search
top

Why Hunting is Doomed

Hunters have never gotten the same jolt of reality that gun owners got in 1994, when it became apparent that the game really was about banning guns. It shows in the [UPDATE: link fixed]  fact that they are basically willing to screw each other over depending on what they think “hunting” really is. What’s even worse is groups like the Mule Deer Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are willing participants in this charade. Both those groups should now be pariahs within the hunting community. Hunters should have nothing to do with them.

But they aren’t becoming pariahs, and plenty of hunters are still members. Why? Because ultimately a lot of hunters agree that hunting on a ranch of thousands of acres isn’t really hunting, and we probably ought to ban it. These people are willing participants in their own destruction, and it boggles my mind.

It took the Assault Weapons Ban to wake up gun owners. The Bradys foolishly overreached. HSUS is a much smarter organization, and when it comes to ethics, they make the Bradys look like paragons of virtue. In short, they are smart, and they are willing to get very dirty.

Mr. Regal says he’s gone on many hunts, including a week-long one in the 1960s in the Wyoming wilderness on horseback. Today, he says, “hunting public lands is a waste.” At Cedar Ridge, “you’re assured of getting game.” He says he feels the hunt was fair. “There’s enough territory there that [the elk] can outsmart you,” he says.

Mr. Swanke says that if Ballot Measure 2 passes, he’ll have to shut his business and go back to raising cattle.

“My operation isn’t for everybody,” he says. “But what I’m doing is healthy and legal. I’m not ashamed of it.”

Mr. Kaseman, the force behind the ballot initiative, thinks otherwise.

Roger Kaseman is a man entirely willing to promote the destruction of his own sport at the hands of the likes of HSUS. What I haven’t figure out yet is whether he’s a front for the animal rights groups, or merely the world’s largest fool.

You’d think the dove hunting ban in Michigan would have woken up hunters, or HSUS’s attempts to ban bear hunting in some states. But it hasn’t. My fear is that by the time hunters have their “Asssault Weapons Ban” it’s going to be too late, and they will have been outmaneuvered. They will, at that point, only be able to watch in anguish as animal rights whackjobs kills their sport in state after state. This will be the legacy guys like Roger Kaseman leave to hunting.

24 Responses to “Why Hunting is Doomed”

  1. Ed says:

    Hunters have a huge demographic problem as well, but there is another reason hunting is in trouble.

    The vast majority of hunters are gun owners, and a sizeable percentage, if not a majority, are also huge supporters of gun rights. Some, however, are not. They support their right to own guns for hunting, period. Not for self-defense, not for target shooting, not for competiton, not for shits and giggles.

    However, the majority of gun owners are not hunters. Plenty of folks who own a handgun for self-defense would never hunt and may even find it distasteful.

    There are far more gun owners than hunters, and because hunters have been willing to screw the average gun owner, there is little reason for a gun owner who doesn’t care about hunting (much less those who are opposed to hunting) to help hunters fight for their hunting rights/privileges. This is somewhat shortsighted, but totally understandable.

    The fact is, the Supreme Court has spoken, and we have a right to own guns. We have no such right to hunt–it is a privilege. Trust me, I’d love to take some of the deer on my property, but local ordinances prohibit hunting on my property, That is annoying, but I’m not about to make a huge stink over it. A local ordinance banning guns, and I’m making a stink that would make a skunk blush.

    Hunters need to change that mindset, and making it more difficult to hunt anywhere is the opposite of what they need to do. But, it seems hunting organizations are more concerned about keeping the mythical aspect of hunting alive than about keeping hunting itself alive.

  2. Countertop says:

    I tend to think the Demographic issue is BS. Maybe it’s an issue in the suburbs, but get out in the heartland and hunter numbers are strong. Archery continues to grow.

    But your right about Rocky Mountain Elk. Another big problem – even bigger – are that publications like Outdoor Life and Field & Stream are both published out of NY City and staffed with editors (and writers) in the NY area who see the world through Bloombetg colored glasses – making them ripe for HSUS mischief ala L’affair Zumbo. How else to explain the decision to list Robert kennedy’s Waterkeeper group as environmental heros for leading tr charge in a war on agriculture in the same issue (September) when they discuss how you need to go to the Midwest to get huge bucks and private lands are increasingly being closed to outsiders.

  3. Max says:

    Are you sure you got the link right? The linked article does not say anything about hunting at all.

  4. I think you have the wrong article linked. The link leads to the same HuffPo Josh Sugarman whining post that you link to in your previous post. Perhaps you meant the one from this weekend’s WSJ dealing with hunting on ranches in North Dakota.

  5. Countertop says:

    Btw, am I missing something? Do you mean to link to a Josh Sugarman article on the Wisconsin concealed Carry decisison?

  6. Sebastian says:

    I fixed the link. Sorry about that.

  7. Alpheus says:

    Let me get this straight: it’s sporting to chase an elk through public land, and finally to shoot it…and it’s sporting, I guess, to raise an elk, or even a cow, herd it into a tiny spot, and slaughter it…but it’s not sporting to chase that elk on a huge, fenced-in property, and shoot it there?

    Isn’t hunting about the tracking, the chase, and the shot? And farming is about raising and slaughtering animals for food. What’s so immoral or wrong with combining the two?

  8. Heather from AK says:

    Not a big fan of hunting farmed animals on a closed ranch, but I agree that actively attempting to ban it is incredibly short-sighted.

  9. Ed says:

    It’s low-hanging fruit, and it’s a good strategy for the anti-hunters. Because many hunters won’t give a fig if high-fence deals are banned, that’s a logical first step toward banning all hunting. After all, is it really sporting to use a rangefinding riflescope that gives you point-of-aim at 450 yards, etc? How about a BDC reticle? Don’t scopes in general make it less sporting than a bow? And these newfangled compound bows aren’t as sporting as long bows, and wooden arrows with flints for arrow heads. Same tactic tried by anti-gunners, but we have the Constitution on our side. Hunters do not.

  10. JD says:

    I live in Bismarck, ND and I can say with great certainty that the majority of hunters and gun owners I know couldn’t care less if someone wants to do a canned hunt. Although most wouldn’t do it themselves. Every time measure 2 comes up on local talk radio shows 85-90% of the calls are against banning fence hunting but ND has plenty of sheeple going to vote in 2 weeks. Rumor here is that Kaseman is getting paid by HSUS, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  11. Diomed says:

    My schadenfreude at the self-inflicted wound of the fudds is interfering with my outrage over the groups (and the goals of said groups) exploiting it. Tough spot.

  12. Kristopher says:

    The Fudds trusted that they would be eaten last by the libtards, as long as they didn’t carry scary looking firearms.

    Foolish of them.

  13. I’d like to feel sympathy, I really would, but I can’t, mainly due to the crap hunters have heaped on non hunting gun owners for so long.

  14. Kevin S says:

    Kaseman – another “I don’t like it, so we must ban it” jackass.

  15. dagamore says:

    Glad to see that the NRA is doing all it can to defeat this, you know they sent out a mailer! Glad we got that 800lb gorilla working for our hunting rights!

  16. mdmnm says:

    The situation between hunters and gun owners isn’t analogous- hunting has struggled with defining ethics since it became a matter of sport, whereas the idea of a right of armed self defense is more of a constant among gun owners, particularly in the face of such a bad law as the assault weapons ban. Hunters being concerned with fair chase and self policing is healthy.

    “What’s even worse is groups like the Mule Deer Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are willing participants in this charade. Both those groups should now be pariahs within the hunting community. Hunters should have nothing to do with them.”

    With respect, this statement is either ignorant or foolish. Both of those organizations are primarily concerned with habitat and species health, along with ethical hunting. Leaving the question of ethics aside, here are two good practical reasons for them to be opposed with farmed elk and deer; first, Chronic Wasting Disease is a very real threat to deer and elk herds, and possibly human health- farmed animals, unable to disperse, both harbor and spread the disease to wild herds. Second, both organizations have a history of partnership with landowners as a way of preserving habitat. Ranchers and farmers persuasively argue that large blocks of land make better habitat than 5 or 20 acre “ranchettes” with summer homes on them. However, 2,000 acres behind a high fence, stocked with farm-raised animals, provides no more habitat for wild herds than a block of high rises.

    Last, the worry and debate of hunting becoming a rich man’s game contributes the concern over “farmed hunting”. You’ll notice the graphic in the WSJ article shows that there are a bit more than 14 million hunting licenses sold, about as many as in 1965. The difference is, the amount of land available for hunting is vastly smaller today than back then. It’s pretty hard for a hunter to feel much like a minority when private property lease prices spiral ever upward, permission to hunt private land is ever harder to obtain, and public land sees more and more pressure as a result. Encouraging pay-to-hunt farm-raised animals does not address this problem. As usual, the NRA is clueless when it comes to hunting issues. They ought to be worrying about habitat and land availability rather than whether hunting is under siege from the animal rights folks.

  17. Ed says:

    “As usual, the NRA is clueless when it comes to hunting issues. They ought to be worrying about habitat and land availability rather than whether hunting is under siege from the animal rights folks.”

    Riiight…because it’s the National Hunting Association.

    “You’ll notice the graphic in the WSJ article shows that there are a bit more than 14 million hunting licenses sold, about as many as in 1965. The difference is, the amount of land available for hunting is vastly smaller today than back then.”

    No, the difference is in 1965, there were fewer than 200 million people in the US and today there are about 310 million. Where should the added 120 million or so people live? Only in areas already populated in 1965?

    Beyond that, look at the percentage of people who hunt, and therefore care about hunting at all. In 1965, it was about 7.5% of the population. Today, it’s about 4.5%. Hunting isn’t growing, and as hunters become a smaller percentage of the population, their influence will wane further. What better way to grow the sport than to limit opportunities by banning certain types of hunting that might be more feasable for those who are somewhat interested, but can’t or won’t take the time to hunt in what I agree is the more sporting fashion.

    “hunting has struggled with defining ethics since it became a matter of sport,”

    Not exactly. Certainly, any sport has rules, but ethics? The reason ethics are such a big part of hunting is precisely because animal rights activists assault the sport as nothing more than “murder.” Ridiculous, but clear evidence that the worry over “whether hunting is under siege from the animal rights folks” is hardly misplaced. Attitudes like those of RMEF or MDF are missing the bigger picture. Lack of habitat/places to hunt certainly has a negative effect on hunting, but what will kill hunting is people’s attitudes toward it, not the lack of game or land.

  18. Sebastian says:

    “As usual, the NRA is clueless when it comes to hunting issues. They ought to be worrying about habitat and land availability rather than whether hunting is under siege from the animal rights folks.”

    Because closing off areas to hunting because they happen to be on hundreds of thousands of acres of enclosed ranch space has nothing to do with access.

  19. Sebastian says:

    Repeat after me: When hunters argue amongst themselves what is and isn’t hunting, you all lose. That’s the bottom line. If it involves taking game for food or trophy, it’s hunting. Arguing over the ethics of that is going to end up with the destruction of hunting at the hands of people who think any harvesting of game is wrong.

  20. mdmnm says:

    Ed,

    Sure, hunters are a much smaller percentage of the population and shrinking as a percentage. Still, the numbers aren’t that far down. Further, you’re exactly right- the increase in population is why there is less land for hunting. I didn’t say anything about _why_ there is less land, or that people should disappear, or any such nonsense, merely that hunting opportunity has decreased.

    As for the NRA (of which I’ve long been a member) being the “National Hunting Association”, well, hey, they stick their oar into the waters and have shown a talent for coming down on the wrong sides of many issues, in my opinion. The NRA publishes “American Hunter” along with the Rifleman and tries to address hunting issues.

    Further, back when animal rights activists were anything other than folks concerned with the humane treatment of domestic animals like draft horses, hunters were writing about (and no doubt debating) the bounds of fair chase and what it meant to give game a “sporting chance”. Those ideas were part and parcel of combating the market hunting that was destroying what was left of the game animals in the US.

    Sebastian-
    No, if we don’t worry about what is hunting, and keep it fair, but rather defend any taking of animals (after all, is a pen raised white tail from a long line of animals artificially inseminated to breed for big antlers really “game”?), we’ll lose. The people who think any taking of game is wrong are lost to us; however, a lot of folks are neutral or positive toward hunting game that is used for food. Every under-sized high fence operation hurts hunters with those neutral folks, because they don’t provide a hunt, just a kill.

    “Because closing off areas to hunting because they happen to be on hundreds of thousands of acres of enclosed ranch space has nothing to do with access.” Enclose enough space, fair chase is possible. How much? Depends upon the terrain and the animal. As with any human endeavor, some folks will push the limits. Recall those Remington ads with Kirt Darner back in the 80’s- the ones with all the trophy bucks he claimed to have shot? Darner was busted in NM a couple of years ago for wildlife violations and, at the time, was running “hunts” for released elk on something like 80 acres. In any event, hunting isn’t being closed off on those hundreds of thousands of acres. Those captive bred and held animals can be killed. Just be honest about it, run them in a chute and use an air hammer. Don’t call it hunting. Alternatively, build up the habitat, drop the high fences, and charge a hefty fee to guide hunters to wild animals.

    Don’t get me wrong- I know there is a lot of gray involved and I personally believe that a high fence operation can offer an ethical hunt. However, I take issue with the idea that hunters need to hang together to the extend of defending all high fences operations and strongly disagree that taking captive bred deer or elk from within a high fence is either a good thing or hunting.

  21. Diomed says:

    Yep, doomed.

  22. Ed says:

    “The NRA publishes “American Hunter” along with the Rifleman and tries to address hunting issues.”

    Because the majority of hunters are gun owners, and hunting is worth protecting, but not at the cost of Second Amendment freedoms or even at the cost of political capital regarding the Second Amendment. It’s a fine goal to protect hunting, but hardly the organization’s primary mission.

    More importantly, animal rights activists have been protesting the killing of animals by any means since the late 19th century at the latest. That they are as effective as they are today is a result of their efforts for the past 125-odd years. This is further proof that habitat loss and “ethics” questions are not the main enemy of hunting. Animals adapt to habitat loss–witness deer, bear and mountain lions to name just a few. The reason hunting these animals in the suburbs and exurbs is even controversial has little to do with ethics, but everything to do with people’s attitudes toward killing them.

    Wildlife thrives in the suburbs, and hunting would be readily accessible to most anyone save for people’s sentiments, which exist largely because of animal rights activists subtle and not-so-subtle efforts to demonize hunting. The most ethical hunter, by the standards called for by RMEF etc., won’t be able to hunt not due to lack of access, but because hunting will be banned as cruelty, having nothing to do with canned hunts.

    Again, the problem is limiting the number of hunters. If you don’t approve of canned hunts, don’t go on one; even advise friends, family, etc. not to participate in such hunting. But denying someone else the opportunity because you find it distasteful does not help make hunting legitimate in the eyes of the real danger to the sport, which is non-hunters’ attitudes.

  23. Sebastian says:

    OK, I’ll suggest this. We can debate the ethics of hunting, but lets agree not to ban that which we think is unethical, or problematic for the sport, provided that it’s not endangering proper wildlife management practices to ensure there’s wildlife for future generations.

    This isn’t Teddy Roosevelt’s era anymore. Market hunting is long dead. The biggest threat to hunting is from animal rights activists, and by agreeing to ban a form of the sport that you don’t approve of, you’re only playing into the divide an conquer strategy.

    Defeat HSUS first, then debate the merits of how ranches can have ethical hunts.

    If you can’t do that, your sport is doomed. They will destroy it. I have seen what HSUS does, and they are very good. They make the Brady folks look like pikers, and they are coming for hunting. If you can’t hang together, you’re going to hang separately.

  24. mdmnm says:

    Sebastian,
    Well, as I mentioned initially, ethics aside, there are good practical reasons to oppose high fence operations and that do involve proper wildlife management.

    That aside, ethics are important. I’ve been encouraged, the last few years, by the positive reception hunting gets among the folks who read things like Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. It’s not that long a step from prizing “free range chicken bagged up at a farmer’s market with the feet still on”, killed that morning by the vendor, to accepting someone collecting their own venison, then cutting and wrapping it. Polls have indicated that the majority of the population is neutral or positive toward hunting for food. By removing fair chase or tolerating poor behavior, you squander that good will or neutrality, giving the HSUS folks a real basis to come after hunting.

    Also- market hunting of the public resource is dead since passage of the Lacey Act. The market for hunting (as witnessed by the high fence operations) is and always will be there, posing a very real threat to the North American model of wildlife management championed by TR and others.

    Ed- “Wildlife thrives in the suburbs” – Some wildlife, whitetail deer, coyotes, Canada geese, squirrels, raccoons, opossums. Elk, mule deer, grouse (forest or prairie), quail and many others, not so much.

    To another point, I never said the hunting was the NRA’s primary mission. I don’t think they’re very thoughtful about the issues at all. What I said is that they come down on the wrong side of many issues regarding hunting. I’m a bit confused by your argument overall, is it “the NRA doesn’t do hunting so don’t expect them to do it well?” I agree that hunting isn’t and shouldn’t be their main concern.

    “But denying someone else the opportunity because you find it distasteful does not help make hunting legitimate in the eyes of the real danger to the sport, which is non-hunters’ attitudes.” I agree that non-hunters’ attitudes are critical to the future of hunting. I disagree that supporting practices which are ethically questionable (among many who hunt, but not all), and, in the case of the high fences can have measurable negative impacts (like increasing CWD), will help improve non-hunters’ attitudes. To the contrary, upholding high ethical standards, whether not leaving trash in campsites, not wasting game meat, and engaging in fair chase will keep hunting legitimate in non-hunters’ eyes.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Carry Concealed – 117 - [...] Why Hunting is Doomed [...]
  2. Antique Gun Show « Cemetery's Gun Blob - [...] One thing that annoyed me, was the sense of elitism.  I’m not talking about the hoity-toitiness of balls out …
top