State Agency Game Farming Is Not Compatible with Ecosystem Integrity

 

With the delisting of wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act, management of wolves has been turned back to the individual states where wolves occur. In most of these states, we see state agencies adopting policies that treat wolves as persona no grata, rather than a valued member of their wildlife heritage. Nowhere do I see any attempt by these state agencies to educate hunters and the general public about the ecological benefits of predators. Nor is there any attempt to consider the social ecology of wolves and/or other predators in management policies. Wolves, like all predators, are seen as a “problem” rather than as a valuable asset to these states.

 

In recent years state agencies have increasingly adopted policies that are skewed towards preserving opportunities for recreational killing rather than preserving ecological integrity. State agencies charged with wildlife management are solidifying their perceived role as game farmers. Note the use of “harvest” as a euphemism for killing. Their primary management philosophy and policies are geared towards treating wildlife as a “resource” to kill. They tend to see their roles as facilitators that legalize the destruction of ecological integrity, rather than agencies dedicated to promoting a land ethic and a responsible wildlife ethic.

 

Want proof? Just look at the abusive and regressive policies states have adopted to “manage” (persecute) wolves and other predators.

 

Idaho Fish and Game, which already had an aggressive wolf killing program, has just announced that it will transfer money from coyote killing to pay trappers to kill more wolves in the state so it can presumably increase elk and deer numbers.

 

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MDFWP) which many had hoped might be a bit more progressive in its predator attitudes, supports new regulations that will expand the wolf killing season, number of tags (killing permits), and reduces the license fee (killing fee) charged to out of state hunters who want to shoot wolves.

 

Wyoming is even more regressive. Wolves are considered “predators” with no closed season in many parts of the state.

 

Alaska, perhaps displaying the ultimate in 19th Century attitudes that seem to guide state Game and Fish predator policies, already has extremely malicious policies towards wolves, and is now attempting to expand wolf killing even in national parks and wildlife refuges (it is already legal to hunt and trap in many national parks and refuges). For instance the Alaska Fish and Game is proposing [aerial?]-gunning of wolves in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and wants to extend the hunting/trapping season on wolves in Lake Clark National Park, Katmai National Park, and Aniakchak National Preserve until June, long after pups have been born. Similar persecution of wolves to one degree or another is occurring in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, which have been given management authority for wolves in those states.

 

Although some states like Montana changed their name from “game” to wildlife, their attitudes and policies have not changed to reflect any greater enlightenment towards predators.

 

Montana recently increased the number of mountain lions that can be killed in some parts of the state to reduce predation on elk.

 

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is on a vendetta against a newly established mountain lion population in that state, and greatly increased mountain lion kill in a small and recently established population of these animals.

 

The Wyoming Game and Fish is almost salivating at the prospect of grizzly delisting so hunters can kill “trophy” grizzly bears.

 

I could give more examples of state game agencies that have declared war on predators in one fashion or another.

 

The point is that these agencies are still thinking about predators with a 19th Century mindset when the basic attitude was the “only good predator is a dead predator” and the goal of “wildlife management” was to increase hunter opportunities to shoot elk, deer, moose and caribou. These ungulates are seen as desirable “wildlife” and predators are generally viewed as a “problem.”

 

Many state game farming agencies suggest that they have to kill these carnivores to garner “social acceptance” of predators. Killing wolves, bears, coyotes and mountain lions is suggested as a way to relieve the anger that some members of the ranching/hunting/trapping community have towards predators. Is giving people who need counseling a license to kill so they can relieve their frustrations a good idea? Maybe we should allow frustrated men who are wife beaters to legally pound their spouses as well?

 

Despite the fact that many of these same agencies like to quote Aldo Leopold, author of Sand County Almanac, and venerate him as the “father” of wildlife management, they fail to adopt Leopold’s concept of a land ethic based upon the ecological health of the land.

 

Aldo Leopold understood that ALL wildlife have an important role to play in ecosystem integrity. Decades ago back in the 1940s he wrote: “The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism. Only those who know the most about it can appreciate how little we know about it. The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

 

To keep every cog and wheel means keeping not only species from going extinct, but maintaining the ecological processes that maintain ecosystem function. What makes state game farming policies so unacceptable is that there is no excuse for not understanding the ecological role of predators in ecosystem integrity. Recent research has demonstrated the critical importance of predators for shaping ecosystems, influencing the evolution of prey species, and maintaining ecosystem integrity. We also know that predators have intricate social relationships or social ecology that is disrupted or destroyed by indiscriminate hunting.

 

Yet state game farming agencies continuously ignore these ecological findings. At best the policies of game farming agencies demonstrates a lack professionalism, or worse, maybe they are just as ignorant of recent scientific findings as the hunters/trappers they serve.

 

Ironically these same state game farming agencies see that the numbers of hunters and anglers are declining, along with their budgets. Agencies depend upon the killing fees (licenses and tags) charged to hunters and anglers for the privilege of killing and privatizing public wildlife to run their operations. Yet instead of broadening their base of support from other wildlife watchers to those interested in maintaining ecological integrity, these agencies are circling the wagons, and adopting policies that reflect the worse behaviors and attitudes of the most ignorant and regressive hunting/trapping constituency. In the process, they are alienating more moderate hunters and anglers, as well as the general public.

 

The problem is that state game farming agencies have a conflict of interest. Their budgets depend on selling killing permits which depends upon the availability of elk, deer, moose and caribou to kill, not more predators. Any decline in the population of these “game” animals is seen as a potential financial loss to the agency. Therefore, these agencies tend to adopt policies that maintain low predator numbers. Yet these same agencies are never up front about their conflict of interest. They pretend they are using the “best available science” and “managing” predators to achieve a “balance” between game and predators.

 

Because of this conflict, game farming agencies turn a blind eye to ethical considerations as well. Most of the public supports hunting if one avoids unnecessary suffering of the animals—in other words, makes a clean kill. They also want to know the animal did not die in vain and the animals is captured and/or killed by generally recognized codes of ethical behavior. In other words, the animal is consumed rather than killed merely for “recreation” or worse as a vendetta and the wildlife has a reasonable chance of evading the hunter/trapper. But when the goal is persecution, ideas about ethics and “fair chase” are abandoned.

 

Personally I would rather see state agencies reform themselves and adopt more inclusive, informed and progressive attitudes towards all wildlife, especially predators. But judging from what I have seen, it appears these state game farming agencies are headed in the opposite direction.

 

If they continue down this path, it’s clear that they will lose legitimacy with the public at large. Efforts to take away management authority will only strengthen. For instance, voters in a number of states have already banned the recreational trapping of wildlife, always over the objections of state game farming agencies. Efforts are now afoot to ban trapping in Oregon and I suspect other states will soon follow suit.

 

The next step will be to take away any discretion for hunting of predators and perhaps ultimately hunting of all wildlife. The trend towards greater restrictions is seen as the only way to rein in the abusive policies of state game farming agencies. In California, the state’s voters banned hunting of mountain lions in 1991. Oregon banned hunting of mountain lion with dogs. In other states, there are increasing conflicts between those who love and appreciate the role of predators in healthy ecosystems, and state game farming agencies.

 

Bans on all hunting has even occurred in some countries. Costa Rica just banned hunting and Chile has so limited hunting that it is effectively banned.

 

I suggest that the negative and maltreatment of predators displayed by game farming agencies in the US, will ultimately hasten the same fate in the U.S.

avatar
About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

134 Responses to State Agency Game Farming Is Not Compatible with Ecosystem Integrity

  1. avatar jon says:

    Another great article George.

    • avatar Alan Gregory says:

      As long as state “game” and fish agencies (hook and bullet) are beholden to the revenue from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses for budge dollars, little will change anytime soon. Some states, like Pennsylvania, even have two bureaucracies to do the “managing:” the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission. All citizens of a given state should help fund their wildlife agencies, whether they hunt or fish or not. Missouri does so.

  2. avatar Immer Treue says:

    George, good article, and in its defense.

    Game farming is what so many are so accustomed to that they cannot see the forest for the trees. Witness the cases  of the Lolo elk in the West, and the MN deer population in particular and the Midwest in general.

    We hear so much of the Wolf impact on the Lolo elk.  One individual has continued to drone that the Lolo elk population’s drop from 20,000 to 2,000 was because of wolves. The 1988 elk census stood at 16,000, no wolves. But due to a number of factors, the most malignant being the winter of 96/97, the population dropped to~ 8,000. The Idaho IDFG points to 2005 as the time frame when wolf impact on the Lolo herd became significant.  Elk numbers~ 5,000.  Habitat, weather,  over hunting post Winter 96/97, bears, cougar, and most certainly wolves have prevented the elk numbers from rebounding. But one must ask, even without predation, would elk numbers rebound to 16,000 as in 1988?

    MN:  Considering an annual population estimate of 450,000 deer residing within all of Minnesota’s wolf range, the annual estimate of 45,000-57,000 deer taken by wolves, represents about 10 (this is the true definition of decimation) – 13% of that deer population.  Winter severity, hunter harvest, and maturation of forest habitat are all factors that contribute significantly to deer numbers in northern Minnesota. Overall, deer numbers in Minnesota forests are a result of direct management through hunter harvest and are influenced by the high reproductive potential of deer during mild years or the detrimental effects of severe winters.  During the brutal winter of  95/96 it was estimated as many as 30 % of MN does died. Ergo, wolf impact is not the Silver bullet in Terms of MN deer rise or decline.

    Also in MN, has clear-cutting increased favorable deer habitat to the detriment of moose in the form of brain worm? MN has initiated a five year study to assay the moose population.  Climate, deer, predation, or a combination of the three?

    CWD, Chronic Wasting disease, though not endemic to MN is in Wisconsin and Illinois. As rork brought up in Michigan, “We still had way too many (deer)– until this year – epizootic hemorrhagic disease (a virus) might have killed half the deer,”

    Epizootic hemorrhagic disease killed many Illinois deer as well.  Too many deer?

    What is the answer?  Allow predation, which will tend to be selective, sure wolves will kill healthy ungulates, but they’ll also take the weak that selective hunter won’t.  Or just allow more hunting to thin the ungulate numbers, and get rid of predation. More money for state “game farm” management, but is it good ecology?

    • avatar Ron Kearns says:

      There is an extensive anthropocentric chasm between genuine wildlife management and manipulative game management—the so-called, albeit misnomered, ‘North American Model of “Wildlife” Conservation’ touted and spouted as the new age holy grail by prejudiced state game commissioners and their game farm wardens.

    • avatar rork says:

      I am wildly enthusiastic about Immer’s note, but to be clear, my claim of half the deer dying of EHD near me in MI is a somewhat local thing, and I don’t know that it is correlated to deer densities (the way you’d expect it to be for CWD or TB). Maybe just random stuff.

      Not related to Immer’s note: I’m feeling that turmoil in deer densities, with occasional crashes, might be a good thing for forests near me, but might not be needed if we had all of our predators back and abundant and keeping ungulates well below carrying capacity (which, however, I do not expect to happen in the southern lower). Will managers ever be comfortable with roller-coaster graphs of ungulate populations, and say yep, that’s the way it goes, and that you actually cannot do better than that in the long run.

      Analogy: I am similarly skeptical of claims that clear cutting regimes give higher average deer densities than old growth, though every hunter in Michigan seems to know this as truth, because of the easy observation that for 10-20 years, there really are more deer at just that spot where the trees were removed. They aren’t counting the 20-100 year old conifer or poplar stands that follow, which are deer wastelands. Hunters traditionally hunting cut-over areas near the Au Sable years ago, now complain about deer being low cause of deer overharvest, and seem unable to realize that land is completely changed – the number of herbs and shrubs in some places can be counted with just one hand, and in conifer plantations, sometimes with no hands. They just keep going to the same spots.

    • avatar ramses09 says:

      Thanks for a good information source. Unfortunately, stupid folk don’t want to understand or care to understand the way nature works. They just want to KILL.

  3. avatar Rancher Bob says:

    George
    Appears all your dreams will come true, if your right, everyone party.

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      Ah yes – armchair quarterbacking. So simple, so clean. No stakeholders, no lobbyists, no legislators, no bureaucrats, no budget.

      But out on the playing field there are wildlife agencies all over the the country doing good work – in partnership with other agencies, NGOs, and even (gasp) sportsmens’ organizations.

      Odd, we never get any animal rights’ advocates to volunteer grunt work for our streambed restorations, or wetland reclamation projects – you know, heaving big rocks or shoveling smelly muck or hacking out buckthorn.

      Which is OK – we get lots of sportsmen and students offering to help.

      • avatar Jay says:

        “Odd, we never get any animal rights’ advocates to volunteer grunt work for our streambed restorations, or wetland reclamation projects – you know, heaving big rocks or shoveling smelly muck or hacking out buckthorn.”

        first off, how would you know–is that an interview question prior to accepting volunteers? Secondly, what is the incentive for these folks to volunteer when their opinions and input are routinely ignored by those state wildlife agencies?

        • avatar Kathleen says:

          “…what is the incentive for these folks to volunteer when their opinions and input are routinely ignored by those state wildlife agencies?”

          Exactly so. And by the way, I’ve done my share of hard volunteer labor in NM Wilderness–hauling out barbed wire fencing and bedsprings, breaching illegal stock ponds; disassembling and rehabbing fire rings in CO Wilderness (wanna talk about heaving big rocks?!?)and hand-pulling weeds on public land here in MT. Why would I work for a state agency that’s all about managing for the kill when I’m opposed to killing? An agency that has insisted on continuing to trap wolverines even when faced with everything we know (and don’t know) about them?

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “And by the way, I’ve done my share of hard volunteer labor in NM Wilderness–…”

            Good to hear – obviously, doing volunteer habitat improvement for an NGO is a good thing – but aren’t you pursuing the same goal when the work is under the auspices of a state wildlife agency?

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          “…what is the incentive for these folks to volunteer when their opinions and input are routinely ignored by those state wildlife agencies?”

          Oh gosh, I dunno… maybe to collaborate in doing some good work with other wildlife advocates, even if you don’t agree on some issues?

          As for “ignoring opinions and input”? I don’t know where you’re from, but wildlife agencies are ultimately managed by politics – so blaming the regional biologists or bureau managers doesn’t really accomplish anything. We’re just trying to do good work within the system.

          • avatar Jay says:

            “Oh gosh, I dunno… maybe to collaborate in doing some good work with other wildlife advocates, even if you don’t agree on some issues?”

            I don’t know where you’re from, but people out here in the west who aren’t hook-and-bullet types aren’t exactly made to feel welcome at f&G events. I’m not placing any blame, just pointing out a common sentiment amongst the non-exploitative users. Also, why do you assume that people that don’t participate in non-F&G sanctioned events don’t do some good or work towards ends that benefit wildlife? Nature Conservancy would be a good example.

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          I would add, having worked for the Office of Habitat Restoration under NOAA, and doing interviews and specifically filming dam removals, and habitat restoration projects post dam removals like wetland restoration projects etc that many people of all walks of life were involved. One project I remember in Tampa Bay involved several animal welfare groups coming out to help clean up fishing wire and monofilament that was entangled in the mangroves and would trap pelicans. Lots of people that have animal care or welfare at the core of their personal or nonprofit mission are involved in the collaborative community based restoration projects that are funded by and between state and or federal and NGO’s.

      • avatar ramses09 says:

        WTF????

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        Ma that statement is just not true
        “Odd, we never get any animal rights’ advocates to volunteer grunt work for our streambed restorations, or wetland reclamation projects – you know, heaving big rocks or shoveling smelly muck or hacking out buckthorn.”
        I know many advocates that work on these projects. There is a picture of me and my husband on a plaque at the Town Brook restoration in Plymouth Ma during a dam removal, my friends in the Appalachian club volunteer constantly to do brush removal etc.
        and many of those sportsmen groups you speak about volunteering are part of partnerships designed to be poster children for restoration projects that state or federal agencies partner with to bolster funding and to promote agency agendas. Often the grants that fund these cooperative projects are dreamed up and conceived for specific targeted campaigns and are not directed at or do not provide methods for individuals to participate. I used to review some of those grants for a community based restoration program and I know how they are set up, implemented, and promoted as partnerships.

  4. avatar Louise Kane says:

    George once again outstanding synopsis, this time of why states should not be “managing” wolves. Thank you again

  5. avatar april lane says:

    George, thank you for this incredible article. Attending the new House legislature mtgs. in Helena, is very disturbing to see how some are trying hard to ‘devalue’ predators here, starting with the wolf. So many extreme politicians who don’t even hide their hate for the species-very disturbing indeed that these people are trying to advance laws in our state like this. Hope for the power of the veto…

  6. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Thanks George and Immer.

    The following link contains an article written by Dr. A. B. Hatch in 1938 regarding the elk range condition in the South Fork of the Flathead, Montana and comparing it to the existing conditions in the Selway in Idaho. He became the first director of the newly formed Idaho Department of Fish and Game in 1939; as a result of philosophical differences with some of the Game Commissioners he did not last long in that position.
    http://phm.stparchive.com/Archive/PHM/PHM09301938p02.php

  7. avatar Kit Parker says:

    This unsound piss-poor management of ecological “conservation” is harming public perception of hunting. It’s embarrassing. I’m afraid the anti-hunting folks can’t be blamed so much if this keeps up. There is plenty of livestock free land for predators, to be out killing them to enable more elk & deer tags will expose greed and be the end of public respect. If you’re the “ethical” hunter it’s time to stand up and act like one, before this crap gets worse.

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      Kit,

      I’ve been saying this lately on this site and the response has been tepid at best.

      Ethical, conservation minded hunters are being lumped in with the extremist variety and the general public lumps all hunters under the extremist umbrella.

      A push back is required by who I feel are the majority of hunters…the ethical, conservation minded ones. Maybe, I’m wrong about the majority, but if they want to wipe the egg from their collective faces, they need to push back.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Jeff N.

        Practically speaking the hunters that count are the ones that are organized into groups — interest or “pressure” groups. Politicians listen to groups much more readily than they do individual voices, even when the individual voices are numerous.

        Unfortunately, most of the hunting groups today are backward and right wing, unfriendly to any broad perspective on wildlife and hostile to not only those who dislike hunting but also to those who are merely indifferent — if you are not with us, you are against us.

        Until strong pro-conservation hunting groups grow in size, politicians will view hunters as anti-conservation organizations, who view wildlife as alternative livestock, livestock that you have to kill yourself.

        • avatar Jeff N. says:

          Ralph/Mike Post,

          I agree with what you are saying. In my previous posts I have mentioned conservation minded hunting groups as well. I realize that these types of groups are in the minority and that their voices get drowned out by the larger “extreme” groups. However, if the members of these smaller, moderate groups refuse to speak up, then these hunters will continue to be lumped in the with larger, louder, extremist groups, and the perception of hunters will continue to take a beating. That was my point, and trust me, I realize it isn’t an easy process but it has to start somewhere and it has to happen from the inside.

          Of course, what Mike Post said is also an important point. Non-consumptive users must find a way to influence wildlife management policies, and maybe a non-consumptive fee is an answer, or at least part of it. However, as much as this idea is floated around and advocated by consumptive users on this site, it is my guess that for most of the consumptive users the current operating procedures are just fine with them. I don’t think that they’d roll out the red carpet to the non-consumptive user, even if they paid a fee. I’m not sure how welcome the non-hunters would be at the table. It would get pretty nasty….but as I said, we have to start somewhere.

          • avatar ma'iingan says:

            “…these type of groups are in the minority and that their voices get drowned out by the larger “extreme” groups.”

            I don’t know where you’re getting your demographic data, but the vast majority of hunters don’t belong to any group at all – unfortunate, because they have no voice, and more importantly no lobbying power.

            And you just stated in a post up the page that “a push back is required by who I feel are the majority of hunters… the ethical, conservation minded ones.”

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Thanks Kit
      coyote and predator killing contests, penning and trapping at the forefront of unethical behavior I would think by most people’s standards. What about a hunters and non hunters site working together to condemn these horrid practices.

  8. avatar mikepost says:

    I do not disagree that the business model used by most wildlife agencies is skewed but it is what they have at the moment. Hunter dollars are funding the vast majority of state wildlife activities either thru licence/tag sales or Pitmann-Robertson funds. In many cases there are entire communities where small business and small ranch success depends upon the influx of hunting related dollars. Given this business model, one can hardly fault the agencies for catering to their revenue generators and being politically influenced by those business communities that hunters support and the elected reps from those areas.

    Funding of wildlife services needs to be independant of a single class of “users” and that means non-hunters, not hunters, need to push back and establish other budgetary mechanisms for funding wildlife agencies, and of course absorb their fair share of the cost along with the hunter community.

    • avatar JEAN says:

      Pitman Robertson is not “hunters dollars at all. they are dollars that primarily come from handgun sales, which are not hunters. also the use of these funds for primarily male dominated activities of killing needs real change immediately. it is gender specific in most cases. also in our state, the hunters consistently grab millions and millions of dollars for spending from non hunters. they dont exist on their own little contribution at all. license sales are not that big and the hunters are grabbing pitman robertson, green acres and charging all their buildigns off to general taxpayers. when you examine the general tax dollars that are grabbed by hunting groups (state agencies) it is enormous and in the trillions of dollars. they are NOT LIVING ON WHAT THEY SPEND FOR HUNTING LICENSES.

      • avatar Dominique Osh says:

        You are so RIGHT Jean, exactly, tax payers funding special interest group, this has to stop!

      • avatar savebears says:

        God, here we go again.

      • avatar Tim says:

        Wow! A little misinformation in that post. So your saying that nobody hunts with pistols huh? I guess I will have to return my 44 revolver I bought specifically for hunting then. I also didn’t realize our game departments have trillions of dollars to spend. I got into the wrong field of work if that’s the case. We as hunters pay for the management of all wildlife. Not just the ones that get hunted. So on behalf of all the hunters that pay to manage the wildlife you enjoy. Your welcome.

    • avatar JB says:

      “Given this business model, one can hardly fault the agencies for catering to their revenue generators and being politically influenced by those business communities that hunters support and the elected reps from those areas.”

      Mike: Per usual we mostly agree. I’ll add, I don’t fault agencies for catering to those that “pay the bills”, but I do fault them when they’re two-faced about this relationship (as when agency representatives argue that ‘we manage wildlife for all citizens’ or ‘we consider all input’). I’ve had papers rejected for the mere suggestion that agencies are biased in favor of consumptive use; a notion that anyone who works for or with an agency takes for granted.

  9. The IDFG commission is proposing to pay trappers to trap MORE wolves in some of their managment areas. Public comments will be allowed at their meeting 7:00 pm.,Wednesday night (tomorrow) at the IDFG headquarters in Boise.
    I just purchased my 60th Idaho hunting and fishing license, but I have always thought that trapping was something that should have ended with Jim Bridger when the beaver were all trapped out in the 1800s.
    It is a cruel and psychopathic business at best. Leaving wolves or any other animal to suffer for days in a trap is not fair chase by any definition. Those that practice trapping and those who permit it should not be allowed near our wildlife.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      My thoughts exactly Larry
      stay away from wildlife with your traps, snares and cruel death devices. They can’t speak for themselves but we can. Everybody seems to agree these activities no longer constitute fair chase or ethical hunting, so lets stop them. Speak up hunters or not. I’d like to see anyone defending trapping spend a couple of days shackled to one of those devices

  10. avatar RK says:

    Mr. Wuerthner,

    I liked your article; however, the following hyperbolic sentences markedly tainted your otherwise cogent premise.

    {Quote:

    Is giving people who need counseling a license to kill so they can relieve their frustrations, a good idea? Maybe we should allow frustrated men who are wife beaters to legally pound their spouses as well?

    End Quote}

  11. avatar Ann Sydow says:

    Another wonderfully clear and logical article by George Wuerthner ! :D

  12. avatar WLLK says:

    I am a lifelong hunter, I own property and pay taxes in WY and ID. I HOPE there are many more like me who read this article and are similarly moved by it. SO right on. I want to read it out loud to every hunter and outdoorsman I know.

    The only element I would add is the notion that the animals we hunt ARE beautiful and strong and wild BECAUSE of eons of interaction with predators. That so many (not all) in “game management” cannot see that a balanced ecosystem is an intact ecosystem is sad and unfortunate and will, as you say, be their downfall as the rest of the country recoils from the brutality and ecological shallowness of their tactics and mindset. A game farm is not a forest.

  13. Can’t agree more. Thank you. Until humans learn not.to destroy themselves and everything and everyone around them, violence against each.other and animals will.continue to.exist. so sad for each and every animal lost.

  14. avatar Justin Forte says:

    This article exposes the truth about how corrupt and backwards our government really is on wildlife policy. Thank you for speaking the truth.

  15. avatar michele venters says:

    let them be wild….wasting disease…blue tongue already a result of game farming….they need to be in the wild eating wild vegatation…not fenced in eating monsanto GMO corn…

  16. avatar Thomas Murphy says:

    the dnr and fish and wildlife services are full of hunter/trappers, they are skewed agencies that favors hunters and trappers. they need to be dismantled and reformed to have a objective view of wildlife management. the politicians are mainly to blame for giving full rein of the management for the wolves and other animals now being slaughtered as a result of this decision.

  17. avatar smalltownID says:

    Sad to see so many people wholeheartedly buy into George’s generalizations about wildlife agencies. Thanks for merely mentioning some agencies are doing great collaborative work Ma’ingaan. Look no further than the 3 non-game biologist positions open currently in the IDFG as evidence of their ‘non-consumptive’ effort.

    George, I have now read two of your articles and I personally feel you are doing a great disservice to wildlife management in your articles. Your other article was on sage grouse research, and similarly, a gross and inaccurate generalization. Your generalizations (articles) are biased and only encourage divisiveness about wildlife management. You offer no tangible solutions as far as I can tell. There are so many people from hunting groups, wildlife agencies, conservation groups and even cattle ranchers (the blasphemy this must appear to some of you!) collaborating on fish and wildlife projects.

    • avatar Dominique says:

      George’s rationalization of the F &G/W is absolutely correct, from the small town to the large suburban areas, are all run by Hunters and have been for a long, long time..the public has been completely naive to their real motives of managing the Wildlife, again the number of hunters are a mere 2% at best and they make the decisions with tax payer’s subsidies for “special interest groups” the facts are there to support this upside down anyway you want to look at it. Sure there may be a “few” of you that care about managing the environment and animals in a “true” conservation method, but that word “Conservationist” is highly controversial in my book these days, from the Buffalo in Yellowstone to the Wolves, Horses, Exotics, Horses, these white men cannot destroy and kill fast enough. You do not understand if you consider animals property, and if anything, the animals, the land, belong to all of us, yet, when all of us speak up from the local level to the gov. level, our voices are not heard, over and over again, why?

  18. avatar ramses09 says:

    Another great read George.
    As for smalltownID, you folks in ID. don’t want to listen to sound science. Someone who has studied a certain animal for 25 or 30 years I would think they woul dknow what the hell they are talking about. But I have been to Boise, the hatred for the wolf or any other predator (but especially the wolf) is passed on through generations of family members. Whether or not you folks out west believe science or not …….. SCIENCE DOES NOT LIE!!
    Ranchers – most of them are lazy & takers of government $$

    • avatar Rancher Bob says:

      ramses09
      “Ranchers-most of them are lazy&takers of government$$”
      You have any science to back up that comment or is your mouth just running off like normal. Love to see you last a week on any ranch in my area. I have some 70 plus year old’s down the road, that could make you eat those words, and if you find any government money it’s yours. Your just a waste of good water and air, because science is proven wrong every day by new science.

    • avatar Cobra says:

      Ramses09,
      So you’ve been to Boise and that makes you an authority on how things should work in Idaho?
      Did you get out of Boise and do any hiking or talking with ranchers or other outdoorsmen? I’m with Bob, you wouldn’t last a day working on a ranch or farm. Get real.

  19. avatar Ed Loosli says:

    Many state game/wildlife departments have no interest in wildlife conservation. They only want game numbers kept high so their salaries are maintained. A true conflict of interest.

    It is beyond me why the federal govenment does not take over the management of wildlife on OUR public lands, such as National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges,and BLM lands. It is inexcuseable that wolves are even being slaughtered in Natinal Parks in Alaska and also in National Forests just outside Yellowstone Nat. Park. — Bison are also slaughtered in the National Forests outside Yellowstone. The Feds could prohibit these regressive practices, but there seems to be no movement to get them to take over and ban predator and Bison hunting on Federal lands.

    • avatar Laurel Gress says:

      You’re absolutely right, state government officials seem to be the people most bent on destruction of their own state’s natural resources and wildlife. We have to get after our U.S. Senators and Rpresentatives to assume the responsibilities that belong to the federal government. Problem is, most of them (at least in the House) are Republicans, who are notoriously anti-environmental.

      • avatar savebears says:

        The dems have done no better job in the last couple of decades than the repubs, both parties have thrown conservation out the window in favor of exploitation.

        The Supreme Count has ruled in the states favor on the issues of wildlife management.

        • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

          Dems now are what used to be called moderate Republicans but Reps have moved so far right that they are not traditional party anymore

          in many ways Nixon was the last liberal president in the USA (that’s conventional wisdom)

    • avatar savebears says:

      They can’t without over turning the rulings that have been handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, there have been many cases over the years about this very subject, which is why the state manage wildlife that reside within their borders.

      Remember that OURS is also the hunters, they are included in OURS.

      • avatar Laurel Gress says:

        Wow, I did’t know the Supreme Court did that, and probably many others don’t either. Those justices must have been either extremely anti-animal or woefully ignorant of environmental issues of the day. I always have thought that WAAAAAAY too much power has been put into the hands of just 9 people. They’re only humans like the rest of us, after all!

        • avatar savebears says:

          That is why it is important to use the search feature, and have an understanding of the topics that have been discussed.

          Actually our form of government was set up a certain way for certain reasons, no one branch can have to much power over the others. If they did, then we would have unconstitutional laws being passed and enforced all the time, as they did in many countries in the past.

          • avatar Laurel Gress says:

            You might be interested in this post from the Care2 website. Seems it IS possible for the federal gov’t. to overrule states in regard to wildlife:

            Despite protests from Alaska, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that polar bears will keep their “threatened” status and continue to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.

            Polar bears were listed under the ESA in 2008 as a result of a petition and legal action taken by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace. They were the first species added to the list solely because of the threat of climate change.

            There are still an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the wild around the world, with two-thirds of the population in Canada, but they face a number of threats ranging from the loss of sea ice which they rely on for survival, to disease, pollution, shipping and hunting, among other issues.

            “This ruling forces Alaska to acknowledge what has been painfully clear to everyone else: polar bears are on a collision course with climate change and deserve protection,” said Rebecca Riley, attorney in NRDC’s land and wildlife program. “Now, we need to get serious about tackling climate change and other threats to the species like hunting and toxic contamination.”

            Their status has been controversial in Alaska, where they’re seen as impeding development, particularly when it comes to drilling for oil. The state, along with the international hunting group Safari Club International, argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) should have taken into account the fact that polar bears are doing well elsewhere in the world where steps are being taken to increase their numbers, according to the LA Times.

            However, the court found that the USFWS’s decision to list them was scientifically supported, noting the record low in sea ice in 2007, which “further support[s] the concern that current sea ice models may be conservative and underestimate the rate and level of change expected in the future.”

            • avatar savebears says:

              Yes, in the case of endangered and threaten species, the Fed take the lead, but that is not what we are talking about, wolves are not listed as endangered. Wolves are a recovered species, classified as a game animal in the states where hunting seasons are allowed.

              No matter what the subject matter when it comes to wildlife, it is easy to find exceptions based on the Endangered Species List, but again, that is not what we are talking about.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                wolves are most certainly not recovered – perhaps by law under the lousy ESA compromised recovery plan but I don’t think anyone in their right mind or without an agenda would argue that RM wolves are still “recovered”. Go ahead and scream….a measly beleaguered, hunted relentlessly tortured population of 150 wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho is a travesty and an insult to the American public. Who knows how many are in Wyoming left and Montana and Idaho don’t do real counts. Its BS to say they are recovered. They are just as threatened as they ever were by ignorance, stupidity, shortsighted and inhumane policies. Hunting has made it worse.

              • avatar savebears says:

                That is your opinion Louise

                • avatar Dominique Osh says:

                  Jeff, why are you “savethebears”? I highly doubt it, your perspective is that of someone that works in the “agencies”.. no matter how you spin it, you are basing your argument on lies. The wolves may be delisted, but that’s the point, some corrupt, kill happy nutjob, or several nutjobs made the decision to delist them, doesn’t mean it should have happened, the system is corrupt, run by biased bigots who have to kill an innocent animal just to feel they got away with violating a life, like a sociopathic abuser, has to have an unfair advantage and control, with only apathy for it’s victims..and all you sicko’s put yourselves in the political positions to stick up for each others right to do so,,I reiterate, Hunters only account for 2% of the population. At every level, from small town to large urban areas, I see the people sitting on the boards are always 5 to 1 or 5-2 5-7 hunters dominating, bulling the tax payers into getting their way, people are now aware and fed up with these tactics from a bunch of cry baby bullies and things are changing, you can’t fight it any longer.

          • avatar JB says:

            Laurel:

            State governments are generally responsible for wildlife conservation and management activities under the public trust doctrine. This legal doctrine recognizes that there are some resources that are not able to be owned, and are therefore held “collectively” by state governments on behalf of their citizens.

            In a few instances, the federal government has seized control. These generally include: (a) federally-listed threatened and endangered species, (b) migratory birds protected by international treaty, (c) wildlife on SOME federal lands (e.g., National Parks, DOD lands), and in the case of certain animals that have special, protections under federal legislation (e.g., wild and feral horses and burros on some federal lands, and bald and golden eagles).

            There are a variety of things the federal government could do to provide additional protections for wolves that have been discussed here ad nauseum. However, in lieu of overwhelming public outcry, such action is extremely unlikely in the short term.

            • avatar Kathleen says:

              It’s a nice fiction that the states have ultimate control over wildlife on federal lands–a fiction that the states are eager to promulgate and one that far too many Feds are willing to capitulate to. Kleppe v. New Mexico is the major Supreme Court case setting that record straight; speaking unanimously: the

              “‘complete power’ that Congress has over public lands necessarily includes the power to regulate and protect the wildlife living there.” In addition, the Supreme Court said that Congress may enact legislation governing federal lands pursuant to the property clause and “when Congress so acts, federal legislation necessarily overrides conflicting state laws under the supremacy clause.”
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleppe_v._New_Mexico

              In Hughes v. Oklahoma: the Supreme Court ruled on state “ownership” of animals, calling it a “19th Century legal fiction.”
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_v._Oklahoma

              • avatar savebears says:

                The key is “Conflicting state laws” Just because you feel the current situation is conflicting, does not mean it is so, the current hunting seasons have the blessing of the Federal Agency in charge of the management of the wolves and have signed off on the state plans. They have transferred management to the states.

                Based on both Federal Law and State Law, legally there is no conflict to invoke the supremacy clause.

              • avatar JB says:

                Kathleen:

                It certainly is a fiction that it is not in the federal government’s power to control wildlife on federal lands–Kleppe sets the record straight. However, absent specific federal legislation, states generally have control over wildlife. I (and others) have noted that agencies such as the Forest Service and BLM could get involved, but thus far they have chosen not to.

  20. I want to thank George Wuerthner for revealing the true identity and purpose of state Wildlife Agencies who claim to represent all wildlife advocates while acting only in behalf of hunters. By calling these agencies, game farming agencies, it helps us remove the veil of fairness under which these state government agencies hide.

  21. avatar Laurel Gress says:

    Removing predators just to create a larger supply of “game” animals is inherently unfair. Predators and hunters should be on a level playing field. After all, the predators have to hunt and kill in order to eat. Hunters are just killing for the “fun” of it.

    • avatar savebears says:

      Tell that to the many of us, that only eat wild meat, killing for fun, what a crock!

      • avatar Laurel Gress says:

        Well, you’re certainly in a tiny minority. Guess you’re in the same category with wolves, bears and cougars. But I’ll bet most people who hunt also shop for their meat at the supermarket!

        • avatar savebears says:

          Laurel,

          Not here in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, you would be amazed at how important the ability to hunt and put meat in the freezer is to many families, I know hundreds of hunters that depend on the meat they take in the fall to feed their family through the winter. I also know many that raise their own cattle to slaughter and put in the freezer. Putting meat in the freezer is very important to those of us that live in states that have very poor economies and high unemployment.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Not to nit-pic here SB but I know one “hunter” that got his elk and most of the meat sat in his freezer for years. And don’t ya know? He went back out a few years later and shot another elk. That meat got packaged and filed right along side the old meat.

            He and the family moved and most of it (what they couldn’t give away) went to the local landfill.

            And, I just recently helped a friend “clean out” her aging dad’s freezer (he’s a rancher) a good portion of the meat in that freezer, was dated from 1996 on. And guess what? That meat, around 300 lbs. or so, also went to the local landfill.

            I’ve wondered how often this happens when the life of another species comes so cheap.

            I’m sure the magpies, ravens and an assortment of other critters feasted before it was buried but the point is, a butchered, wrapped elk (not to mention a cow) amounts to a hell of meat and its real easy to get tired of the taste of either one, with some many other selections out there at the local supermarkets – like pork, chicken, seafood etc.)

            Spent some time a few years ago, cooking for a hay crew on a local ranch and everyone was thrilled, I mean THRILLED, when I would put together a meal that DIDN’T include beef.

            Get my drift?

            • avatar savebears says:

              Nancy,

              I have seen it happen before, but I don’t believe that is the norm, I have been eating either deer or elk for over 4 years now and never get tired of it and I feel much better for it, last time I had any beef was at a local restaurant and they are considered one of the best in the state, talk about bloated and just down right crappy feeling for a day after eating it.

              Your drift is not the normal from the hunters I know, I just gave some to a friend of mine because he ran out, I doubt I will hunt this year, due to the fact I got both a deer and an elk this last season.

              • avatar savebears says:

                Just to add Nancy, if you look it is always easy to find a few that are not doing things right, but anti’s seem to try and find it all the time.

                In my experience, it is the exception and not the norm.

              • avatar Nancy says:

                “Your drift is not the normal from the hunters I know, I just gave some to a friend of mine because he ran out, I doubt I will hunt this year, due to the fact I got both a deer and an elk this last season”

                But what are your thoughts SB to my question of:

                “I’ve wondered how often this happens when the life of another species comes so cheap”

                Or should I of said “the death” of another species comes cheap?

              • avatar savebears says:

                Nancy,

                I said, I have seen it happen, but I don’t find it the norm, hell when my mother died, I cleaned out her freezer and it was loaded with beef, she had a tendency to hoard when she had the money to purchase meat. She grew up with very little and she over compensated when she got older.

                I don’t think the majority do what you are describing, now that said, I have encouraged some hunters to donate their meat to the food bank, if they don’t think they are going to use it all, most do, there is a very successful program in this country called “Hunters for Hunger” they have chapters in every state and they donate a heck of a lot of meat to the food banks around this country.

                Sometimes I think there is far to much nit picking on some of these topics.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              “amounts to a hell of meat”

              As in “amounts to a hell of a lot of meat” or as some could say “a mountain of meat” depending on how you look at it :)

              What happened to that edit button Ken, Ralph?

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              Nancy,
              not to nit- pic but how many pounds of vegetables, salad, leftovers, did you throw out from 1996 to present? bread? pasta?

              (Nancy, I realize you try to keep your “waste” to to minimum,and you do realize that, but for the wider discussion……)?

              • avatar Nancy says:

                Jeff E – I have a handful of chickens so anything like vegetables, salad (leftovers) gets put to good use, just so YOU know, for the wider discussion :)

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                ….and what is the use of those chickens…?

              • avatar Kathleen says:

                “…not to nit- pic but how many pounds of vegetables, salad, leftovers, did you throw out from 1996 to present? bread? pasta?”

                Those vegetables, bread, and pasta weren’t once sentient beings who valued their lives. The issue isn’t so much one of waste as it is wasting the life of another who wanted basically what we want–to be left alone to pursue their interests.

              • avatar savebears says:

                “Those vegetables, bread, and pasta weren’t once sentient beings who valued their lives. The issue isn’t so much one of waste as it is wasting the life of another who wanted basically what we want–to be left alone to pursue their interests.”

                Maybe not Kathleen, but do you know how many beings were killed in growing and harvesting those grains, pasta and vegetables, Tens of millions of small animals are killed every year that are directly connected to those crops and their processing.

              • avatar Kathleen says:

                savebears: “Tens of millions of small animals are killed every year that are directly connected to those crops and their processing.”

                I’ve run into this argument so many times now that I wonder if the carnists have distributed a play book of approved answers! I simply can’t improve on Gary Francione’s (lawyer, philosopher, animal rights theorist) answer–

                If we shift from a meat-based agriculture to a plant-based agriculture, we will inevitably displace and possibly kill sentient animals when we plant vegetables. Surely, however, there is a significant difference between raising and killing animals for food and unintentionally doing them harm in the course of planting vegetables, an activity that is itself intended to prevent the killing of sentient beings.

                In order to understand this point, consider the following example. We build roads. We allow people to drive automobiles. We know as a statistical matter that when we build a road, some humans–we do not know who they are beforehand–will be harmed as the result of automobile accidents. Yet there is a fundamental moral difference between activity that has human harm as an inevitable but unintended consequence and the intentional killing of particular humans. Similarly, the fact that animals may be harmed as an unintended consequence of planting vegetables, even if we do not use toxic chemicals and even if we exercise great care to avoid harming animals, does not mean that it is morally acceptable to kill animals intentionally.

                This is from #12 of his FAQs.
                http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/faqs/#.UTeXx47H220

              • avatar savebears says:

                See Kathleen as a biologist, I don’t accept Gary’s take on things, I believe he is an extremist.

                We knowing plant vegetables, grains and such, with full knowledge we are going to harm animals, it is not unintended, it is a forgone conclusion.

                As I have stated many times, I have no desire to change to a non-meat based diet, I know for a fact that the diet I choose, will result in the intentional killing of animals, those who are vegan or vegetarian, seem to think because they say the harm to animals is unintentional, then it is okay.

                The key is, knowing full well that animals are going to be killed in the planting and harvest of grains and vegetables, you are simply saying you don’t care. So your choice to choose a non-meat diet, is just as destructive as my pro-choice meat diet.

              • avatar savebears says:

                Then of course, you bring “Morals” into the argument, like that is going to make a difference, morals are judgement, your morals are not my morals, I fully accept the fact that I am going to intentionally cause the death of an animal to provide meat for my family, you don’t accept the fact that your choice is going to result in the death of thousands or millions of animals.

        • avatar Elk275 says:

          It is cheaper to buy meat form the supermarket. But I love to hunt and the cost is not going to affect my hunting.

          • avatar savebears says:

            Beings I can hunt out my back door and I butcher and wrap my own meat, it is not cheaper for me to buy meat at the market, in addition to the wild game being healthier than what you buy in the stores.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              So Elk pretty much sums it up SB? – “I love to hunt and the cost is not going to affect my hunting”

              • avatar savebears says:

                Nancy,

                Elk has his own reasons for hunting, as long as he does it legally, it is not my concern, my primary reason for hunting is food and that is not to say he does not eat what he takes, but his reasons are his, mine are mine, I can hunt for less because I don’t have to travel as far as some people do.

                Being honest with you, as long as the person is hunting legally, it is their business why they are hunting.

              • avatar Elk275 says:

                Nancy, I like to hunt period. Any animal that I have shot have been fully eaten. Some years back I killed a good bull moose in Alaska and took 60 pounds of loin home, before the hunt I went down to Homer and caught a couple of hundreds pounds of halibut that is worth the extra baggage charge.

                The rest of the meat, 500 pounds, my cousin give away. The following summer he told me how 500 pounds of moose meat made made 4 faimiles very happy that winter. Enough said. Oh! I love halibut.

                • avatar Dominique Osh says:

                  Actually, there are extremely harmful prions (Google it) in any wildlife meat, linked to many diseases, one they are finding some evidence suggesting Alzheimer’s, Humans are herbivores, this is a Fact. There is no need to hunt to survive in this century, there are stores with healthy sustainable food available to everyone in the U.S., give me a break,stop pretending your living in the old west, being lazy and making excuses to promote disease, cruelty and death.

              • avatar savebears says:

                Dominique,

                Sure there are plenty of stores with plenty of food, For those who can afford to pay the prices for organic, hormone free, I don’t know where you are getting this “Humans are herbivores” Since the beginning of time, humans have been omnivores.

                90% of my meat intake is wild meat that either my wife or I take, we are healthier because of it.

                My hunting cost very little, I only have to buy my license and tag, and step out my back door.

                Who are you to tell us, how we should eat? Really it is none of your business, you eat the way you want, we American’s will eat the way we want.

                • avatar Dominique Osh says:

                  “Savethebears” I am my brothers keeper, ~♥~ “Blessed is He Who, in the Name of Charity & Good Will, Shepherds the Weak through the Valley of Darkness, for He is Truly His Brothers Keeper & Finder of Lost Children” ~♥~ There is much scientific research to indicate humans are and originally were herbivores.. we are civilized now, and need to embrace evolution as a fact hillbillies, seriously, evolve already! ANIMALS are NOT OURS to KILL!!

              • avatar savebears says:

                As Long as I buy the tag and follow the law, then my it is mine to kill and in the state of Montana, that right to hunt is protected by the state constitution.

                Now being a biologist, I will disagree with your theory of humans being a herbivore, there is to much evidence that we have eat meat and fish for many tens of thousands of years. I have read quite a number of studies on what mammals eat, including herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.

                I have evolved, I started hunting with a gun and now I have become very good with a longbow and wooden arrows, a fact that I am quite proud of, have never lost an animal and they have always tasted great!

                I reiterate, it is NONE of your business what I or others eat, you eat what makes you happy and I will eat what makes me happy, keep your passages to yourself, I don’t particularly believe in the bible or the scriptures so they have no great meaning to me.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              Not is the cost of hunting less.(for me)(if I am fortunate: adds to my larder, my family, friends and acquaintances also)… but I buy a half beef every year, that is hormone and antibiotic free, raised 100% on private ground, 97%+ lean, and overall is less than what any of you would pay in any store you would choose to shop in.

              • avatar Cobra says:

                Dominique,
                Lazy?
                This year when I get my elk I will give you a call to help me pack it out and then you can talk about how lazy we are. Better yet tag along for the season and then maybe you’ll see just how easy it is.

                • avatar Dominique Osh says:

                  You miss the point completely, I hike miles uphill on mountains “Cobra” man, and I respect nature, it is their forest,I am just visiting, taking only photos and memories of the beauty. Only believe in killing the non-innocent animals, the diseased human predators that have to destroy everything they touch.

              • avatar savebears says:

                Watch out “Cobra” man, here we go again, being lectured by our enlightened friends from across the pond!

              • avatar savebears says:

                By the way Domino! What is your definition of a hillbilly?

              • avatar Robert R says:

                Dominique you are not being realistic at all.

                • avatar Dominique Osh says:

                  Really? This year is starting off pretty good,
                  2013

                  January
                  AL: Longtime athletic trainer, referee Joe Davis recovering after hunting accident
                  MS: School bus shooting investigated as a hunting accident
                  AL: Man killed in hunting accident
                  OR: Rescuers located elk hunter after call for help
                  VA: Essex Deputy involved in Sharps hunting accident listed as in “stable” condition
                  AR: Louisiana man dies 1 week after hunting accident in Ark
                  NC: Deaf hunter survives serious leg injury
                  MS: Hunter Arrested
                  TX: Local air-lifted after hog-hunting accident
                  PA: Hunting charges filed
                  NC: Alexander teen hurt in hunting accident
                  OH: Man Arrested For Hunting Deer in Backyard
                  MS: Reggie Williams has new appreciation for life, hunting after near-fatal accident
                  NY: Kayaker rescued while duck hunting
                  SC: Fog, camouflage clothing possible factors in hunting incident
                  AL: Tuscaloosa teen fatally shot at Sumter County hunting club
                  LA: Two Marksville Men Cited for Illegal Hunting Activities In LaSalle Parish
                  CO: Rescuers save 60-year-old hunter from frigid Colorado River
                  GA: Boy recovering after hunting accident
                  “MS: Hunter accidentally shot, killed during ‘deer drive’
                  LA: Reserve man shot in the neck by his hunting partner in accident
                  TX: Surgery scheduled for teen shot by dad
                  VA: Fatal Hunting Accident Being Investigated
                  FL: FWC: Cedar Key man killed while hog hunting
                  NJ: Father accidentally shoots teen son in face in South Jersey hunting accident
                  NJ: No charges so far in Millstone hunting accident
                  AZ: Coco Deputies Investigate Bizarre Hunter Shooting
                  VA: Fancy Gap man killed by his son in New Year’s Day hunting accident

              • avatar Robert R says:

                Dominique why are you targeting hunters when there are more people killed daily by gangs in the United States.

              • avatar savebears says:

                Hmmm,

                Nothing on your list from Montana, Your list has convinced me that I am pretty safe. Dominique, your definition of hillbilly is wrong.

  22. avatar Snaildarter says:

    My rule has always been never kill anything you don’t intend to eat and I don’t eat much meat these days, most of the meat comsumed in my house is by my pets.
    2 cats and 2 dogs.

    • avatar TC says:

      That leads to an interesting question – how many people shun meat/shun livestock production or “factory farming”, and yet support said industries directly by feeding their pets commercial dog/cat food? Could one not make an argument that in fact this is even more cavalier (assuming an antagonistic attitude towards said industries) – supporting these industries to feed pets? Raping and pillaging our environments, polluting land, water, and air, burning through inordinate forage, water, and energy resources, to feed dogs and cats?!? Where do we draw lines, and who draws them? Life is a messy thing…

      • avatar savebears says:

        Well said TC, whether we choose to eat meat is our business, Cats and Dogs need meat proteins to survive and thrive.

  23. avatar Nancy says:

    “….and what is the use of those chickens…?”

    They lay eggs Jeff E. Wonderfully fresh eggs. A great source of protein.

  24. avatar JEFF E says:

    sounds good. i also buy fresh eggs from a family aquaintance.

    ..so all those chickens die of old age?

    Ever hear of the “law of diminishing returns”?

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Yep Jeff E, they die of old age. Nice retirement plan huh? I don’t have a problem with it especially after the years they put in, laying eggs for me :)

  25. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Oh, don’t get me started on that. I am a stickler for wasting food – there’s rarely anything that doesn’t get used fully, especially an animal that has had its life taken so that we can eat. I always try to turn leftovers into something good. I don’t eat red meat or pork – but I do eat chicken and seafood, and yes, I have a cat. But things are not black and white. We do the best we can. I’m not against meat eating, but I am against factory farming where animals are not treated like the sentient, living beings they are. Other animals eat meat, and we are no different. But we are capable of being humane and reducing suffering where possible when we do it – not turning a blind eye to it so that we can crank out more food and make more money.

  26. avatar Dominique Osh says:

    and there is always the “prions” that will get cha!

    • avatar savebears says:

      Well in over 50 years that has not happened, so I guess I am safe. Here in Montana, our herds of Deer and Elk are pretty safe, especially if they are cook properly. Thanks for the warning, I will stick to my healthy natural meat.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        One thing I will say, SB – you know I’m not a big hunting fan, but bowhunters at least even the odds a bit? It takes much more skill.

        • avatar Dominique Osh says:

          I wish you people would take your beer goggles off… People do not realize the sadism of bowhunting unless they see it for themselves which happened when Elks was bowhunted in front of eyewitness.

          • avatar Elk275 says:

            “happened when Elks was bow hunted in front of eyewitness.”

            It is a whitetail deer not an elk, one can see the white tail. If you want people to take you serious learn to identify the animal.

          • avatar JB says:

            Dominique:

            The term sadism has a very specific meaning–it denotes enjoyment of pain. Many who hunt do so because they enjoy HUNTING (the process of seeking and finding an animal), and of course, it is possible to very much enjoy hunting without enjoying killing or pain and suffering.

            [And you really should make sure you can tell an elk from a deer from a moose from a horse before you use said animals as props for your propaganda.]

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          Ida, can you imagine being shot with an arrow, for god’s sake. people bring their kids out and teach them to hunt with bows. I have seen videos where the child had to shoot an animal several times before it died. target practice on live animals is hard to understand.

          • avatar savebears says:

            Louise, yes, I agree with you, target practice in all states is actually against the law if it involves game animals, it should never happen. Kids don’t have the power to actually draw a bow that is capable of a clean quick kill. The deer and elk I have shot with a bow, have been complete pass through shots and they died very quickly, same thing with my wife’s animals she has taken. Of course we don’t shoot over 25 yards and we practice all the time to ensure we can hit exactly where we are aiming. My wife is a past national archery champion and can hit a quarter at 25 yards with ease.

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              from what I read, it seems there are few with your or your wife’s credentials or ethics. Unfortunately

              • avatar savebears says:

                Louise,

                Not everything you read is in fact true, there are many hundreds of thousands of skilled bowhunters in this country. Yes, there are unskilled, unethical bowhunters, just as there is in any walk of life, I know gun hunters than can’t hit the broad side of a barn. It is really a shame, that many want to believe that all hunters are bad, when in fact most are not…

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            I have a very narrow definition of what I find acceptable for hunting – treating an animal like an inanimate object or a ‘target’ for practice by any means isn’t it. A highly skilled hunter who hunts for food and the challenge of hunting his own food, who utimately respects life, and who is frugal and uses the meat fully is what I meant. Bowhunting is the most basic hunting tool and isn’t the easiest method, which makes it more difficult for a hunter (or huntress) and gives the animal more of a chance. Although I know there are more high-tech stuff. I also have always wondered about what SB said, factory farmed animals raised under poor conditions with stress hormones, pain and fear in the meat can’t be good to eat – it’s almost karmic to want to avoid that. A wild animal or an animal on a more traditional farm where they are outdoors and have some freedom would seem to be much better, especially since animals of all kinds do eat meat, and I don’t think humans are any different. We have the ability to choose and the ability to recognize and minimize pain and suffering.

            • avatar Mark L says:

              True, but at the same time stressing is also necessary in some things. Unstressed grapes make so-so wine, whereas stressed grapes make the best wine…it’s all relative. I’m not as worried about the natural stress hormones in an animal I eat as I am about the human-added hormones that I may not even know exist until later.

  27. avatar Nancy says:

    “The term sadism has a very specific meaning–it denotes enjoyment of pain. Many who hunt do so because they enjoy HUNTING (the process of seeking and finding an animal), and of course, it is possible to very much enjoy hunting without enjoying killing or pain and suffering”

    Okay, JB. Beg to differ. One does not hunt another species without realizing that they will eventually inflict pain and suffering.

    And as far as knowing the difference, here’s an interesting story about telling the difference when hunting :)

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/14/n-l-grandmother-shot-in-the-woods-after-she-was-mistaken-for-a-moose/

    And you only have to google to find numerous situations where animals (not the right animal) AND people are shot (maimed and killed) during annual hunting seasons.

    Dominique, hang in there :)

    Recall a story a few years ago around Yellowstone, where a guy came thru a checkpoint with a mule strapped to the top of his horse trailer. He thought he’d bagged a moose.

    Urban legend? I’m thinking not in an area where some shoot (and have all the tags & a license to back them up) at anything that moves.

    All ya need is a gun…

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I do believe that hunters realize that their activity will result in pain and death. But a sadist inflicts pain just for the enjoyment of inflicting suffering. There’s a huge difference. They are out there hunting as well because our society doesn’t value wildlife, only human life, but not all hunters are sadists. Creatures like Jamie Oslon or that group of British trash in the link Louise provided the other day fit the bill. Making video tapes of it so they can watch it over and over like pervs. Lock them up and throw away the key.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “I do believe that hunters realize that their activity will result in pain and death. But a sadist inflicts pain just for the enjoyment of inflicting suffering. There’s a huge difference”

        How Ida?

        “Many who hunt do so because they enjoy HUNTING. Sadists enjoy inflicting pain”

        I’m pretty sure sadists “hunt” for their prey also Ida.

        Sorry, but I see a very fine line here, when it comes to how hunting is actually defined these days.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          I’m pretty sure sadists “hunt” for their prey also Ida.

          Absolutely – I said as much in my post. The reason why is different.

        • avatar savebears says:

          It is a proven fact, that a properly placed shot, does not inflict the pain you think it does, I know for a fact that getting shot, didn’t hurt at all, I didn’t feel the pain until a few days later after the surgery and the recovery and healing started. I know for a fact that when a deer I shoot, goes down within 50 yards, there was very little if any pain felt.

          I have no desire to inflict pain when I hunt, I strive for a nice, quick, clean kill to minimize any suffering at all, animals that suffer, taste much worse those those who don’t. This has been proven, and it is attributed to the adrenaline and hormones released when an animal is not killed quickly and cleanly.

          You can bitch, call names, say what ever you want, I and many I know are not going to stop hunting. The meat is healthier than I can buy, I save money by not purchasing in a store, there is no artificial fattening of the animal I eat. Plain and simple I enjoy hunting and I love the wild meat that I get.

    • avatar JB says:

      Nancy: “Okay, JB. Beg to differ. One does not hunt another species without realizing that they will eventually inflict pain and suffering.”

      Ida: “I do believe that hunters realize that their activity will result in pain and death. But a sadist inflicts pain just for the enjoyment of inflicting suffering. There’s a huge difference.”

      Exactly. Both my dentist and medical doc have knowing inflicted pain on multiple occasions (and I can attest to this personally)–it doesn’t make either one of them a sadist.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “Exactly. Both my dentist and medical doc have knowing inflicted pain on multiple occasions (and I can attest to this personally)–it doesn’t make either one of them a sadist”

        JB, your doctor and dentist, are trying to make your life alittle more comfortable…. in the long run, by taking care of your body. They get paid to do that.

        • avatar JB says:

          “JB, your doctor and dentist, are trying to make your life alittle more comfortable…. in the long run, by taking care of your body. They get paid to do that.”

          Exactly! So what your saying is that it is one’s motivation for inflicting pain that makes one a sadist, right? Hmm…now where have I heard that before? ;)

    • avatar Elk275 says:

      Nancy

      “Urban legend? I’m thinking not in an area where some shoot (and have all the tags & a license to back them up) at anything that moves.”

      That is called an ATM license: Anything That Moves. When I guide 34 years ago in your neck of the woods all hunters had a ATM license bears, deer and elk.

    • avatar savebears says:

      Nancy, it was just that, a story, you anti hunters are so gullable, you believe any folklore you read or hear, as long as it shows hunters as bad or stupid people.

      I find it amazing, most of us that hunt and those that don’t hunter were having some pretty good conversations, despite our differences, now a new jo blo from across the pond, who obviously does not know what he is talking about(Look at the picture posted) comes on in and gets the crap stirred up again!

  28. avatar Dominique Osh says:

    For some reason the “next” was video played, so here’s the “ELK” video.. and you say you are not lazy, lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UE-xbKS384&list=UUFD1_hKtfDSqQKYjYhT84Sw&index=7

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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