We get letters. Oh, do we ever get letters. And today we got one informing us hunting is wrong, ugly and sick. It is similar to many we get from folks purporting to be animal lovers, although their vitriol suggests they’re driven more by hatred of hunters than love of animals.
As you’ll soon read, Karen’s letter is quite mild in tone and almost reasonable if you ignore the inaccuracies and rash illogical assumptions. Let’s examine it and see where she’s gone wrong. Aside from the quotation marks, all grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation are hers. I’ll not list her email address to spare her potential harassment, even though I realize hunters rarely harass non-hunters for not hunting:
“hunting should be a thing of the past…joy in murdering a defenseless animal with a weapon is just wrong. justify it how you will, It is nothing but ugly and sick! But hey, so long as you are making money from it hey..it’s a noble ‘sport’…sick!!!”
Here is my quick reply:
“Karen, I can understand your sympathy for animals, but where do you get the idea hunting is wrong, ugly and sick? Nature invented/created/evolved hunters (carnivores) as a necessary part of the cycle of life. Are you saying all hunters (wolves, bears, lions, falcons, eagles, sharks, foxes, mink, wild dogs, bobcats…) are wrong, ugly, and sick, or only human animals? Or do you deny that humans are part of Nature? Or do you believe Nature/God got it wrong and humans should have been created with eyes on the sides of their heads and four rumen stomachs like sheep, antelope, deer, and similar herbivorous prey species? Or was Nature/God wrong to create predators, period? Because otherwise your position doesn’t make sense. By the way, if animals are defenseless, as you wrote, how have they managed to survive under daily predator threat for millions of years? Why do they have acute senses of smell, hearing, and sight? Why do they run or fly rapidly or hide so effectively? Why do they have antlers, horns, claws, teeth and kicking hooves? I’m trying to understand your reasoning and am having a really hard time with it.”
I don’t suspect Karen will be daunted or persuaded by my words, but others who read both messages might get the big picture. I hope so, because sustainable sport hunting with its rules and restrictions is the only hope for long term survival of wild places and wild things, as explained in this blog.
I think much of the confusion surrounding “sport” hunting is misunderstanding of the word “sport.” I’m preparing a detailed editorial addressing this, but basically the “sport” in sport hunting refers to the self-limiting rules and regulations we place upon the activity. Just as football and baseball have rules of play, so has sport hunting. Rather than the “no-holds barred” approach of poachers or market hunters, sport hunters limit themselves to short seasons, small harvest levels, and daylight shooting hours. They proscribe hunting from moving vehicles, from the air, with fully automatic firearms, with spotlights and much, much more. That’s what puts the “sport” in sport hunting. It’s not done flippantly.
Ron Spomer has been a self-confessed sport hunter for more than 50 years and has contributed thousands of dollars and hours toward wildlife restoration, protection, and enhancement programs. He’s currently beginning a habitat improvement program on formerly overgrazed sage-steppe habitat in the West, fueled in part by the flesh of mule deer, whitetails, elk, moose, pronghorn, pheasants, geese, turkeys…