By Anne Muller, Coalition to Abolish Sport Hunting (CASH)
Anne Muller's sensational Op-ed to the NY Times regarding hunter harassment laws. You will all be infuriated and since we all have such a law in all of our states we need to know about this and work on getting this dangerous and insane law repealed.
A DIFFERENT VIEW OF HUNTING
Allow me to present a very different look at hunting from that of the four articles gracing the pages of the Sunday New York Times. Instead of bemoaning the too slow decline of hunting, we should be celebrating its inevitable demise.
When we consider the costs of hunting to the general public, the abuse of property owners, the violation of First Amendment rights by those who want either peace on their property or who oppose hunting, the taking of private land for hunting, the bias of our game agencies that depend on rifles, bullets, and the killing of wildlife, trespassing in rural and suburban areas, the spike in car/deer collisions on the first day of hunting season, human and companion animal accidents, death, property destruction, and not least of all the unutterable cruelty to the animal victims, it is disappointing that the New York Times would print such sentimental trivia about preserving a tradition that belongs in the waste-bin of history along with witch-burning and wife beating.
All four articles should have come under the heading: "Killing Wildlife -- Because I Can!"
I can assure you that I have photos of hunted animals that The New York Times would never publish. There is no "clean" kill, it's just how much suffering it causes and for how long, as though a painless death would justify taking a life for "sport."
Victims of government bias that favors hunters have gotten together to expose how hunting has impacted them. Let's look at just some cases of abuse of mostly single women across the country; abused by hunters who are then protected by state game agents, enforcement personnel, and even local courts.
The first victim is Jan Haagensen, Esq. Jan is an attorney who lives on 100 acres in rural PA. As a result of asking five hunters to leave her property, she was charged with no less than nine crimes under the "Hunter Harassment" law.
For years, she has had to defend herself in court resulting in lost employment and mounting debt.
The second victim is Kathy Andrews of South Carolina. Kathy's dream was to
live on her family's property. That was until her dream turned into a nightmare
as armed men trespassed in trucks, ran their dogs, hooted and howled, and shot
at treed raccoons until the wee hours of the morning, while Kathy had to work
the next day. One dark night, during the usual commotion, Kathy spotted a
hunting dog at the back of her house. Kathy removed the radio collar from the
dog so that the police could identify the trespassers. Instead, she was arrested
for stealing a dog collar, and was kept on a stone floor in jail overnight.
has since lost her job and has been living elsewhere to have peace after every remedy she sought came to naught.
The third victim is Terri McKenzie. Terri lives on 10 acres in Michigan. She was charged with Hunter Harassment when she was out collecting firewood on her own property. The hunter claimed that she was making noise and interfering with his lawful taking of deer. Terri was later arrested and spent several hours in jail. She had to pay for a survey to prove that she was on her property, pay for her own jail costs, and used up three days of unpaid leave.
If her case had gone to trial, she may have lost her job as a teacher. This fall she will face the same injustice from the hunter and possibly the game agency if she is once again arrested for harvesting wood on her property to heat her home.
True, it's not only women. Reverend Cali lived in a rural area and he contacted us about the fact that every hunting season hunters would barely miss hitting his propane tank. He lived in fear of that, and worse.
As hunters can count on the local game agencies, law enforcement, and local courts to come to their defense to protect their hunting privileges, there are many property owners who won't risk retaliation for exposing their accounts of abuse. An elderly couple in Millbrook, NY was victimized by a "sting" operation. The couple managed to get a hunter off of their property. Several days later, they heard shots and saw that the hunter had moved just across their property line, but was shooting into their property. When they asked him to stop shooting, a DEC officer jumped out from behind a tree and threatened the couple with hunter harassment charges. They wished to remain anonymous. The wife explained that her husband had a weak heart.
Then there was a fearful call from a recent New England resident who had moved to the country from the Bronx. He explained that he wanted to get his family away from crime in the city. When hunting season began, he was horrified to see through his picture window armed men crossing in front of his house. Shortly later, he heard rifle blasts. His children were so frightened that they crawled under the coffee table of the living room and his daughter was crying.
He called the police, never dreaming that he would be told that these men could shoot and kill the wildlife. He was warned to not address them. He, too, said he would have to think about going public with his plight.
And from the animal's perspective, there's one photo tells it all. It's a photo of a small dead doe, her eyes and mouth appeared burnt and there was an arrow in her face. What horrific suffering for a man's pleasure. How do we tolerate it?
When will property owners be protected from hunters? When will the non-hunting citizens' First Amendment rights be enforced? It will happen when DNRs get their money from WATCHERS of wildlife instead of destroyers of wildlife.