Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Winter 2009 Issue
HUNTING FOR THE DISABLED
Margaret Andersen has given considerable thought to the subject of
hunting for the disabled. With her permission, we are reprinting her
excellent letter. Please use the many points that she has made to fight
hunting for the disabled.
IGNOMINY, NOT PRAISE
Letter by MARGARET M. ANDERSEN
Drifting further into the danger zone of irrationality, the Freeholders
and Department of Parks and Recreation have ignored requests to discontinue
promoting white-tailed deer “hunt-events” staged at the county Heron Glen
Golf Course for hunters requiring assistance handling weapons.
Additional insult was added upon non-hunters and people opposed to
exploiting the concept of disability this year when the Parks Department
received an award from the state Recreation Commission “for a unique
recreational activity serving people with disabilities.”
As a result, the Freeholders, Parks Department and Commission issued a
five-page response in which relevant details are now shared.
It is true that people hunt simply because they enjoy it apart from any
bureaucratically-employed environmental or license-generating agendas
typically fueling its promotion. Although legal, it is controversial since
hunting is not the same as hiking, canoeing, fishing, skateboarding, skiing,
tennis or soccer, for example.
Helping individuals hunt on public and private land is not unique. There
are degrees of disability that do not interfere with the ability to handle a
weapon or abide by the definition of hunting responsibilities. What is
unique for this event is the unabashed disregard for safety concerns and
common sense which demands that anyone with a physical or mental condition
severe enough to interfere with the handling and discharge of implements
used for killing should not be hunting.
Accidents increase with multiple parties handling weapons. Insurance
coverage is never enough compensation for a life or injury. Hunting, at
best, is only as safe as the person taking the shot.
Missing components of what constitutes hunting at this “hunt-event” are
staggering such as fair chase, marksmanship, individual moral challenges and
judgments associated with pursuing wild animals, tracking the wounded – all
of which are compromised when someone else may be controlling split-second
Efforts of the National Wild Turkey Federation (engaged by the Parks
Department to sponsor this event) to promote hunting, sometimes in
controversial ways, are not unique. In fact, a variety of hunting
organizations exist, many with political support, influence and lobbyists,
banding together to facilitate intrusive, pro-hunting initiatives,
legislation and programs in direct conflict with the aims of society –
personally, environmentally, and recreationally.
Anyone who needs to use gun-adaptive gear such as puff-and-sip equipment,
joysticks or “connecting the trigger on a gun or crossbow to a mouth tube,”
should not be hunting. A device reportedly used at Heron Glen involved
resting a shotgun on a swinging rod with a Y-shaped top that connects to the
wheelchair’s footrest. “A companion tapes his finger to a piece of metal
that is hooked around the trigger.”
The award endorses aberrant hunting activity by honoring outside
collaboration with hunting agendas already existing within the Parks
Department, which are causing conflicts with people forced to wear
blaze-orange for their safety 6 days a week, 6 months of the year.
Boastfully calling this hunt-anomaly a success because the NWTF paid the
bill (cost unknown), supplied park rangers with additional volunteers and
made a handful of participants happy, the county segregates the dissenting
public. We’re all handicapped to some degree. Honoring needless exposure to
danger does not represent the depth of charity exhibited by the commission’s
other choice for commendation and is cause for ignominy, not praise.
Participants may or may not be oblivious to these repercussions. But the
selfishness displayed by the Freeholds and Department of Parks and
Recreation which they govern in order to achieve controversial
hunting-interest ends by any means is inexcusable.
The white-tailed deer “hunt-event” sets a bad precedent and should be
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