The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Spring 2012 Issue
Why Wildlife Management for Hunting Must Go
By Anne Muller
In all my years of hearing hunters and pro-hunting
advocates provide fabricated reasons to kill deer, blaming deer for the
decline of bird populations stretches credulity to its limits. It is truly
In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, contributor Prof. Cristol was
aware of the problems with wildlife management for hunting purposes, but who
does he blame? The deer! Why is he blaming the victims?
on a few of the disturbing practices of wildlife management that
intentionally create a large deer population, and he “outs” the real goal of
wildlife management agencies which is to increase encounters between deer
and hunters; but strangely, he then goes on to blame the deer for being more
abundant than he would like.
Prof. Cristol knows full well that wildlife
management agencies manipulate public and private lands to create
overpopulations of “game species” at the expense of the many other animals
that share the ecosystem. Shouldn’t we be putting the blame on the
perpetrators of what I would call a “crime against nature?” Should the
answer be to allow wildlife management agents to increase deer hunting?
Instead, shouldn’t we demand a change in the policies and practices of
wildlife management? Why are we providing tax-payer support for agencies
that are destroying our environment, ecosystems, wildlife, and even the
economy? Think of the energy, focus, and expense that go into providing a
few species for hunters to kill, while the 99% of other species lose their
homes and food sources. We need to occupy wildlife management offices!
By failing to protect land for wildlife watching, a non-lethal form of
wildlife recreation, wildlife managers are losing an important source of
income and will continue to harm species, individual animals, and the
Let’s look at some of the details of wildlife management
practices. Prof. Cristol correctly pointed out that public lands are highly
manipulated to provide browse for deer at the expense of other wild animals.
He was also on target when he said that private landowners are encouraged to
allow their lands to be manipulated for the sake of growing high deer
populations. He did not say why: The reason is that the sale of firearms and
ammunition, and bows and arrows carry an excise tax that funds wildlife
management agencies. Consequently, wildlife management agencies manage
wildlife solely as targets for hunting rather than for peaceful, popular,
and lucrative wildlife watching.
What is not so obvious is that the guns
and bullets that are used to kill people in cities also provide revenue for
wildlife management agencies. The income is then used to creating more
hunting! In other words, our wildlife management agencies benefit from
inner-city crime committed with firearms. Shouldn’t that revenue at least be
used to compensate the victims or their families?
aspect of wildlife agencies’ managing for increased hunting opportunity is
that of landowner abuse. It’s one thing to “encourage” willing property
owners to develop their land for growing deer for hunters, and it’s quite
another to impose hunting on property owners who do not want individuals
with lethal weapons trespassing on their land. The latter is happening all
too frequently. What I will call homeland invasion and landowner abuse by
hunters who are backed by state and federal agencies is taking place across
In Pennsylvania, an attorney was charged with 5 counts of
hunter harassment for telling hunters to leave her property; in South
Carolina, a university administrator was charged with stealing a dog collar
that she had removed from a hunting dog in an effort to locate the dog’s
owner; in North Carolina, a mother and daughter were harassed by hunters who
left obscene messages. Supporting the hunters, the Forest Service
changed map boundaries to allow incursions onto their property; in Michigan
a teacher was charged with hunter harassment for collecting firewood on her
property which allegedly disturbed a hunter; and in New York, a man was
charged with hunter harassment for using his cell phone on his own property
within earshot of a hunter.
These agencies basically serve only a small
special interest group. Hunters are less than 5% of the population. Sadly,
if you enjoy birding or other forms of wildlife watching, you are going to
be disappointed by what the government offers. All too often “wildlife
watching areas” on public land are barren areas littered with garbage,
without interpretive signs; wild animals that have been spooked by hunters
are in hiding so that spotting them is often an unfulfilled dream.
question is, why are we tolerating or suggesting even more hunting/culling
and other forms of lethal aggression against wildlife when we need to take
our anger out on the agencies and legislators who have created the problems?
I agree with Prof. Cristol that wildlife management practices have to
change. I agree that it’s high time for wildlife watchers to have full use
of public lands managed for all species.
Where Prof. Cristol and I part
ways is that he thinks the deer have to go and we think that the current
practices of wildlife management for hunting have to go.
Anne Muller is
President of Wildlife Watch.
Go on to
Back to Spring 2012 Issue
Back to C.A.S.H. Courier Article Archive