The Wrong and Right Ways to Fight the Deer War
An Animal Rights Article from


Anthony Marr

Since 2006, in my 4th, 5th and 6th Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE-4, CARE-5 and CARE-6), which brought me to over 44 states and 4 Canadian rpovinces, I have participated in many anti-urban-deer-culling battles with local activists, at cities including, among many others, Solon OH , Pepper Pike OH, Allentown PA, Orange County NJ, Helena MT, Pt. Reyes National Seashore CA, and just last July at Placer County CA, and now, Kansas City MO. Almost all are lost battles..

A string of lost battles does not a winning war make.


Local activists fighting in one losing battle may think that it is an isolated defeat, and hopefully thinking that others elsewhere are winning. No. From my continental point of view, almost all of these battles have been lost. I have heard of only two exceptions, both due to council which were anti-culling in the first place. And anti-culling city councils are themselves exceptions amongst the dozens of pro-hunting/pro-culling councils that I'm seen and in fact made presentations to, staring them in their eyes. If a council is inherently pro-hunting, no amount of protest by "antis" would make it vote against a hunter created, supported and executed culling plan..

I have seen enough, and gather enough samples to have now concluded that the current strategy does not work, and a drastically new strategy is required - if we want to win. I have formulated the losing formula, and the winning formula. And while the former has been more than amply demonstrated, the latter has remained by and large untried.




This is not specific to the Deer War. It is the same for the Seal War, and the Dolphin War, and, to a lesser extent, the Whale War. Let's take the Seal War as an example. It goes something like this. Every April, anti-sealing activists go into hibernation after the seal battle in March, which did not stop the hunt. Through the spring, summer and fall, nothing happens (other than the ongoing and very mild seafood boycott). Next February, things heat up again about the hunt in March. Slogan, "End the hunt NOW!" And the hunt never ends..


Activists often come in from behind, after the hunting wheel has already been cranked, trying to stop it against its momentum. Every year around March 15, the activists would put on a multi-city simultaneous anti-sealing demo. Around March 16, the energy would have been spent, and the activists would say good-bye to each other until February next year. From year to year, these demos resemble flashes in the pan, of no threat whatsoever to the sealers nor to the pro-sealing government. And every year, the hunt carries on. Only the longer-range, year-round and perennial European campaign holds any real promise to end the Canadian seal hunt..


All state-level Fish and Wildlife are hunter-run, without exception, and almost all of the city and county councils are pro-hunting and pro-culling, which often are one and the same, and are often further pressured by the gun lobby and the hunting industry. During elections, pro-hunting candidates are often placed there by the gun lobby and hunting industry, and usually win due to the lack of anti-hunting contenders supported by an organized anti-hunting/anti-culling movement. According to my experience, pro-hunting councils always vote in favor of culling, regardless of protests from non-governmental anti-hunting/anti-culling forces. Some of these biases are even written into the state constitution, e.g. that of New Jersey, where at least 6 of the 11 voting members of Fish and Game must be hunters, and more often than not, all 11 members are pro-hunting.


State-level Hunter Harassment Statutes (HHS) are blatantly unfair, and further violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Jan Haagensen case (listen to the Jan Haagensen interview by Anthony Marr in demonstrates that not only was Fish and Game run by hunters, but the police, and even the court, were themselves staffed by hunters.



Instead of slackening off in the spring, summer and fall, we should concentrate our fire power year-round against next year's hunt, before it is even planned, and even if planned, to nip it in the bud. This is how the Haida plan to resume Grey whale hunting in British Columbia was defeated. I personally debated Haida chief Roy Jones for one full hour on the highly popular Rafe Mair program (CKNW) when the Haida first announced their intention to hunt. Instead of waiting for it to begin, then protesting against it while it's happening, we attacked it fiercely before it happened, and it did not happen..

The golden rule of real estate investment: Know where the next boom will be, and be there before it happens. The Art of War applies this to military strategy, which applies just as well to anti-hunting/anti-culling activism..

I repeat, a pro-hunting council will always vote in favor of culling, regardless of protests. The truest long term solution is the create anti-hunting councils. This can be achieved by forming chapters of the League of Humane Voters (LOHV - national head Peter and Anne Muller, Ohio chapter director Lane Ferrante, among many other state-level LOHV chapters). The prime purpose of the LOHV is to create anti-hunting (and anti-factory-farming for that matter) councils, by introducing, supporting, funding and campaigning for anti-hunting candidates..

The above said Jan Haagensen case, which originally was defensive in nature, has become an attack force against the Hunter Harassment Statute of Pennsylvania for violating the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech) of the Constitution of the United States. I will be organizing a multi-state coalition of anti-hunting and anti-culling groups to launch legal attacks against the HHSs and deer-culling plans of other states.


Instead of huffing and puffing in the enemy's dust, know where the enemy will be at their most vulnerable, and ambush them when they get there.


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