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Prairie_Scouter

Hunting - What's the attraction?

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I'm not convinced its our duty as humans to thin the herds and replace the predators we chased off. Nature has its own method of thinning herds. When a herd overpopulates, food supplies become scarce. The animals become stressed and their reproductive systems shut down. The weakest animals in the herd are ripe for disease and starvation, thus strengthening the overall health the the surviving blood lines. Those that perish, become food for scavangers. It ain't pretty, but its been successful for millions of years.

The problem with hunters in the mix, is they mess up the natural selection process by not taking the sick and starving, but the healthy ones likely to survive the stress. This allows the sick and weak a greater chance of survival, probably not what nature had in mind. The scavengers are also short changed. Anytime man meddles in mother nature, there are unintended consequences. I've posted before that my neighborhood is overrun with mule deer. I'd love to see the herd thinned. It will, but after they do considerable damage to my garden and flower beds. I'm just impatient so I support hunting in my backyard. Its selfish, I admit. I also don't want to watch the show nature will put on when they run out of geraniums and start starving under my deck. But that is how nature works.

 

I'm not an anti hunting tree hugger. I just think some of the arguments for hunting are not based on science. If you like to hunt, go do it. Do it so the animal suffers the least, and use the animal you take. I really don't care whether its sporting or not. Thats up to the hunter.

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It seems there's a fair bit of misinformation running through this thread. Game management is a science and most states G&F departments are getting pretty good at it. There has been plenty of mis-steps through the years but things tend to be run pretty good nowadays. Game herds today are much better off now than they were a hundred years ago. I imagine that if we didn't have G&F departments to manage our wildlife we wouldn't have much wildlife left to enjoy. I think Prairie_Scouter should be very thankful for hunters because if they weren't around his photo safaries wouldn't be very successful nor enjoyable.

 

I live in Arizona. AZ has an amazing number of big game species to hunt and really can be considered a hunter's paradise. There are antelope, elk, black bear, big horn sheep, cougar, several species of deer, bison, javelina. Most of the world record Rocky Mt. Elk have been taken here. The G&F department is constantly monitoring the herds of all big-game, and to a lesser extent small game. Each year, depending on the current population, environmental conditions such as water and forage levels, hunter success rates, calfing success, etc., they set the hunt limits for the coming seasons. All of this big game management has positive impacts on the small game such as fox, badger, coyote, skunk, raccoon, porcupine, etc. Basically all the money funding this is paid for by sportsmen via license fees, game tags, fishing stamps, taxes on ammunition, fishing gear and hunting weapons.

 

There's been some comments about archery hunting and how a bow and arrow isn't an effective weapon. What's been written here is not true. I know several hunters that have killed bison with bow and arrow. Killing bear with bow & arrow is a common occurrence. The famous Howard Hill (did bow & arrow shooting for Errol Flynn as Robin Hood) killed an African bull elephant with a longbow & arrow. As a matter of fact, all the big five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, cape buffalo) have been taken with a bow. The big problem is bow hunters that concern themselves with arrow speed instead of impact force. Fast, light arrows may work fine on deer or Mt. lion but they aren't as effective as a slower heavier arrow on thick skinned game such as bison. These light arrows aren't effective with thick bone too, such as shoulder blades and skulls. Of course, the head is a pretty ineffective place to shoot some big game as bullets are even known to ricochet of the skull.

 

I've hunted. Currently the only firearm I have is a 12g. shotgun I've taken dove and quail with. I have several bows. A compound, a recurve, and a couple of longbows. The only game I've taken with them are carp (bow fising) and a couple of rattle snakes. I've bow hunted for mule deer, elk, antelope, and javelina, never successfully. I shot at a fox once we called in but was a bit high. So it goes. My dad's dad used to hunt deer a lot. My dad liked to hunt pheasant but doesn't care much for big game hunting. I never went hunting with him and didn't know he ever hunted until we talked after I had started getting into archery hunting.

 

I love to camp and be in the great outdoors. When I hunt, I am way more aware of my surroundings. The concentration on everything around is much more heightened. To me, that is probably the biggest draw for hunting. I don't really care if I have a "successful" hunt or not, there is just something quite spectacular and special about using ones senses in ways that aren't normally needed. Of course, filling my tag would be icing on the cake. Right now, my biggest problem with hunting is that I just haven't been able to take the time to do it for several years now.

 

SWScouter

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Sorry SWScouter,

 

I didn't mean to imply that taking Bison or other thick-skinned animals like Bear was impossible with a Bow - only difficult. Most states have very specific rules about the type of arrow and arrow head one can use to hunt different species, as well as the draw strength of the bow. Somtimes these rules are counterintuitive to what is needed for a successful hunt which adds to the difficulty.

 

CalicoPenn

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CalicoPenn,

 

I enjoyed most of your post that I forgot it was you that wrote about the archery bear hunt.

 

A big problem with archery hunting, is that a lot of bowhunters don't understand that the bow and arrows needed will vary with the game being hunted. A setup adequate for deer may very well not be for bear and probably won't be for bison.

 

Most people seem to know that, for example, a 22LR is fine for rabbit but completely inadequate for deer. The same issues occur for bowhunters too, but fewer seem to take that into account. When Howard Hill hunted elephant in Africa, he used a bow with much higher poundage and very heavy arrows. He knew better than to use the same setup he used for hunting deer in America. The movie, "Tembo," which he produced, documents his hunt.

 

Once upon a time there was a bowhunter sponsored by PSE that went to Africa to hunt with his ultra slick PSE compound bow with overdraw and short super light arrows that flew very fast. He took several great shots at a cape buffalo. The arrows hit right where they were supposed too. The buff barely noticed it was being hit as the arrows bounced right off. The guiding service pretty much stopped the whole hunt. Needless to say, PSE kept this as quiet as it could. Not only was it a marketing nightmare, it really damaged the reputation of all bowhunters and made it difficult for other bowhunters to secure the guiding services they need for hunting African big game.

 

Well, I think I've strayed off topic long enough.

 

Happy hunting,

SWScouter

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I agree with all of the arguments on why we need to keep the herds healthy. I think that there's a certain irony in the fact that hunters pay to help keep the herds healthy so that they can keep killing them, but it does work. In the modern world, wildlife has to be managed as more people encroach on historical wildlife ranges. I believe that we are much too selfish as a society to say, "Stop. These other beings have a right to their living space as well". I think that that is the root problem. We as human beings think that we have some divine right to expand our populations and "range" without limit, and "plow under" anything that gets in our way, including, at times, other humans.

 

Someone mentioned visiting Horicon in Wisconsin. The bird refuge butts up right against the hunting area, and what I find amazing is that you can go up there during the migration and see tens of thousands of geese in the refuge, but hardly any of them will go into the airspace over the hunting area. Smart birds, those geese.

 

People do get distressed over the geese, and their byproducts:), in the burbs around Chicago. The wintering area for the geese here is just in Southern Illinois, so they can get there in a day if the weather turns bad, and return later when the weather clears (how they know that, I have no idea). So, folks buy these expensive houses near the drainage ponds, and then are surprised when wildlife gathers there. I may be a city kid, but I'm not THAT dopey. Here's a true story. There's a nature sanctuary near us that has a demonstration farm to give kids an idea of what farm life would be like. About 10 years ago, a small piece of adjacent land was developed and some large homes put on it. Folks thought it was pretty cool to have a nature sanctuary right next door. Scroll forward a few months. Home owners start complaining that on some days, it smells like a farm in their neighborhoodk, and wild animals keep walking through their properties. Duh.

 

Anyway, back on topic. Not so much wondering about the "need" for hunting to replace the predator species, but more on the mindset that can take some sort of "pleasure" in killing another living thing. I agree with all of the good things that go along with hunting, up to but not including the point where the trigger gets pulled and the animal goes down. Seems like many of the points made here talk about the comradery, the thrill of the chase, the tracking skills, but I don't see many people talking about the actual killing. Maybe it's some sort of "guilty pleasure" or something?

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First let me be clear, I love hunting and all thats accociated with it, that includes the killing part. Its part of hunting, if you feel bad about killing, then you need to find a new sport.

 

That being said if you have never seen the way wild predators kill other animals, you would be in for a treat. Man is extremely humaine compared to wolves or coyotes. Atleast we kill our aniimals before eating them.

 

Since I live in the county in NY that has the highest Car to Deer accidents and have had 2 cars destroyed by deer, I wish hunters would kill more of them.

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None of the hunters I know take pleasure in the kill - and I think most would agree that this is a narrow way of looking at the sport - we take pleasure in the hunt, in the process, in the whole - thats the key - the whole - even if there are some unpleasant parts of the experience. The kill is just one of the parts of the whole experience, a part of the process.

 

I think in most activities, there are things that need to be done that are done matter of factly - without emotion attached (and I don't mean in a Mr. Spock kind of way - just a neutrality about it). The best hunters I know go about "the kill" (which is just a small part of the whole experience anyway, if the experience were to be parsed into separate parts. The actual kill would be the smallest part, taking maybe 5 seconds - the time it takes to aim and fire) and the field dressing of the game afterwards without emotion attached - its just part of the job at hand. We celebrate the result - not the action. Its not guilt that prevents people from talking about it, its that we don't see it as an issue.

 

That being said, I'm sure there are "hunters" out there who do get "pleasure" from the kill - they're the type that say "let's go out and kill something" Note the use of parenthesis - most hunters disavow themselves of these kind of people pretty darn quickly and don't hang out with them - and will never hunt with them (frankly, these kind of people are too dangerous to hunt with). We have a phrase for these people - Slob Hunters.

 

As I've alluded to before, all activities have their slobs - the small minority of people that give us all a bad name. Photographers even have a special word for the slobs that give them a bad name - Paparazzi.

 

A friend of mine played football in college - He enjoyed just about every aspect of it - he got a lot of pleasure playing football but there was one rather unpleasant thing that he didn't like - being tackled and getting hurt - he never took pleasure in being tackled, or getting hurt, or even tackling other people. But he knew its part of the game and he wasn't going to let it take away from the pleasure he got playing. I think thats the same with hunters - we may think that the kill, or the field dressing, or standing in a tree stand for hours in 20 degree weather, or some other part of hunting is unpleasant, but it won't diminish the pleasure we get in the whole activity.

 

Perhaps the best way to sum up is to say that all of us do some activity that other people just don't understand - and its very hard to explain the intangibles to someone who hasn't tried the sport, game, activity, job - we can all try, but we'll never fully "get it" - all we can hope for is that we gain enough understanding to appreciate each others differences.

 

CalicoPenn

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hey Prairie_Scouter,

 

As a nature photog...what you do ...is Take pictures...not hunt...you are a visitor to nature: a voyeur if you will...

 

In my world... hunting has to include the ability and the will to Kill. Kill...not harvest or "take" or even "cull" which are politically correct terms to avoid further inflaming the tree huggers and others who have more than a slight tendancy to look down their noses at hunters (as well as taking actions to take away our rights to hunt)...

 

I hunt with shotguns, black powder weapons and rifles. I used to use a bow, until surgery screwed up my ability to "hold" the drawn arrow for extended periods. I would hunt with rocks if it was legal...

 

I eat what I kill and use the hair for tying flys...(I fish, too!), the hides for leather and antlers, if any, for buttons, making 'rattlers' for my friends and yes sometimes barn decorations...no heads hung in my house as an accomodation to my 'bunny huggin' wife".

 

what is the attraction?

(not necessarily in any particular order)

 

1. being in the woods (and "in" nature)in a way where my mistakes and/or lack of skill, caution and stealth "mean" no deer (or bear, or squirrel or ducks, or ground hogs..or etc..)

 

2. being out of civilized culture even for a few hours...and a real part of a predatory world.

 

3. the thrill (yes, thrill) of scouting, Stalking - quietly approaching, taking aim and finally if everything is 'right'... killing my diner.

 

4. making some effort to connect with the (my)past...with the few drops of native american blood passed down through my mothers family, that still course through my veins.

 

5. connecting with the generations of Virginians who did hunt both for provision and for social sport - (getting together after harvests were "in" for the season)...people who walked and hunted the same land I hunt for hundreds of years.

 

6. demonstrating to myself that I can provide for "my own", and add abundance and healthy variety to my diner table... and to the experiences my children can have!

 

7. to sharpen my senses and skills

 

8. to take part in the cycle of life where what some Native Americans call the "small death", feeds the family and then life thereby continues (it is mystical and spiritual so many of the tree huggers wont get it).

 

9.To support wildlife management in my state

(gun, ammo, archery sales taxes and license fees pay for game management efforts not general tax dollars- and so the nature photogs have a free ride ;>)

 

10. To teach my children and some of my neighbor's children a valuable skill set and a way to spend more quality time with each other and foster (I hope) their ability to appreciate life and nature.

 

As to many of the 'examples' you cited...we all recognize them as "bait" and in most cases "evidence" of some moral failing ...at least according to some (your?) particular value set.

 

Most of them would not fall into my world view of or as hunting but I would leave the judging to others more pure than I...

 

though... I would like to know if you could kill a deer at 200 yards or an elk at 400? or a charging wild hog at thirty yards with a handgun? It might not be hunting but it is certainly good shooting!

 

and finally to S_P, I am not aware of modern sportsmen having hunted any animal to near extinction? we are good but not that good...and to the best of my knowledge, in this county... no legally hunted animals have been hunted to extinction in the last two generations??? Do you have other information...

 

most "near" extinctions come from poisons; (chemicals)required to keep feeding you city kids or loss of habitat due to population expansion and pollution not modern hunting and certainly not to the so called "sport" hunting. Interestingly most conservation efforts are funded by...(drum roll, please)'sportsmen' not city slickers and nature photogs...

 

and the endangered species efforts funded by federal dollars are the results of harm caused almost exclusively by "progress" impacts not by sport hunting...just as the depletion of the oceans is being done by the factory ships feeding the "cities" and an ever increasing population...not by sport fishermen.

 

To all of the "cello wrapped, meat eating" anti hunting folks out there -that say "MMMUUUMMM good!", when they chew into a good steak...The 'pleasure' we hunters "get" from killing game animals is a much more ethical and morally justifiable pleasure than that which you express when eating beef or pork which is over-medicated, over fed, supported by the pollution of our waterways and groundwater, produced by an industry which is "energy" (use-wise) inefficent and requires billions of tons of excess fertilizer to be used and food grains diverted from feeding people to fattening cows and pigs...Hows that for a morally 'laden' arguement?

 

now, am I having a deer steak or roast beef for dinner tonight??? gotta go check the freezer.

anarchist

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Hi Anarchist,

 

Well, we are all "visitors" in wilderness areas, whether we be hunters, photographers, hikers, etc.

 

Now, I didn't say that I "hunt" in my time as a photographer; I just said that I have learned many of the tracking skills that a hunter would use. Depending on the wildlife, I may have to occasionally get closer than some hunters would in order to get the shot that I want.

 

It seems from the posts here that the majority of hunters do have respect for the life that they are ending, which does go back to traditional roots. I think that that's an important thing. Maybe I've just seen too many idiots hunting in the "wilds" of Wisconsin and Illinois. Could be I've been looking at a bad sample.

 

Yes, if you say "modern hunters", you're right. Most species that were going to be driven to near extinction already have, and those species are being managed as best we can to try and increase their probability of survival. On the other hand, people out West are chomping at the bit to get the grizzly off of the protected list now that they have at least reached critical numbers, so that they can start killing them again.

 

Not trying to make anyone fit into my sense of morals. Just trying to understand why people do it, at a very basic level, and not trying to judge. I certainly don't feel morally superior because I get my food at the Jewel. I don't think it makes me somehow less moral than a subsistence hunter, either. I rock climb; most people think I'm nuts. Different strokes........

 

But, I guess I'm going to have to take issue with what seems to be really negative characterization of those that you describe as "tree huggers". Depends on your definition, I guess. I think we need to recognize that we share a huge ecosystem with everything around us. We have demonstrated that we can and will destroy large tracts of land for not so savory motives. We've demonstrated that if the profit is right, we'll drive animals to near extinction. The question is whether we can shepherd what we have so that it is still here for generations to come, and not make such bad judgements that we start to endanger those generations to come. Right now, I think we're making some really bad judgements. On the other hand, I think our forests have to be managed effectively, and our wildlife as well. As much as I'd like think that we can live peacefully with nature, I don't think that that's really possible. We are a predator species (although as soon as we put our guns down, we drop down the list pretty fast :)), and we also have a responsibility to manage prey species where we have eliminated that natural predators. There need to be a balance, and I hope that the majority of those who take those opportunities to kill animals in the hunt have the proper respect for those lives, that's all.

 

 

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As long as you remember that people are part of nature, not apart from it. We should not feel guilty about being on top of the food chain.

 

At least hunters have a good understanding of where food really comes from. Many non-hunters remind me of the Lion (Alex) from the movie Madagascar. They are happy to eat steak, but have no concept of the fact that someone had to kill the steer to remove the steak.

 

Even vegetarians kill helpless plants to feed themselves. Many devour the embryos of plants in some sort of genocidal mania. Or maybe they are just hungry omnivores looking for a meal. Hmmmm....

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Hailing from the backwoods of KY I grew up around hunters, fishin' guys, and other outdoor types.

 

My dad took me deer hunting a few times, but I didn't get into it.

Sitting in a tree freezing in not my idea of fun.

 

I think the best hunting experience I had was when I was about 6 I went coon hunting. Now that was fun. Running around in the woods chasing dogs.

Another good time was frog giggin'. Sneaking up on big bullfrogs was cool.

I also had my share of fishing for crappie, bass, other stuff.

 

I don't hunt now, but I do love eating deer, froglegs, squirrel, rabbit, snake, and other game meat.

 

If you enjoy hunting, do it safely and with in the law. I'm not going to get upset.

 

 

 

 

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Oh, hey folks, we are not always at the top of the food chain. Try scuba diving. Especially in Northern California ( great whites! ). When you jump off the boat, you are no longer at the top!

 

Regarding the discussion on 'tree-huggers', I think we get this attitude about conservationist efforts because of the multitude of legal wranglings that goes on in our courthouses. For example, we have had an ongoing situation in the Sierra foothills about habitat for the red-legged frog near a proposed development. Problem is, no one has seen a red-legged frog in the area in question. But its tied up in the courts because of the possibility of there being one there...

 

Now, I'm making an observation, not a judgement, but I'm sure you can see how some people can get worked up on a situation like that. There is a small group of people who have used the legal system to impose their will on the local majority.

 

I'm sure that statement will garner a variety of responses from the forum! Have at it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If some of you don't like to do it and some have tried and still don't like it then why on earth would anyone care why myself and others like to do it?

 

I have a massive list of very popular things that I don't like, but I'm not out make you justify why you like anything.

 

Old Grey Eagle you probably like Gene Hill, heck you sound just like him. Some of these folks could read Gene Hill and still not get it. His writing is very good. Especially this year since I did not hunt one day. Not Good.

 

As far as bow hunters shooting caged buffalo and all the other bad stories---I think we're all old enough to know there's good and bad in every group. Any group is derived from the society around it. So before we bring up Eagle Scout snipers and Eagle Scouts that kill young black men let's let all those stories be put to bed.

 

I know some golfers that cheat like heck.

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