If Hunters Kill For Fun…
by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, Warren, PA., January 21, 2006.)
I'm going to rant. Anti-hunting zealots have a big megaphone, and as our society grows increasingly urbanized I don't believe that we can depend on the majority to take the side of hunters -- or even to understand it.
Yes, a few hunters might fit better in a Cro-Magnon culture.
But it is equally true that non-hunters can be heartless
people. Some are doctors, lawyers and businessmen.
Some animal rights advocates are high on that list.
Anti-hunters often say inflammatory things about hunters, and I recently read this sentence in an essay by one of them: "Let's call hunting what it is: A sport where people kill for fun!" The author went on to equate hunting with murder.
Although I will not throw everyone who is against hunting into a single broad category, anyone who believes that quote should be thrown somewhere. He or she ought at least to be thrown out of any serious dialog on the motivations for hunting.
With that statement the writer signals that hunters are an aberration, dumps every hunter into the category of an immoral, bloodthirsty and dangerous killer bent on illicit thrills, and asserts that hunters have no place in a civil society.
Yes, some hunters lack sensitivity, and a few might fit better in a Cro-Magnon culture. But it is equally true that heartless people can be found among non-hunters. Some of them are doctors, lawyers and businessmen. Some animal rights advocates are high on that list.
It's also true that among hunters you will find some of the most sensitive, gentlest, and socially responsible people anywhere. The real fact is that hunters are just like any other segment of the general population.
If killing for fun is the primary motive for hunters, why don't they gravitate to methods that give them the most bang for their buck. There are less costly ways to get a thrill from killing than to buy an expensive firearm or bow, a wardrobe of hunting clothing, and a duffel full of gear -- just to put the lights out on an animal.
If hunters kill for fun, why don't they inflict mortal wounds on as many animals as possible, leave them in the woods to suffer and rot, and go on to kill more before deciding to put a tag on one of them?
If hunters kill for fun, why do many of them go to the trouble of keeping and caring for dogs 365 days a year for a couple of weekends of hunting? Why does just watching a dog work bring joy to the hunter, regardless of whether killing an animal is the result?
If hunters kill for fun, why aren't they the scourge of their neighborhoods, snuffing out neighbors' pets, and luring songbirds to their feeders in order to pop them with silent air rifles? And why isn't there more poaching?
If hunters kill for fun, why do they adopt so many handicaps? Why do some choose primitive weapons and spend countless hours becoming proficient with them? Why would any of them hunt all day -- or maybe all season -- then deliberately pass an opportunity to shoot an animal, and walk out with an unfilled tag?
If hunters kill for fun, why do they get up hours before dawn, willingly suffer the discomforts of inclement weather, put miles on their legs and generally work so hard for what is actually a rare opportunity to take an animal?
If hunters kill for fun, why is it that the hunt never ends with a kill? A kill is only part of the hunt -- and at that point, the work gets harder.
If hunters kill for fun, why do so many devote countless hours and a small fortune to conservation organizations in order to improve wildlife habitat and make sure ducks and deer and turkeys and trout survive for future generations, including the non-hunting public?
Yes, hunters are as honorable as any other segment of the population, but in commitment to conservation they have proven they are far better. On average they contribute much more than a few token dollars for the benefit of wildlife, plus countless hours of their time.
Anyone who thinks that the kill is the primary motivation for hunters may just be ignorant of the facts. But I also wonder if it's the anti-hunters who are the aberration. I wonder if there might be more hate in people who hate hunting than there is in hunters. Hunters enjoy hunting. Yes, sometimes killing is an outcome of the hunt. So is relishing the hunt, every time it doesn’t result in killing.
It’s a hunting thing. A few people are unable, others are probably unwilling, and some might even be too hateful, to understand.