What I envisioned as a column where I could answer questions about
wildlife has devolved into a forum where I answer some of the hate mail
that I receive on a daily basis. I welcome the change because it gives me
the opportunity to reply to the many charges that hunters and the “wise
use” community hurl at us. While I may not change many minds within the
hunting community, I think answering their mail is important because it
shows them that the wildlife protection community knows what it is talking
about. As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and questions. Yes,
you can even send hate mail.
Dear Uncle Joe:
“You’re out of your mind. Do you even know what stopping sport hunting
will do to the animals?”
Thank you for starting your letter in such a rational, mature manner.
Yes, I know what stopping sport hunting will do. After several years of
unbalanced wildlife populations the animals will adapt to the amount of
available habitat and food. Nature will see to it that everything is
balanced. During the transition period, it would behoove every one of us
to join forces to fight against runaway development and the human
overpopulation that causes it. We should encourage building upward rather
than outward and we should run political candidates that will not cave in
“You talk about the problems with “bait and shoot” and how some of
these occurrences are actually sanctioned and planned by local
authorities. Have you ever seen what an area looks like that has reached
and then exceeded it’s carrying capacity of Whitetail deer?”
Unfortunately, “modern wildlife management” has been increasing deer
and other “game” species for over 50 years. Only those who have been
misled or those who profit from the system are happy with the status quo.
As you may know, there are management techniques in place that are
designed to increase deer populations.
Please allow me to quote from the Central New York Outdoor Journal
(Vol. 2, Issue 3, December 2005)
Gary Alt’s statement: “Deer management has been the biggest mistake
in the history of wildlife management.” Alt refers to it as
“malpractice.” (Alt was the Chief Deer Biologist in PA until he resigned
What is the reason for the management problem? Hunters, who have paid
the freight with their license dollar, have always asked for more deer.
Biologists have responded with various techniques that allow deer herds
to build beyond the carrying capacity of the forests, and now they are
paying the penalty with declining forest regeneration. The basic premise
is that biologists have kept hunters happy but ruined the forest.
It is easier for a hunter to defend deer hunting than it is to defend
rabbit, squirrel, or raccoon hunting. Hunters are also reluctant to bring
up the subject of canned hunting where animals are kept on fenced-in
properties and the “hunters” are guaranteed a kill. And then there are the
millions of animals who are not overpopulated at all and who are bred to
be released for hunters to shoot. State game agencies have breeding
programs for several species of birds so that they can be used as living
targets. These birds are pen-raised and have no survival skills, so those
who are released but not killed end up starving or becoming the victims of
Since canned hunts, wildlife breeding programs and small game hunting
is much harder for the hunting industry to defend, it likes to keep these
practices quiet while they vilify deer and make deer hunters its public
“In summation, you’ll never outlaw hunting. There’s too many people who
share my outlook on this topic, and unlike the majority of your spineless
entourage, we’ll get things done.”
Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong. Only time will tell. What we do
know for certain is that there are fewer people hunting today than there
were yesterday, and there will most likely be fewer hunters tomorrow than
there are today. Hunters are dying and dropping out of the sport faster
than they can be replaced (a fact that you cannot deny) and sport hunting
may very well extinguish itself due to many factors, including help from
the animal rights and pro-wildlife communities. I will continue to do what
I can to hasten the day that sport hunting becomes only a bad memory.
“Frankly, I think you’re all cowards and would rather spend time
whining to the government and doing other equally cowardly things than
address those who are opposed to you.
Yours in hunting,
Cowards? How courageous is it to hide yourself in a tree or a bush and
blow away a rabbit, duck or squirrel? Is it the brave hunter who pays a
fee to kill a semi-tame exotic animal on a fenced-in hunting preserve? How
brave is the person who falls asleep on a boat as a fish struggles on the
end of a fishing line?
Your views of us are not our focus. We plan on making hunting illegal.
That’s about all I have for you today, Skip. Please keep checking in with
C.A.S.H. so you can learn how to build a sense of respect and admiration
for wildlife and the natural world.