Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Taking A Stand..A hunters Perspective

Recently I had the misfortune of meeting up with a real scumbag on the net, his rude behavior and ignorance quickly escalated into a battle of words concerning the hunt. Now usually I will keep my opinions concerning my position as a hunter, conservationist and protector of all things natural to myself while online. However this rude tree hugging loudmouth got my dander up a bit and caused my to contemplate a trip to Colorado to teach him the wisdom of keeping ones derogatory comments and curse words to himself. Although I would not actually hunt him down and cause him an extended stay in the nearest medical facility, I would like to shed some light on the continuing controversy concerning my position as a hunter. First let me say that I have several non hunting friends, they see my position as an enforcer of conservation and as a devout outdoor enthusiast. And I see their position as a non-hunting participants in the constant battle to protect and ensure a future for wildlife. The facts are, without conservation and management of our wildlife there can be no future for any species or for the hunt. Hunting is the perfect tool for allowing controlled numbers of harvest in any given area at any given time, and to ensure proper numbers remain in the habitats available. So called environmentalists, believe that we as humans should step aside and allow the wild creatures to reclaim our planet and remove ourselves from the ecosystem. While at the same time allowing THEM to study, and coexist with the very creatures they are trying to govern. Great concept, except that wild creatures need to remain wild. By interacting with them as fellow beings instead of as a breed apart, we introduce them to an environment where conflict is sure to occur. Take California for instance, the animal rights factions there closed the state to mountain lion hunting.. Now the cats are so far advanced in their numbers that their habitat and home range overlap places where humans live ,work and play. The puma is a predator, usually very shy and rarely seen by humans, yet they have been killing people and their pets regularly since the ban on hunting. Here in Wyoming we have lots of mountain lions, and hardly ever hear of an attack on humans.. Why? Because we allow enough harvest to keep the populations in check for the habitat available and even monitor and harvest their prey deer, elk, etc.. accordingly. The wolf is classified as endangered here because the animal rights groups feel like fighting for them, even believing the grey wolf is not responsible for the destruction of any habitat they have been introduced into. Fourteen years ago before the wolf hit the scene here in Wyoming, the game and fish could see as many as two hundred moose while flying the Absaroka range.. Now a good fly over will produce a dozen if they are lucky, and still declining. Ask a wolf activist why, the answer will be over hunting, ask a hunter why and he will blame the wolf.. I believe the answer lies somewhere in between and that both sides should decide, do they want to be right, or do they want to try and solve the problem through conservation and selective harvest to ensure a future for both species. I admit there are flaws in the system, this year the Wyoming Game and Fish opened several hundred licenses for bull elk in an are that doesn’t even have that many bulls to begin with, to top it off the area is occupied by several wolf packs. As a bystander I am appalled that they could be so blind to the repercussions of such an action. Mark my words! You will hear of some serious wolf problems in and around the Wood and Greybull river areas soon after hunting season this year. There are simply not enough elk to allow for numbers like that to be harvested and still allow the wolves an opportunity to seize prey within their current range. Only through proper management and education can we hope to ensure any real and lasting future for our wildlife or their habitats. As hunters, or animal rights activists we have to remain vigilant of our place in this great circle of life and remember our cause is only worth fighting for if there is something left. If there are no creatures to hunt, then there will be none left to save. Hawk a/ho


ke7cjw said...

Great article Hawk. I agree. I believe the biggest problem between the two sides is the politics. Our society has gotten to a point where two different political views must fight for power and control over the opposition. I know that I have fallen into this trap many times myself. As long as the politics keeps us from coming to the table and working out a solution to the problem the ability to gain power by one side or the other remains. It is time that we STOP this fighting and all set down at the table and figure out what is the best way to resolve our issues. This applies as much to the conservation of our wildlife as it does to the conservation of our entire country and our way of life. We need, in the case of the wolves, the animal rights groups and the animal management groups to work together to solve this problem and not leave it up to the judges in the judicial system to decide the best course of action to take.

The Hunter's Wife said...

I'd agree he was extremely rude. But you all handled him very well.

Thanks for shedding some light on such issues. Being just the wife of a hunter, I'm still learning.

Cory Glauner said...

"Not all dogs are fit to hunt, nor in the same way are all men gratified by it. Nor, for those of us who share this dogs pleasure of hunting (if you will,) do I ask special tolerance or understanding. We are as we are and if we seem to you to act immorally it is certainly your right to feel so, but I say most seriously that you exceed your rights when you urge that laws be made in the shape of your conscience to block pleasures permitted by mine. When you prevail you commit a crime against freedom and that’s the greatest immorality I know." ~ Vance Vourgaily

Tom Sorenson said...

I'm having difficulty collecting my thoughts after this one, Hawk. On the surface it appears hunters and animal rights folks want the same thing: all animals to thrive, herds to be healthy and large, etc...but at the very core of it, hunters want to hunt animal rights folks don't want anyone hunting. That's a gap - & call me a pessimist - but it's a gap that won't be bridged.

You covered the wolf controversy real well and very delicately. Again, I just don't think that's a gap that'll be bridged either, though. We're able to (so far) hunt them in Idaho this year - but I can garauntee that a large group of people are unhappy about it and are going to pull out all stops at making sure it doesn't happen.

Good discussion - I look forward to reading what others bring to the table. said...

Great Job!It is so true, we are also getting an abundance of wolves in our area. The deer population is declining. Unfortunately hunters start taking matters into their own hands when they feel that no one is listening to them.

Mike "Hawk" Huston said...

Well said brothers and sisters of the wilderness.. Jeff it would be cool to see everyone work together.. But as Tom Said that is a gap that won't be bridged.. the problem is the animal rights activists for the most part are a bunch of wackos with a political agenda and more money and time to spend than the average outdoors enthusiast.....Cory.. thanks for the Not all dogs are fit to hunt... Terri Lee, you nailed that one on the head.. by killing the beast .. we too often anger the real beast,, the Hunter Haters.and the shit hits the fan...

masterhunters said...

Wolves, lions, grizzlies, and so forth, all need to be managed and hunting is the most efficient and effective way to do so.

The North American Hunting Model is now recognized as the most successful conservation model in the world and the reasons are very simple.

Hunting adds a dollar value to critters in an economic world. This value encourages local inhabitants to protect a species when they may otherwise want them removed entirely.

This value also brings to an area a truly "environmental tourism" that works like no other. Hunters were the first conservationists and remain the most committed to this day.

Communities win, wildlife wins, and both sportsmen and non-sportsmen can learn to appreciate wildlife for what they are... another strand in a complicated and delicate web of life.

That's the view from here.

masterhunters said...

Wolves, lions, grizzlies, and so forth must all be managed and hunting is the most efficient and effective way to do so.

The North American Hunting Model is recognized as the best conservation model in the world. The reason is simple. Hunting provides the critter with a dollar value in an economic world.

Because of that value, local inhabitants who may otherwise want to see a critter completely removed from an area can support its existence and see reward for doing so.

Also because of that value, sportsmen bring to an area the truest of "environmental tourism" dollars that not only enhance a local economy but also maintain and improve habitats for game and non-game species alike.

Wildlife management professionals and agencies around the globe recognize this fact and are putting our time-tested practices to work -- and they are conserving and growing populations of animals as a result.

Hunters were the first true conservationists and we remain on the forefront - protecting, understanding, utilizing and enjoying all of God's creatures as intended.

That's the view from here.

Bob Red Hawk said...

Pilamaya Kola !!,
Your blog is right on the money..I agree with you 100% Brother. I also beleive we all have to work together to protect and preserve our wild outdoors. Thank you for reminding that Jerk that Hunters and Fisherman are the single largest group of conservationists in America!! and proud of it!! A/HO GREAT BLOG !!!
Many Blessing's Kola
Red Hawk a/ho

Lloyd Ryan Beere said...

A/ho hawk well written, i understand your anger towards the activists, you handled it well and explained the main problem with hunting and preserving wildlife well sir. A/HO

Mike "Hawk" Huston said...

Thanks Red Hawk and Ryan,and masterhunters glad to see so many wilderness warriors who are not afraid to let their voices be heard...

fishing guy said...

Hawk: Continue to fight the fight, I feel my hunting days are gone, with a gun, but my camera will always hunt for nature.

Mike "Hawk" Huston said...

And your honor and respect shine through.. no matter what you are hunting with.. keep to the good red road Fishing Guy.. Hawk

Dirty Tractor said...

I find that more often than not when I'm talking to someone who is anti gun/ anti hunting, they have never hunted themselves or even held a firearm. Sometimes I think it boils down to a fear of the unknown, or a saying I like: "You only like what you know." In my experience, most people who view hunters as "killers" have never given it a try before labeling it. Granted there are a few hardcore conservationist/PETA types who are vegans to boot, but those numbers are small compared to the confused majority. I talked to someone recently who thought allowing handguns in national parks was going to cause hunters to start blastin' away at every critter they saw! The best thing we can do is educate these non-hunters of the beneficial and positive reasoning behind a kill, like this blog post does. Great work.

Scott Crider said...

Great blog. I'm adding it to the regular list of traps I run every day.

The Natural Horse Vet said...

It's a shame this moron can't go back in time & fend for his food,change of heart & mind perhaps?
What modernization has done to most..
The green movement is in it's beginning stages, growing what one eats.Maybe there will more Ted Nugents, or H.C.A. not as a realty show but to have more you know...

HorsesintheSouth said...

Hunting just for the sport of it & not considering the animal population, maybe not so good.

But hunting to 'control' the population of animals that need to thrive, e.g., the the moose, & to eat (nothing tastes beter than wild game, even squirrel!), is good.

I wish there could be an understanding between the 2 factions as I believe there is a common ground between the hunter & the environmentalist.

It's the small group of people that call themselves conservationists/environmentalists that are actually hurting the environment & animals by doing excessive measures trying to make a point w/o regard to human, plant or animal life, but just to be 'heard'. These people are scary.

"Everything in moderation, nothing to excess."

Anonymous said...

" the problem is the animal rights activists for the most part are a bunch of wackos"
I'm afraid comments like that won't help bridge the gap, either. I'm one who doesn't hunt. Quite the opposite. I spend most of my free time in the outdoors, sleeves rolled up, muddy boots, working on land-use and wildlife issues. In fact, at any given time, I'm transporting injured animals (both wild and domestic) between local rehab facilities or caring for orphaned baby songbirds or abused dogs, or trying to educate local kids on respectful ways to be "in nature," instead of tearing up trails and harming both the habitat and the wild things.

Having lived so closely to these animals and to this land, I admit I also strongly support animal welfare. I always hope for a world with less violence toward animals than what we humans tend to exhibit. So I suppose that makes me a wacko for holding this viewpoint.

For the record, there are many of us who simply care and feel very deeply for these living entities we devote our lives to -- not for politically-based reasons, but because we see intimately how the stress of human action manifests in their lives. And it's difficult to make that separation between what we know these complex, intelligent animals to be -- and the way we see them treated or discarded.

I don't believe you should take ad hominem attacks for your point of view, but neither should we be marginalized for having trouble with what we sometimes see in the hunting community.

I doubt very much (from what I've read here) that you're of the disrespectful type I've seen out here on public lands. But let's just say, I've encountered enough terrible action toward animals (not exclusively from hunting practices, but some from hunting practices) and I've had about my limit of this behavior among hunters and outdoors people who don't observe the type of standards you seem to live.

Although I realize there are bad seeds in every group, I have to say, their numbers seem to be growing compared to when I was a kid. And the difficulty I have is that I can't seem to impart any of this to hunters who often seem to look the other way -- even when presented with evidence of some pretty bad behavior. It's as if everything under the auspices of "hunting" should be accepted as legitimate, even if it really stretches the bounds of what could be considered humane.

Although I personally cannot imagine harming a wild animal, I've always been willing to "compromise" on land use and other hunting/non-hunting-issues. It's just been harder for me recently, seeing what I've seen. I agree there will always be people who will not and cannot be respectful to hunters. But there are those of us who are more open-minded, but who have a tough time with the practices that bring down the sport in general make it very hard for us to muster the respect hunters feel they deserve.

I'd love to feel differently, frankly. I'd love to have more confidence in the hunter's stewardship over wildlife -- to not feel intense stress every time hunting seasons roll around because of the injuries I see. I'd RATHER have respect and a mutual understanding because I know that the only the highest standards are being observed.

And yes, the same holds true for those on "my" side who use questionable tactics or slurs to further their causes. I'd do anything to see the treatment of animals in general move toward a greater level of compassion. I can't say I live a day without intense pain over what I see happening to the land and the animals among us. But I don't expect to eradicate hunting, even if in my heart of hearts I wish no one had the desire to harm. But I do expect those who have tremendous power over the lives of these sentient creatures to exercise deep care and respect -- and, above all -- mercy. It's something I don't always or even often see. Invoking guys like Ted Nugent doesn't help, even if you all do like him.

the bird lady said...

It's been awhile since I've visited your site so didn't read the message from the rude person. Your answer is wonderfu. I didn't think my opinion of you and your beliefs could get higher but it has. As a wildlife rehabber, and a hunter, I agree with all you say.


Whit Spurzon said...

Very well said.

Sometimes I get tangled up in a "discussion" with someone who labels themselves an environmentalist and refuses to consider hunting as a conservation tool. Typically their argument is based on Disney movie "facts" and little if any actual outdoor experience.