population

Given the mitigating circumstances in this case – the hunter had no previous hunting or fishing violations, he reported himself and helped conservation officers and Koot locate the cubs – Stahl said the conservation service chose to issue him a fine of $150, which he has paid, and a written warning for a $345 fine. Court appearances, fines in the thousands of dollars and having a firearm seized are possible stricter penalties.

The interest of the cubs is a factor for the COS, Stahl said. Hunters who encounter a situation like this in the future may choose to walk away if they hear of very high fines and the like, making a cub rescue near impossible. “If he wouldn’t have (turned himself in) we never would have found the cubs, they would have starved up there. He did help bring in the traps and walk our staff out to where it was,” Stahl said.

Koot said that bears at this age are very dependent on mother’s milk and haven’t been taught yet what to eat in nature.

For the COS a hard-handed approach could have a chilling effect on future hunters and what they choose to report. “In circumstances like this, where there’s no previous violations and they self-report, if we hammer the person really, really hard and other hunters hear about that and they shoot, say an undersized animal, they’re very reluctant to report themselves,” Stahl said.

What black bear hunters can do to avoid an outcome like this is watch the bear for a reasonable time using high quality binoculars. In a more vegetated or thick brushy area, it may be more difficult to see the cubs, so take more time before shooting Stahl said.

“Usually the cubs are very close to the sow and they stay close together,” he said. “And if you’re not sure, 100 per cent, if you’re in doubt don’t shoot.”

The Skagit Valley, part of the COS Fraser South patrol zone, gets a handful of black bear hunters each year said Stahl. Yet covering the area from White Rock to Boston Bar for 20 years, Stahl said he’s only heard of a mother bear getting shot in this area a total of three or four times. “It’s pretty rare for our area,” he said, and he’s only heard of it happening every five or eight years in this zone.

Bear cub rescues are less rare, and this spring Koot said she’s rescued five already from different parts of B.C.. It’s unusual to rescue so many so early in the year, as rescues normally take place towards the fall when the young bears who have been able to sustain themselves after being orphaned start to run out of berries. They begin to starve and go in search for food, when they usually encounter people.

The sale of black bear licences were up slightly in 2019-2020, with 31,163 sold for the entire province compared to 28,073 in 2017-2-18 according to the province’s lands and forests ministry. The limit for the year, which includes a spring and fall hunt, is two black bears per person.

Anyone who sees suspicious fisheries or wildlife activity can report what they see to the conservation service at 1-877-952-7277.

Hunting Or Fishing License Required To Enter State Wildlife Areas [!!!]

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/06/30/colorado-wildlife-areas-license/
By Makenzie O’Keefe

(CBS4) – As more and more people continue to get outdoors to recreate, there will be a major change starting July 1, 2020 for anyone who wants to access a State Wildlife Area (SWA) or State Trust Land leased by CPW. Any visitor 18 or older will now be required to have a valid hunting or fishing license to be on the land.

(credit: CBS)

“We’re just trying to get the properties back for wildlife, and the intended purpose,” said Mark Lamb, an area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks Wildlife.

Across Colorado there are more than 300 SWA’s, which are acres of designated land for wildlife management, wildlife habitat, and wildlife related recreation.

“For most of the wildlife areas, hunting and fishing are the primary recreational activities,” Lamb said. “But here at this one, Mount Evans State Recreation Area a lot of people come to bike or hike too.”

(credit: CBS)

As our states population continues to grow and more people are itching to get inside during COVID-19, the state’s trails and wildlife areas are feeling the impacts of increased visitors.

“One of the biggest issues with the other wildlife area is that people don’t stay on the trails,” Lamb said. “They like to kind of go wherever they want to go and that’s a big impact, that’s really pushing wildlife away.”

CPW hopes that requiring visitors to have a hunting or fishing license to use the SWA’s, even for hiking or biking, it will reduce negative impact.

Lamb said another way it will help, is that the wildlife management department does not get tax dollars for conservation, so the money from the licenses will help to fund habitat projects. On Tuesday, Lamb showed CBS4’s Makenzie O’Keefe an area where they are working to get more vegetation for areas elk can go to survive the winter.

“Our revenue comes, like maintaining roads or trying to do habitat projects, from the sale of hunting or fishing licenses,” Lamb said.

WVDNR announces cancellation of 2020 National Hunting and Fishing Days event

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and West Virginia Wildlife Federation are cancelling the state’s 2020 National Hunting and Fishing Days celebration.

This year’s event was originally scheduled for Sept. 19-20. Registered vendors will be contacted and issued a refund.

“We are extremely saddened to cancel this event, but we are prioritizing the health and safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers,” said Kayla Donathan, the DNR’s event coordinator. “While we won’t be able to celebrate in person this year, like we’re used to, we want to encourage West Virginians to spend that weekend honoring our state’s outdoor heritage by participating in an outdoor activity or visiting a state park.”

West Virginia’s National Hunting and Fishing Days is the state’s largest hunting and fishing show. In addition to big buck and trophy fish displays and hundreds of hunting and fishing vendors, the event provides family friendly activities, such as the outdoor youth challenge. The next National Hunting and Fishing Days celebration is tentatively scheduled Sept. 18-19, 2021.

Take a Hike, Not a Life

TEXT AND WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY ©JIM ROBERTSON

From the Spring issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier

Photo by Jim Robertson

 

Living near prime wildlife habitat means that at any
given moment you might witness the astounding sight of
great Vs of migratory ducks or cackling Canada geese
flying right overhead. If you’re lucky, trumpeter swans
might be among the waterfowl feeding and calling in the
nearby estuary. And wood ducks or hooded mergansers
might pay your inland pond a visit while searching for a
quiet place to nest.
The downside of living near a natural wonderland?
Being awakened Sunday morning at first light by the
repeated volley of shotgun blasts, as though all-out war
has been declared on all things avian (as is currently happening here this morning). The Elmers (hunters) out there
(no doubt dressed in the latest expensive camo-pattern—
a fashion statement apparently meant to impress the other
Elmers out there) must be reveling in the fact that the
dense morning fog allows them to “sneak” (in their loud
outboard motor boats) up close enough to the flocks so
that a large number of birds will end up dead, winged or
otherwise wounded when they suddenly stand up and
spray lead at all things avian or otherwise.
Duck hunting is the ultimate betrayal. It happens well
into the winter, long after just about any other hunting
season is over, when the birds are congregated in flocks
on their wintering grounds. And it happens often on lands
supposedly set aside as wildlife “refuges.” Pro-kill
groups like Ducks Unlimited (DU—an appropriate
acronym that looks like an abbreviation for “duh”) insist
that they have the animals’ best interests in mind. But
when it comes right down to it, all they really want to preserve land for is to have a playground for killing. (Just listen to them scream if you try to propose a refuge closed
to hunting.)
The other day, after the constant blasting of shotguns
earlier that morning, I heard and saw a lone goose calling
mournfully for his or her lost mate. It is not a game or a
sport for the birds—for geese and their advocates it’s
nothing short of heartbreak.
As you might have assumed by now, I’ve thought
about the issue of sport hunting a heck of a lot over the
years and I’ve long-since declared myself a staunch antihunter. Not only am I anti-hunting, anti-trapping, antiwhaling and anti-sealing, I’m anti any form of bullying
that goes on against the innocents—including humans. I
am not an apologist for the wanton inhumanity of hunting
in the name of sport, pseudo-subsistence or conservationby-killing. In fact, I’m not a fan of any society that allows
or encourages such atrocities.
Most sport hunters meanwhile must be anti-wildlife,
anti-wilderness, anti-nature and anti-competition, since
they’re notoriously anti-cougar, anti-coyote and unquestionably anti-wolf. At the same time, they’re pro-killing,
pro-death, and when it comes right down to it, pro-animal
cruelty.
In my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of
a Dying Sport, I spend an entire chapter probing “Inside
the Hunter’s Mind.” Hence, I’m here to tell you it’s a dark
and disturbing place in there—and no one divulges that
better than the hunters themselves. Here are a couple of
quotes from hunters waxing poetic on the thrills they get
out of killing:
“I had wondered and worried how it would feel to kill
an animal, and now I know. It feels — in both the modern and archaic senses — awesome. I’m flooded, overwhelmed, seized by interlocking feelings of euphoria and
contrition, pride and humility, reverence and, yes, fear.
The act of killing an innocent being feels — and will
always feel — neither wholly wrong nor wholly right.”
A sentiment perhaps once shared by this other
unabashed killer:
“You’re the last one there…you feel the last bit of
breath leaving their body. You’re looking into their eyes
and basically, a person in that situation is God! You then
possess them and they shall forever be a part of you. And
the grounds where you killed them become sacred to you
and you will always be drawn back to them.”
Both quotes were from people who considered themselves hunters—men who stalked and killed innocent,
unarmed victims. The first was taken from a New York
Times article written by Bill Heavey, an editor at large for
the “sportsman’s” magazine, Field and Stream. The second one triumphantly reliving his conquest was none
other than the infamous Ted Bundy, as he sat on death
row musing over his many murders to the authors of The
Only Living Witness.
It seems that, whether the perpetrator is engaged in a
sport hunt or a serial kill, the approach is similar. Though
their choice of victims differs, their mindset and/or perhaps mental illness is roughly the same.
Even our former cold war enemy seems to be light years
ahead of the U.S. in moving beyond the barbarity of hunting. Oleg Mikheyev, MP of the center-left Fair Russia parliamentary party, told the daily newspaper Izvestia just
what I’ve been saying all along: “People who feel pleasure when they kill animals cannot be called normal.”
Mikheyev entered a draft law to ban most hunting in
Russia and expressed his belief that hunting is unnecessary and immoral, regardless of whether one sees it as a
sport, a pastime or an industry. According to the bill, forest rangers will still be allowed to hunt but must first pass
a psychological test, which Mikheyev points out, “…can
help us in early detection of latent madmen and murderers.” https://www.rt.com/russia/ban-game-hunting-total-164/ .
Here in the states, Heavey went on to write, “What ran
in the woods now sits on my plate… What I’ve done feels
subversive, almost illicit.”
Then why do it?
Though some hunters like Heavey may put on a show of
innocuousness by temporarily eschewing guns and choosing to test their skill at bowhunting—arguably the cruelest
kill method in the sportsman’s quiver—the typical
American hunter sets out on their expeditions in a
Humvee or some equally eco-inefficient full-sized pickup
truck, spending enough on gas, gear, beer and groceries to
buy a year’s supply of food, or to make a down payment
on a piece of land big enough to grow a killer garden.
Clearly the motive for their madness is more insidious
than simply procuring a meal.
There’s been plenty of discussion about controlling
weapons to hopefully stave off the next school shooting,
but the media has been mute over the role hunting plays
in conditioning people to killing. And the New York
Times article is a shameful example of the press pandering
to the 5 percent who still find pleasure in taking life. Do
we really want to encourage 7.8 billion humans to go out
and kill wildlife for food as if hunting is actually sustainable and wild animal flesh is an unlimited resource?
Overhunting has proven time and again to be the direct
cause of extinction for untold species, including the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet and the Eastern elk.
Meanwhile, hunters out west are doing a bang-up job of
driving wolves back to the brink of oblivion for the second time in as many centuries.
Heavey ended his Times article gloating, “I have stolen
food. And it is good.” Like serial killers and school shooters, hunters objectify their victims; so insignificant are
they to them that hunters don’t even recognize them for
what they are—fellow sentient beings. Does somebody
have to point out the obvious—he didn’t just steal “food,”
he stole a life.
Most people are anthropocentric by nature and have little or no compassion for non-humans. To reach the average reader, the mainstream media tries to frame everything in the context of how it affects people. Keeping a
record of hunting accidents may seem a rather morbid
effort, but it’s a good way to remind the public about the
lethal violence inherent in the “sport” of hunting. If a
human doesn’t get maimed or killed once in a while, people continue to believe the misguided notion that hunting
is just a friendly, social hour for traditional family-values
proponents, “ethical” conservationists (claiming to be
doing the animals a favor by killing them) or worse yet,
those fashionable so-called locavore foodies who think of
wildlife only as a source of flesh to stuff in their trendy,
goateed, hipster gob.
Never mind that folks can get together in the out-ofdoors to take a hike, watch birds or photograph wildlife—
without taking any lives. No, hunting isn’t going to end
because of a high hunter body count. Not unless those
who survive are willing to teach others to learn from their
mistakes and encourage them to lay down their weapons
once and for all.
Okay, so maybe there’s sometimes more to sport hunting than just mindless plunking away at innocent, undeserving animals. Besides the selfish, sociopathic satisfaction they get out of snuffing out their fellow sentient
beings, some hunters are also motivated by the prospect of
eating the flesh of their conquests.
These so-called “sportsmen” (or women) are not starving or suffering in any way (outside of being burdened
with an abnormally low self esteem) at the time they commit their offenses — they just have a hankering for something perversely pleasurable to them. Here’s a description,
in a hunter’s own words, of how much he enjoyed consuming the flesh of a scarce, embattled trumpeter swan:
“You would think it would be goosey, but it’s more ducky,
tight grained, very flavorful. The fat was delicious. I
plucked it all the way to the chin and used the neck as a
sausage skin.” (From the article, “Utah hunters killed 20
rare trumpeter swans by accident this year. Here’s why
that matters.”)
https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2019/12/29/utah-hunters-killed-rare/
Clearly, some of these sport-eaters fancy themselves
gourmets and may even pride themselves in their abilities
to turn a deceased carcass into a delectable feast, but the
same could probably have been said about Jeffery
Dahmer and his unfortunate victims.
And the fictional serial killer (based on an actual doctor
incarcerated in Mexico), Hannibal Lecter displayed typical hunter-bravado when he bragged to FBI agent Clarice
Starling: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his
liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Sorry to
tell self-excusatory sportsmen and other unapologetic
killers, murder does not magically become sacred once
your victims’ flesh passes through your digestive tract.
But, everyone has a right to feed themselves and their
family, don’t they? Well, does everyone—all of nearly 7.8
billion humans and counting—have the right to subsist off
the backs of other animals when there are more humane
and sustainable ways to feed ourselves? How many selfproclaimed “subsistence” hunters are willing to give up
all their modern conveniences—their warm house, their
car, their cable TV or their ever-present and attendant
“reality” film crew—and live completely off the land like
a Neanderthal? Not many, I’m sure—at least not indefinitely. That I can guarantee.
Deer, along with most other animal species—besides
Homo sapiens, have built-in mechanisms that cause their
reproduction rate to slow down when their population is
high or food is scarce. Though state “game” departments
are loath to share any information that might work against
one of their arguments for selling hunting licenses, even
they know that in reality the wildlife can ultimately take
care of their own. According to the Western Association
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, “A mule deer herd that is
at or above the carrying capacity of its habitat may produce fewer fawns than one that is below carrying capacity.” https://docplayer.net/133460707-Of-nebraska-lincoln.html
The fact is, hunting encourages ungulates to reproduce
more, thus seemingly warranting the alleged need for population controls via, you guessed it, more hunting.
Hunting industry propagandists have a lot of people
convinced that culling is a necessary evil for controlling
animal overpopulation. Lethal removal is their one-sizefits-all solution, no matter the circumstance. But there are
always alternatives to that fatal fallback position. When
we finally get past the viewpoint of animals as objects, or
“property of the state,” and start to see them instead as
individuals, the justifications for culling begin to wear
thin.
Many places that provide habitat for healthy populations of deer could also support the natural predators who
evolved alongside them. All that’s required of humans is
to stay out of the way and let nature take its course, or, in
some cases, repair the damage they’ve done by reintroducing wolves or other native carnivores who were foolhardily eradicated. Yet, in the western US and Alaska, as
well as in Canada, natural predators are still being killed
to allow deer, moose or elk hunters a better chance of success. While some people complain that these browsers
and grazers have gotten too tame, hunters in states like
Idaho and Montana are whining that wolves make the elk
too wild and thus harder for them to hunt.
I tend to be even more cynical about areas where
humans have claimed every square inch for themselves
and aren’t willing to share with native grazers. When I
hear grumbling about deer, elk or geese pooping on a golf
course, I have a hard time relating to people’s grievances.
It’s the height of speciesism to expect that these animals
should face lethal culling for successfully adapting to an
unnaturally overcrowded human world.
Ours is the invasive species, overpopulating and
destroying habitats wherever we go. We wouldn’t want
some other beings jumping to a knee-jerk “cull them all”
reaction every time humans reached their carrying capacity in a given area.
Sooner or later Mother Nature will tire of humans’
destructive dominance and come up with a way to bring
life back into balance. I can just hear her telling off the
hunters: “Other animals have a right to be here too—just
live with it, Elmers!” ————————–
Portions of this article were excerpted from the
book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying
Sport by Jim Robertson