The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Ask Uncle Joe
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Dear Uncle Joe:
I donít think you understand the importance of
hunting in minimizing the incidence of diseases such as CWD (Chronic Wasting
Disease). It has been discovered in the southeastern part of Minnesota and
would be more widespread if not for hunting. Itís really a terrible disease.
It turns the brains of deer into sponges and causes them to lose weight and
suffer. I have been hunting for ten years and I never want to see an animal
suffer. I have a keen interest in keeping the herd as disease free as
possible since I want to make sure that the meat I eat is healthy and clean.
I donít agree with everything hunters do. Drinking and hunting is
inexcusable and insane. Spotliking deer is unsportsmanlike. Fenced hunting
ranches and safariís where trained guides bring you to tame animals is a
blight on the sport. We can agree on those things. But there are good things
about hunting, and minimizing the spread of CWD is one of them.
Maple Grove, MN
I see we are in
agreement on several key points including that CWD is a terrible disease,
but we disagree on how itís best controlled. First discovered in Colorado in
1967, CWD has been documented in 22 states and Canadian provinces. The
disease is transferred from deer to deer through nose to nose contact,
through social grooming as when one deer licks another, and also through
contaminated soil. Hunters actually spread the disease when they provide
supplemental bait piles or salt/mineral licks for wildlife. These activities
concentrate many animals in one area and in such circumstances the disease
is likely to spread. Hunters who improperly dispose of spinal tissue also
spread CWD to healthy herds.
As a hunter you know that the average
hunter will be unlikely to waste a tag on an animal visibly sick who may not
be safe to eat. When hunters intentionally pass up these animals for healthy
and stronger deer, they allow the sick animal to not only suffer longer, but
to pass their condition to others.
What can be done? Isolating and
possibly humanely euthanizing infected and hopelessly ill animals while
simultaneously banning recreational hunting would go far in preventing the
spread of CWD.
Dear Uncle Joe:
Iím an ethical hunter. I am not here to cuss or call you names so my
letter will probably not be printed in your newsletter, but I wanted your
thoughts on something. I have been hunting for several decades and have
taken college-level courses in wildlife conservation and know that wildlife
biologists are tasked with not only maintaining adequate numbers of
wildlife, but also they work hard to strengthen the herd. Iím not a trophy
hunter. I do have one mount in my den (a state record at the time) but I
have never seen the sense in hunting just for a trophy. Seriously Joe, our
deer herd is as strong as it is because of the efforts of hunters
Mark, Dubuque, IA
Hello Mark Ė thanks for writing.
Itís not uncommon for hunters and those who support hunting to sincerely
believe that hunting has strengthened the condition of the deer herd. Hereís
something for you to think about, however. A study in the Proceedings of the
Royal Society B. [Simone Ciuti et al, Human selection of elk behavioural
traits in a landscape of fear] showed that hunting is having a detrimental
effect upon elk herds. Back when cavemen were hunting with stones and
spears, speed and boldness among wildlife were survival assets, and those
animals survived longer to pass on their genes. But in todayís age of
high-powered rifles, speedy and bold animals are more at risk than those who
are shyer and more secretive. Of 122 elk who were fitted with GPS collars,
those who were characterized as "shy hiders" were more likely to avoid
hunters. This poses a problem for elk because while hunters are more likely
to kill those who are ďbold runnersĒ as the study labeled them, the ďshy
hidersĒ were more likely to fall prey to wolves and grizzlies. By targeting
bolder animals, hunters are not only weakening the herd but they are putting
its survival at risk.
Dear Uncle Joe:
Iím a student writing a paper for my Wildlife
Sciences class and I would like to ask you a few questions.
1. What are the effects of legal hunting of game animals (not
including poaching or illegal harvest)?
2. What would be the outcome if the hunting animals was banned? Would
there also be negative outcomes?
3. Do you think there could ever be a compromise between the C.A.S.H.
movement and Hunters?
Thank you so much,
Joran, Raleigh, NC
Thanks for writing, Joran. We are always happy to answer questions asked
1. The effects of legal hunting are different depending
on the species being hunted. Animals such as deer and coyotes increase their
populations in response to hunting pressure, but wolf hunting can devastate
the species since killing the alpha members of a wolf pack can result in the
population taking years to rebound.
The increase in the deer population due to hunting increases the risk of
deer/car collisions, increased damage to ornamental foliage in people's
yards, and an expansion of their range to areas where they normally would
Also to be considered is the number of wounded animals who
are not retrieved. These add to the kill total though they are not counted
in the official numbers. Studies have shown duck wounding to be upwards of
30% and bow hunting stats indicate that wounding rates could be as high as
2. If hunting were banned, wildlife would no longer be managed
for the purpose of killing them for recreation. Pheasant breeding farms
would go out of business, saving hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
Other wildlife would no longer be bred for the canned hunting industry -
saving thousands more lives. It would take several seasons, but free-living
wildlife would fall into balance with the biological carrying capacity of
the area. With hunting off the table, people would learn to live in peaceful
coexistence with wildlife, and would learn to solve human/wildlife conflict
I'd predict that the number of domestic violence
cases would increase. As there are clearly some hunters who kill animals
because it is a legal outlet for them to express violence and rage, those
hunters would take their rage out on their family members if they were
unable to do it to wildlife
3. C.A.S.H. has worked with hunters on
campaigns to ban federal trappers from using Compound 1080 and we've worked
with hunters to oppose the opening of canned hunting ranches. We have no
problem working with anyone who shares our vision, even if it is in only one
area. We will continue to work with hunters as the need arises, but working
with them will always be on our terms.
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