A Friday Provocation: Is Hunting Really Vital to US life?

by: Peter Jukes

Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:26:04 AM EST

So this is brief provocation rather than a proper essay, and I truly hope to inspire some contrary points rather than nods of assent. Without going into the emotional question about assault weapons after Newtown, or indeed concealed hand guns etc, I'm just querying a suggestion - often put - that rifles are essential to US life because so many rely on hunting.

Tendentious one sided image of a Moose Hunter to get y'all riled up

So here's a comment I put on Orange which I hope you will (pardon the pun) shoot down, or at least discuss in animated (but always civil) terms.

Ya all know them roolz.  

Peter Jukes :: A Friday Provocation: Is Hunting Really Vital to US life?
OK here's my comment from another place


If you look at US weapons ownership, it has NO correlation with rural life or hunting. Indeed, though the mystique of the frontier and the cabin in the woods still possesses many of my US friends, by the mid 19th Century the US was one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and the percentage of its population who inhabit rural areas is negligible compared to most countries in Europe, let alone Africa, where hunting genuinely a vital part of the local diet.

The hunting lobby - it seems to me - while on much surer footing than the NRA, is actually perpetuating some unsustainable myth of self reliance, which vanished for most Americans by the early 20th century. Of course, and this is their legitimate defence, there are millions of Americans who hunt, occasionally, mainly for sport rather than sustenance. Hunting and culling plays an important role in semi-agrarian areas in reducing crop loss and maintaining sustainable populations of certain wild life.

But the idea than any substantial numbers of Americans rely on firearms for their daily sustenance is...  still tosh, piffle and balderdash

When I get a moment I'll see if I can dig up some stats on this. I remember looking at this a while back, and finding data to back up my arguments.

But I might have misremembered, misinterpreted, and more than happy to be proved wrong.

Another tendentious image: Palin's Real Women Hunt Moose

For the annoying sake of fairness I should link to Slate article (HT onomastic) which outlines how those who hate industrial food production have returned to hunting;


But enough balance from me.

Now have at it!

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Even Iowa is not as rural as people think. The land may be farmed, but (2.00 / 20)
the people are in the cities:

Urban and rural population (2010)

Urban: 64.02%

Rural (total): 35.98%

Hold on.... I thought you were all pioneers and trappers (2.00 / 19)
That was the case, at least, last time our german king George ruled over you.

Though actually, even then, the big populations on the East Coast were mainly sustained through trade, fishing and arable farming.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
And if I'm right (2.00 / 14)
Most the farming land is arable. ERG0 - most the diet and economy output comes from crops, not hunted meat.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Most of the food we sell is raised. Pretty much every farmer is (2.00 / 15)
also a hunter though - those deer are prolific!! And many fish, as well.  

[ Parent ]
LOL!! (2.00 / 20)
Tendentious one sided image of a Moose Hunter to get y'all riled up

Well, I am aghast and agape and aggrieved.

At the risk of offending your Pun Police:

I will be back as soon as I can bear to read the rest of your article.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

i did that once, recently (2.00 / 19)
i was in a coffee shop, knitting.  as i regularly do on alternate saturday lunchtime.

nearby table was working on their 2nd amendment rights, so i rolled up my sleeves.  ;-)  kept my mouth zipped.  tried to limit rolling mai eyes.  

[ Parent ]
That was "bare" arms ... not "bear" arms. Which are much hairier. ;) (2.00 / 17)

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
they were the only arms i had with me! (2.00 / 17)
although i can do damage with the right knitting needle.  there's a reason those things are worried about by the TSA! /snark

[ Parent ]
I'm not saying BTW that NO ONE in the US hunts for food (2.00 / 18)
But that it's vanishingly few, and nothing to justify even a fraction of the 300 million firearms in circulation in the US.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

Depends on your definition of "hunts for food." (2.00 / 19)
And I think correlating that to the 300 million firearms is inaccurate.

I have friends whose husbands/fathers/brothers hunt for food.  Do they have to?  No.  They do it because they like the meat, be it deer or moose or turkey, and because they enjoy the exercise of hunting [the latter I'll never understand but I like to knit so there's that].  And being away from teh womenfolk.  I don't begrudge them the exercise so long as it isn't sport hunting because I find that abhorrent; as do I find moutning heads or other body parts gross.  One friend has two dear heads staring at you no matter where you sit in her living room.  Blech!

Those people who do hunt may also have non-hunting weapons which are counted in the 300 million figure.  Those may be for collecting or protection or dick-swinging.  But I would be interested to see some figures on those who own firearms who do hunt versus those who own firearms who don't hunt.  Just because I'm curious.  I bet, and have zero data to back this up, that most who do own firearms do not hunt.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I'm with you on all that.... (2.00 / 19)
...but particularly this

I would be interested to see some figures on those who own firearms who do hunt versus those who own firearms who don't hunt.  Just because I'm curious.  I bet, and have zero data to back this up, that most who do own firearms do not hunt.

The complete absence, nay suppression, of data on US gun ownership and gun related injuries and deaths, has completely staggered me in the last four years on the Moose

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Answer: "Yes" (2.00 / 19)
Never have hunted, never will, but for a variety of reasons the answer to your question is yes.

Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Hunters for the Hungry

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation's Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) program is reporting another record year, with total venison donations up 13 percent over last season's record. Tennessee deer hunters donated nearly 63 tons of lean, high-protein venison that provided more than half a million meals to their hungry neighbors through local food pantries.

This author is similarly not a hunter, but makes the argument I have lived with in Canada and California. Starving deer are not a pretty sight, and bringing large carnivore populations up to pre-human levels in populated areas is not an option:

Hunting controls deer overpopulation

Those cute doe-eyed fawns and weeping momma deer cry not from the hunters bullet, which is usually quick, but from a very slow and agonizing death by starvation. Once starvation sets in, disease kicks in. Then all those thriving beautiful deer that you were so proud to defend die those slow painful deaths.

Either way, nature will thin the herds. Either we do it, by hunting, as mankind is the natural predator now that we have eliminated most of the natural predators in this area, or we do not do it and they eventually overpopulate and begin dying off in large groups, weak, starving, diseased, gasping for breath, unable to even stand for the last several days of their miserable lives. I have seen it first hand. Not with deer, but with other starving animals.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

I would politely point out that the question was if hunting were "vital". (2.00 / 14)
Your examples may show why it is important or even valuable to some people but "vital" may be taking it a bit too far.

It is not vital to my life and I am part of the US.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Feeding hungry people is vital, (2.00 / 15)
and there are far more who feed their own families with hunting than the HFTH number. In places like I live in there are lots of poor families who feed themselves with hunting.

Managing the biosphere is vital for all of us, and that requires hunting (or "culling", merely hunting by another name). The plant life of the Santa Cruz Mountains, for example, is decimated by herds of starving deer every year and moreso during droughts.

Then there is the issue of whether it is literally 'vital' for us as human beings to reduce suffering. I'm a bleeding heart for suffering of any sort, but on a few occasions in my life I have had to take an avian life for that very reason. Rather than let an injured bird slowly die in pain I have done what is necessary to be humane. Makes me physically ill, to be honest, but doing the right thing does not always make us happy.

And as has been discussed recently, the worst moment of my life has been choosing to take the life of my best friend (a dog, I haven't had to kill a person... yet ;~) in order to do well by him.

So, of course politely, I think it is vital on a number of levels for us as a country to accept the necessity to kill animals.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Sweet corn is like candy to deer, and left to themselves the deer (2.00 / 12)
would leave very little for humans. For Iowa farmers to feed people someone needs to cull the deer herd to manageable levels.

[ Parent ]
But that's not hunting for food Chris (2.00 / 15)
I did include that in my comment: hunting to preserve crops or maintain sustainable wildlife populations.

Most of that is protecting grown foodstuffs, not providing a diet to the poor.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
I don't know any hunters who do not eat their catch. (2.00 / 18)
And as in my last comment, there are a very large number of poorer hunters who specifically feed or at least supplement the family diet with hunting. Without that source they would either have hungry or publicly-assisted families or be spending scarce resources and limiting other items (clothing/education...).

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Ted Nugent? (2.00 / 11)
And those wealthy guys that "hunt" endangered species in "preserves" in Texas.

[ Parent ]
Much as I love "Cat Scratch Fever", (2.00 / 4)
I don't have the dubious honor of knowing Mr. Nugent or anyone who behaves that way.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
My father-in-law doesn't eat much of what he hunts, (2.00 / 3)
mostly because my mother-in-law can't stand venison.  But my husband and I love it, and times have been hard over the last few years.  So Dad gives us 90% of his venison.  It's wonderful nutrition, since it is very lean.  Our dog also eats it.  I've tried to talk my husband into going out and doing some deerhunting himself, but to no avail.  I wouldn't need to buy any beef or bison meat at all this year if I had the meat from three deer in the freezer.  It would save us quite a bit of grocery money.

"Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, vol. 3, no. 18
(-8.50, -7.23)  

[ Parent ]
Mom-in-law needs to experience some real good marinating... ;~) (2.00 / 1)
But since D-i-l is a hunter I guess he's already tried that.

Yes, it makes a real difference in a lot of lives.

[curious, btw, are those political compass coordinates in your sig?]

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
...and I am in not-reading-fully mode, (2.00 / 12)
so pardon please for CBSE (comments based on scanning error ;~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
wile it is nice to know some about what people do, (2.00 / 17)
The premise that conclusions from it make arguments stronger or policy easier is not so comfy.
Leaving people alone is always a trend to be considered.
What's in peoples minds as they live, breathe, shoot or decry is their private business.
The xception to that is when people, politics and cartels and lobbying entities try to push one side to the exclusion of all others.
I fear guns and rifles and drones.
But I don't wanna put myself against hunters, or pickup trucks or woods people or game shooters. Not that I like people shootin birds or deer or anything particularly. But I know my preferences would make a lot of people very unhappy and upset, and if an attempt to legislate so narrowly was foolishly pursued, it wouldn't be good at all.
Guns are a cringe to me, often. Locking them down too far, real complex, and probably, in all that would ripple out, more wrong than right.

Whatever can be wrought that reduces the violence craze thru sane rules I will vigorously support. The straw purchase laws are smart. Assault weapons bans should come back. 10 bullets in a clip, ok. etc.

i'll bite, as a westerner (2.00 / 19)
yes.  people hunt for food, community, and recreation.  

less than half the deer tags get turned in with an actual shot deer in utah - i was told this by a former coworker quite a while ago.  when i was expressing sympathy for the deer.

the deer can get so freaking overpopulated, and it is bad in an urban area.  now the deer who live in the cemetery by the university seem to understand the rules of the road.  

let the hunters stand up and be counted and keep their appropriate hunting weapons.

i am sure that Natural Resource departments keep track of tags, success, populations, etc.  

oh, and the wolf hunting - that's morally abysmal, imho.  

Ah. I understand the importance of culling (2.00 / 15)
That's actually wildlife preservation. But it's not a subsistence diet.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
i googled (2.00 / 16)
i looked at message boards at the state natural resource division.

i am not sure i want to open a discussion question there about who hunts for food.  at least until i have breakfast.  or accumulate 5 hours of sleep today.  kinda brain mushy.  

[ Parent ]
hmm. several thoughts. (2.00 / 20)
(1) The appeal to "self reliance" you mention is pretty much the entire appeal of the GOP to those not incredibly wealthy, as I see it.  Voting maps correlate with this observation: rural areas tend to vote more GOP, urban, more Democratic.  Other issues involve fundamentalist or conservative flavors of Christianity more popular in rural areas. I think the self-reliance thing is much bigger than hunting.

(2) Is hunting vital to the US?  Maybe it oughtta be.  Read Fast Food Nation.  

(3) If hunting rifles were the real problem for gun violence, this conversation might have some impact. The guns people hunt with are not the guns involved (these aren't the guns we're looking for ... move along).

There are 300 million guns in this country.  Even if we banned all sales now, we'd still have a huge problem.  Of course, when in a hole stop digging, so new restrictions on sales are necessary.  TO stop gun violence will require much more than that tho... the hole is pretty deep.  The argument presented in this post probably makes the necessary work of getting rid of existing problem guns more difficult.  We will need allies in the gun ownership community.  Best not to go after the ones more likely (maybe not very) to support gun reduction measures.

"when in a hole, stop digging" (2.00 / 18)
The least compelling argument for not restricting sales is that we can't do anything about the 300 million guns already sold, so why bother? Well, because if we don't put sensible restrictions on those sales, in 4 years it might be 600 million guns. Plus a fair number of those 300 million guns can be made less deadly by restricting the type of ammunition they use, so yes, something can be done about the 300 million guns already out there.

I don't see why hunters can't be the natural allies of those who want sensible gun regulations. Why on earth would someone want to be stuck trying to defend the indefensible and nonsensical position of the NRA: that those 20 babies in Newtown needed to die to protect people's right to hunt?  

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
natural allies? (2.00 / 14)
It's a tough sell, I think, but the content of this diary makes it tougher by a bit rather than easier.  People who own guns are really quite concerned that the gov't will confiscate them.  For someone like me who thinks that probably has to happen in a clearly-thought-out way, that fear is a huge challenge. If you're not the one drawing the bright line, you fear where it will be drawn.

It may appear that I'm taking a devil's advocacy position, but your framing of Newtown is almost certainly rejected out-of-hand by most 2nd amendment supporters, from the all-the-way dk RKBA types to folks like me who do support an individual right well-defined (and who are probably not considered 2nd A supporters by most gun owners). If you were to approach hunters with that sort of rhetoric, the remainder of the conversation would be short and unproductive.  I realize we're chatting amongst friends on a relatively liberal blog, but still...  

And while, sadly, Newtown has become a "teachable moment" with respect to gun issues (that is, many more people seem to have woken up), it's an outlier in terms of gun violence events.  The daily small tragedies of ones and twos, mostly suicides, integrate up to much more pain than Newtown.  Roughly 30000 people a year die from guns, 20000 of which are suicides.  

[ Parent ]
Good points.... (2.00 / 12)
...and I completely take your point about 'not going' after responsible gun owners who own rifles or shotguns for recreational hunting.

But I'm just pondering whether hunting is really about subsistence, or actually wild life management. Them pesky facts, you know.

Somehow, as I have done on RKBNA diaries for the last four years, to skirt over inconvenient facts because they might be divisive, hasn't really helped.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
if you want to clear up your ponder, (2.00 / 11)
then you'd have to find or conduct a survey.  My speculation is that it's about recreation mostly.  All the people I know who hunt use the meat.  They do it for the challenge and for the meat.  No hunter I know personally undertakes the hunt for wildlife management.  

That said, none of the hunters I know live a subsistence hunting lifestyle.  They could easily afford supermarket meats in place of wild turkeys, ducks, geese, and deer.

Restrictions on the hunting season (number of kills permitted, periods of the hunt) are typically controlled by the state with wildlife management in mind, so the government considers hunting a beneficial thing to some extent, from a wildlife conservation point of view.

Also there are hunts that are conducted for management, and typically the state hires hunters to cull animals (recently certain snakes in Florida, commonly wild boars in state parks in the south).

I don't think I'm suggesting skirting over inconvenient facts.  It would actually be useful to have facts.  When I see some facts, pesky or otherwise, I'll bring 'em along.  I just think this particular issue is a pretty small crumb from the table of gun issues.

Lastly, framing is important.  For example, your premise,

rifles are essential to US life because so many rely on hunting

is a much stronger phrase that I can recall seeing.  You indicated a desire to provoke with this piece, and I suppose you have achieved something there.

[ Parent ]
Your question seems to assume (2.00 / 16)
subsistance and/or wildlife management are the only legitimate reasons to hunt (and, therefore, own and use a weapon).

Sorry - I'm not buying it. Talk to many hunters who've been doing it a while (for generations, usually), and you'll hear them talking about much, much more than subsistance or wildlife management.  It's amazing what hunters know (i.e., have learned) about so many things - about the habits of the game they're hunting as well as the habits of all the non-game who populate the area/s they hunt in; about habitat (a/k/a the environment); about weather; with bird hunting, about dogs and training dogs and learning how dogs learn; about tradition (family history as well as cultural/ethnic); etc., etc., etc. And then there's the experience of that "Circle of Life" thing, which can verge on a religious and/or sacred experience for some.

Hunting is not and never has been "just" about shooting a gun (or using a bow to shoot an arrow) to kill something to eat or to thin herds.  Is it "vital to US life"?  For those who hunt I think the answer is "Yes."  

I don't hunt - yet.  (I fish - and I do own a gun - a WWI Training Rifle, given to me by my grandfather who served in France in WWI and the South Pacific in WWII.) But hunting is on my bucket list.  Someday I want live with, love, and train a standard poodle to be good gun dog and a spectacular companion, like these two:

I think people like this man and his dog are vital to US life, and I don't want to see them go away. But hunters like this neither use nor need a semi-automatic weapon and high capacity magazine to engage in their beloved sport.  

[ Parent ]
Perfect example is Ducks Unlimited (2.00 / 10)
DU has conserved millions of acres of wetlands but they are a sportsman's organization first and foremost, they want to have plenty of ducks to shoot.

[ Parent ]
The members of DU that I know, are not the gun nuts who horde (2.00 / 10)
and worship guns for the sake of guns. They do it for both conservation and sport, and they eat then in high style.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I must have had a LaPierre buzz in my head that makes me irrational. (2.00 / 11)
I do remember reading that some of the RKBA crowd felt that the loss of those children was a "necessary evil" to protect the freedom to own firearms. I would disagree.

I personally don't want the conversation to be short and unproductive because the reminder that all those guns are out there makes me feel unsafe and concerned about the safety of my daughter who has to be out in the public more than I am (I sit in my home office 10 hours a day).

Newtown simply shined a spotlight on what has been happening in our country over the last 20 years: the amassing of power and influence in an organization which protects the rights of gun manufacturers to sell their products to anyone and everyone. And they did it through tried and true lobbying techniques: scaring people and buying congressmen. The pharmaceutical lobby did the same thing when they drew up Medicare Part D and when they interfered with reasoned debate about drugs when the ACA was being written.

So how do we have the conversation? Is there a rhetorical middle ground or are all the gray areas gone now?

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
woof. (2.00 / 10)
i'd be interested (if rather horrified) to see a link to such an argument.  Free will is a bitch: everyone else has it too.  I guess that's the argument?

It's a prisoner's dilemma of sorts.  If I can't be sure everyone else puts their guns down, I'm unwilling to put mine down... even if my holding it ensures others will too.

It's one thing to have this conversation among ourselves here.  It's quite another to have it in the outer world.  The hunting issue, whatever the deeper truth about its nature, is a distraction from the real problems of crime and self-defense.

there is some actual data (but it is frustratingly incomplete) at this site.

[ Parent ]
Hunting is a pastime ritual for many urban folks (1.87 / 15)
it usually involves spending a lot of money leasing a piece of land and drinking a lot with your hunting buddies.

The worst day deer hunting is when you actually do shoot a deer because there is a lot of work involved in that.

Besides the tenderloin, the meat is slightly edible when ground up with a lot of pork fat and spices. Wild turkey are stringy and nasty, geese are greasy, younger pigs are ok but are full of parasites, dove are a lot of work to clean, quail are rare and delicious and ducks are ducks.

Pheasants are the only game that I have hunted that people actually want and ask for.

Full disclosure BTW (2.00 / 13)
I HAVE been hunting in the US. I shot skeets in the UK, but in the US, on a Utah farm, we went buck rabbit shooting with big lights to blind the rabbits.

Didn't really like it - like shooting fish in a barrel. But I understood the buck rabbits were eating the farmers crops.

We did try to skin and dress one of the buck rabbits to eat: but it had been munching clover and smelt foul.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
This is not hunting. (2.00 / 10)
but in the US, on a Utah farm, we went buck rabbit shooting with big lights to blind the rabbits

And to equate this to hunting the, I'm guessing, majority of hunters do doesn't make sense.  That's akin to sport hunting.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I'd agree - but they called it hunting (2.00 / 9)

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
That turns my stomach (2.00 / 11)
I have no interest in hunting anymore, except for birds and the best part about that is watching the dogs work the fields.

[ Parent ]
That was in 1980 (2.00 / 9)
Never been shooting live game since

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
In Wisconsin, deer hunting is nearly a religion. (2.00 / 16)
Every year the north woods are filled with hunters of all ages and genders intent upon shooting deer. Very often it is accompanied by beer drinking and each year there are  a half-dozen tragic stories of someone being shot and killed by a fellow hunter.

Not being a hunter and having no acquaintances who hunt, I don't know if the "partying in the north woods" is the lure or if wanting to be part of the effort to cull the herd so that deer don't starve in the winter is what is drawing them there. I do know that people jogging on rural roads have been killed because they "looked like deer" (one woman dared to jog with a snow cap that had a round white puffball on it) and that, to me, suggests that hunters pumped to GET A DEER can be a danger to people. Hunters stray from designated areas, hunters start too early and end too late in the day to safely identify their targets.  So hunters are on my list of folks who I wish would be more careful with their hobbies because their hobbies can be deadly for innocent bystanders.

Hunting is not vital to me. I get my food from grocery stores and none of it is hunted.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Dumb question: who drew that cartoon? (2.00 / 15)
It's freaking epic. First time I've seen it.

Yeah. If I wasn't on the way out, I would credit (2.00 / 12)
I did in a diary circa Sept/Oct 08 when the Moose was founded, but my browser is awful slow and creaky today, and I have to go out. I'll find soon as....

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
From a real bleeding heart, here... (2.00 / 18)
Usually I stay in the shadows, but there are so many new names here that I figured this was as good a time to poke my head up as any...

The herd culling argument is the only one I've ever heard that makes any sense to me. But in my ideal world, we'd let nature do the hunting. Even predators have their role, and I'm big on wolf conservation. If our cities are consuming natural habitat, build smarter and more sustainable cities, roads, etc. If people want to eat meat, support your local organic farmer. If people want to drink beer in the woods, go pitch a tent and do it -- you don't need to chase down unwitting animals and shoot them to have a good time. If you feel unsafe in your home, keep wasp or bear spray around, and consider adopting a dog with a loud bark (seriously). During the period of my life when there was a firearm in my home (my ex's), it was far more a danger to me than to any intruder, of which there were none.

The proliferation of guns and other weaponry in our society just makes everybody more antsy, including police, who are making an alarming number of mistakes lately.

That's my $.02. I realize that my idealism is way off-center and may even be impractical, but so be it. Nice to meet you all, BTW!  

I love my country, but I think we should start seeing other people.

%$^%$^&%^^ my computer ate my comment. >.< (2.00 / 14)
Let me try this again.

Heh ~ hunting has been with us since the caveman.  :)  And isn't much different than picking out that lobster from the tank (which I couldn't do even if I liked lobster).

I do think a lot of us are hypocrites: we don't like the idea of hunting but will cheerfully snatch a turkey out of the frozen food section of the grocery store every Thanksgivng.  And if it is a Butterball chances are it was raised on a factory farm.  And how many of us worry about the conditions of the cows or chickens we eat regularly; we won't talk about conditions at the slaughterhouse.

I don't have any moral objection to hunting ... I just couldn't be responsible for doing the actual killing and I'm not particularly interested in seeing the result.  (I don't watch Animal Planet, either, even though I get the whole circle of life thing.)

It is great to see you, Cheryl!!  :)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Lazarus[tm] (2.00 / 13)
Here, for chrome and available via google for anything. For those who haven't seen it, Lazarus is the answer to the Lost Comment on any web application.

My sister-in-law's whole life is centered on Native Rights, and she makes this point all the time. There is more to hunting than "modern city white folks are mean".

Itsalittle Complicated[tm] (now available at your friendly grocer!)

And, yes, unless one is completely vegan (and not annoying about it, or we don't want to hear whatever it was you were ranting about again... ;~) the whole anti-hunting stance should be off-limits. It is quite likely that a deer steak was generally a happier piece of protein when it was standing in the sunlight than a veal cutlet ever was.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Lucky! (2.00 / 12)
Everyone, this is our own Lucky Charm. Lucky, this is everyone.

I would probably agree in a completely perfect world, but even Rosie O'Ptimist me can't barely imagine ever that happening (short of an imagined uber-advanced techno future where individual wild animals are managed by robo-fleas and cities in the air [which actually could/will happen given enough time]).

Gotta be the plodding pragmatist, me, and look for the Happy Place in the middle where we can live.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Hi Cheryl (2.00 / 12)
Agree with you 100% on the predators. Sadly down here in Texas a predator can be shot anytime, no season.

I am disgusted hearing stories of folks killing Bobcats and Coyotes. Who would want to shoot a bobcat?! Mountain Lions are rare but they can be killed anyways, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages letting them know where you killed it so they can build a database.

The predators are special and have a crucial role to play, shame that they aren't allowed to do that.  

[ Parent ]
Predators are a tough issue, too. (2.00 / 9)
While I agree that our stance is generally not good, our Living In Peace With Nature ancestors would largely disagree. A predator give enough to eat a deer would be just as happy eating a small human, and that's a no-no.

The reality of human presence will always make large predators a tough issue. A fox or coyote won't eat you, but a mountain lion or grizzly will. Unmanaged, even smaller predators are a threat to smaller humans, and there isn't a parent out there who is OK with that when it is their own toddler at risk.

Always the tough decisions we humans are faced with. It's easier just being a leopard.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
We all end up someone's hat (hello worms!), (2.00 / 8)
at least leopards can just lick themselves and chase game until then... ;~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Ok... Peter... Interesting question (2.00 / 14)
I think it's very philosophical actually.

I shoot (as you know) but I don't hunt, I am in the process of buying a rifle (and that will be that for guns, so I will have one Rifle and one Handgun - I don't need more) but, again not for hunting.

That said, I think the answer to the question is... "I don't know". Our society has certainly made it so that people can survive (not everyone but most) on Industrial Food production. So from that aspect is hunting absolutely necessary for food? For an overwhelming majority, no. For some, yes but not for most people.

BUT... hunting is something that people do, and their is something in the American (and Canadian from those of our friends in the Great White North) psyche that puts a cultural value on hunting, or at least on the ability to hunt. Something about it makes our society feel more in touch with our own humanity.

SO honestly I can't answer the question but I lean towards saying that "Yes, hunting is part of who we are", even as a person who is not a hunter (well outside of hunting in the local food market)


Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

GoHunt..... (2.00 / 14)
This Wa. State Department of Fish and Wildlife site is interesting....

Welcome to GoHunt, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) most comprehensive mapping information site. Display options include layers displaying game management unit (GMU) boundaries, public and private lands hunting opportunities, as well as roads, topographical features and county lines. Based on input provided by users, the mapping tools have been simplified and improved to make this site easier to use while still providing the information that you need to get outdoors.

This information is my attempt to be rational.....because I have an irrational aversion/fear of guns and of hunting. Growing up on a western ranch where just about every pick up truck had a loaded gun rack frightened me and helping my dad in his slaughter house left a mark on my soul.

For some reason helping my grandfather go to the meat house and cut some well aged venison for supper didn't....but that's my emotional reality to sort out.

What I do know is that I have to be very careful discussing this topic....emotions overcome logic all to easily for me. I try to understand and accept hunters point of view, but  it seems hunting has more institutional and social support than the fear of hunting.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

Way to 'conserve' the past (2.00 / 13)
in an 'idyllic' way. Plus, using the hunting defense can still make the case without pushing the less supported concept that people need guns in case they need to shoot US Soldiers...

There are still people that feed themselves using guns. The argument isn't about them. There are people who need safely stored handguns for home protection. Not about them either.

But the main point is that it doesn't violate the Constitution to insist that gun manufacturers no longer make and gun sellers no longer seller certain hi-powered rifles and handguns and the hi-capacity magazines that go with them.

But the 'We're going to stop a tank/helicopter/B-1 with our arsenal' is quaint.

Maybe if responsible gun owners had been pushing for laws that would prevent massacres...by, say, Universal background checks and an assault weapons ban that would work...then maybe they'd have a leg to stand on. Now they should just be ignored and move to what ~90% of the nation wants.  

heard a radio news story (2.00 / 9)
late afternoon today, that no one -- abosulutely no one -- knows exactly how many guns there are in the US. Where background checks are required, the personnel doing so are overworked, the laws that say which sales require checks are a hodgepodge of crazy-quilt by state, and the laws only cover legal sales from gun shops.

Gun shows, private sales, other methods -- no way of knowing, because no one is keeping track, in large part because laws work against that.  

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
Bambi in the garden...... (2.00 / 12)
Urban deer are an annoying nusicance, but my neighbors would rightfully object if we "hunted" them. They are eating the tops off the tulips and hostas now...grrrrr!

ps  Will someone please show me how to post a photo. I tried unsuccessfully with the FAQ info.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

I like Photobucket.com (2.00 / 11)
(at least I dislike it less).

So, make an account there, upload a pic to it, and it will give you a URL to that pic. copy the URL, and past it like this in a comment or diary:

<img src="http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn231/chrisblask/Florida/1407f5f6-9796-4569-98ee-f2e97e7fa729_zpsf7e9584d.jpg">

And you get this:

You can add align="right" or "left" or "center" to move it around. If you do that at the beginning or end of a sentence, the text will wrap around the pic.

<img src="http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn231/chrisblask/Moose%20Pics/coffee_zps41021b9c.jpg" align="left">Coffee is life! I like caffeine, it makes my world go round!!!!!

Coffee is life! I like caffeine, it makes my world go round!!!!!

Does that help?

Try copying what I put in the box and putting it in a comment.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Bambi in the garden (2.00 / 8)

Yay, it worked! Thanks Chris....I'll save this comment and try again soon. I appreciate the lesson.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
Great, and thanks for giving me a chance to post that pic (2.00 / 5)
with the mom and her baby. It was an Obama rally in 2008 I volunteered at, and I take so few good pics...

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
The annual moose hunt [sorry...] in Maine (2.00 / 14)
offered an interesting window into this question. I made the mistake one year of scheduling a trip to Moosehead Lake during that autumn week. Killing a moose scarcely seems sporting. As I recall, hunters could apply for the hunt based on a lottery. It would have been better to base the selection process on hunting expertise.

I have a few friends who are "proper" hunters and very much dedicated to the environment and to gun safety. They are very conscientious people, and respectful of the animals - mostly deer - that they kill. They also understand the logistics of hunting, an ability sadly lacking in some of the Maine moose hunters.

Shooting a sizeable moose - or even a small moose - in the woods is evidently not that challenging, but dealing with the "next steps" requires advance planning. Still, it was not uncommon to see a moose winched out of the woods, flopped onto the hood of a truck, or left by the side of the road until the hunter could figure out what to do next. While hunters were encouraged to donate the moose meat to local charitable organizations or native Americans, the long duration from gunshot to refrigerator would almost certainly spell food-borne illness for those who didn't have the skill to handle their kill.

Perhaps the most distressing thing I saw personally was a moose head that had been sloppily removed - possibly by chain saw - and left next to one of the cabins where I was staying. The unusually warm temperatures and flies were making a mess of things, and I imagined that any decent taxidermist would have had a challenge with it. Sadly, from the paltry appearance of the antlers, this was not some ancient moose who'd lived a great life.

In summary, I would say that there are plenty of true hunters, properly trained, who respect the process and the animals they take, and who utilize the meat and hides to good purposes. There are also many dangerous, witless jackasses roaming the woods shooting at anything that moves, and too often finding that they've just shot people - including their fellow "hunters" or livestock. Rifles are vital for the former group, and should be snatched from the hands of the latter.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

-- Oscar Wilde

lots of really good comments in this thread. (2.00 / 15)
the word 'vital' is open to interpretation, aside from a connection to our heritage, hunting to cull herds and if practiced safely spending time with like minded folks, there is the economic contribution and jobs that are supported by hunters. depending on which survey you read this amounts to 23-33 billion dollars a year, certainly not chicken scratch.

the closest i ever came to experiencing a family hunting because they needed to put food on the table was in the '80's, in far northern Maine, 50 miles south of the Canadian border near Mt.Kathadin. i owned some acreage up there when i lived in New York, it was an incredibly remote and dirt floor poor part of the state. i met a Vietnam vet with a family, he had full blown PTSD and was almost unemployable. they barely scratched out a living but shooting a moose, cleaning it and storing it in their many freezers put protein on the family dinner table for a year. 900 lbs. of meat from a 12 pt. buck went a long way.

i'm not a gun owner nor will i be, if ever until my daughter becomes an adult, she's 12. we
co own a 100 acre family farm near Evansville, In. which we will be transitioning to over time. i might consider owning a rifle then for protection and maybe target practice. will i hunt, no, i couldn't. if the economic shit ever hit the fan i would revert to being a vegetatrian and or buy or barter if i needed meat.

i live in a sketchy part of town here in Chicago, owning a gun personally won't make me feel safer but i do understand others who feel it does. i just don't believe those guns needed for personal protection need to be assault type weapons.  

time...it seems to move so slowly until that day, when it doesn't.

My neighbors hunt,. They eat what they hunt (2.00 / 16)
We have some very poor people in this part of NYS and the farther upstate you go the poorer people are.

I don't hunt to eat.  Nor do I hunt for sport. I do use weapons to protect my farm animals from predators.

So do other people I know who raise animals.  

"If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition"

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Hunting was a necessity in my brother-in-law's family when (2.00 / 15)
he was growing up. His parents were poor and had grade school education, and were itinerant farm workers part of the time. The only meat they ever had was what they shot themselves.  My sister doesn't like guns, but didn't try to stop him or her son from hunting. My brother-in-law has a PhD in Engineering, and didn't need to hunt when he became a bread-winner, though I think he did still hunt occasionally. However, he doesn't do it anymore. I asked him a few years ago if he still hunted but he said no, because he was no longer a good enough shot to take a deer down with one shot. My esteem for him went up quite a bit when he told me that.

Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.
                       - Bertolt Brecht

I live in suburban central NJ, right between Trenton (2.00 / 13)
and Princeton. This is not a rural area, but many folks hunt around here. One of my former students used to live a couple of miles down the road in Lawrenceville. Her husband hunted, and they ate the game he killed (deer, geese, etc.). I let a local bow hunter hunt on my property. I don't hunt (I rarely eat meat), but I have no problem with people who do.

Let me add that we have too many deer in NJ, and culling the (2.00 / 12)
herd is the humane thing to do. If the deer are not culled, they end up being hit by cars.

[ Parent ]
there are also stories (2.00 / 10)
about deer being bitten by critters and developing whatever the deer equivalent of Mad Cow disease is, which is passed along to whoever eats the critter. I wouldn't eat venison from the eastern US at all.

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
It's useful to keep in mind, (2.00 / 9)
I think, that in the family of nations, the US is really very, very young. So we're still going through the bratty kid stage where we have to have everything our way, as well as all the latest toys even though we may not have the maturity to handle them properly.

If the European countries are the adults, the US is somewhere around pre- or early teens.

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

As an aside to this, a real aside, I spend a lot of time in France (2.00 / 10)
with my French family and we talk about these matters. For them, hunting is something that only aristocrats do on their estates. They, the aristos, have game parks and shooting parties, in which people get all dressed up and then go out and hunt. They, the aristos,  are held in derision and seen as a useless relic of the past. There are also poachers but that is a different story and not necessarily a law abiding one,  This is a totally different story than the US one.  Of course, the French have very different networks to help those citizens who are in need of food. For them, the idea of a "regular" citizen with a gun is incomprehensible and highly suspicious. Not sure how other countries see this

[ Parent ]
good point, that (2.00 / 8)
countries with functioning social safety nets most likely don't have citizens going around with guns and trying to kill animals in order that their children will eat.

But poachers, in France? Mais, non! [shocked, shocked]

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
Yup. That's why fox hunting with hounds... (2.00 / 8)
...is now banned in the UK. It's seen as an elitist sport.

I'm ambiguous about it. I don't approve: on the other hand there are so many things I don't approve of, and so many things other people disapprove of me, I'm not sure banning is the answer to it.

Kudos to all - I must say - for a vigorous but completely civil conservation

Love the Moose.

And will cull you only to preserve you!

(bad english humour)

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Was it Shaw who decscribed (2.00 / 4)
fox hunting as the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible?

[ Parent ]
It (2.00 / 4)
was Oscar Wilde. "The English country gentleman galloping after a fox -- the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible."

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
I think much if not most (2.00 / 4)
of the fox hunting now, at least in the US, is done with "drag" hunts, in which a scent is dragged around the countryside, creating a trail. No foxes chased or run to ground.

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas. -- Anonymous

[ Parent ]
I have some theories about this and some other stuff (2.00 / 6)
Something along the lines that it all goes back to the earliest settlers.

I wish I could remember the rest of my theory, but in essence, certain Americans descended from those earliest settlers have retained the mindset of their ancestors, including beliefs that their rights to hunt must be preserved because they had no right to hunt in the lands they come from.

I wish I could remember the rest of my theory (or is it a hypothesis?), but it's Saturday morning and I'm still recovering from a crazy week.

I do know I grew up in a family which didn't necessarily depend on hunting and fishing, but which regularly ate fish and meat that had come from fishing ... and hunting, and which taught that knowing how to hunt and fish was a good survival mechanism.

I've also lived in rural areas where hunting (and fishing) were regular activities, and extremely poor people did depend on both to eat. To that end, you might be interested to know that I once had a friend who liked eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken specifically because the gravy there tasted like squirrel gravy.

Anyway, this is a pretty complex issue. When I've had more caffeine, I'll see if I can explain myself better.

I think you and many of the commenters are missing out on THE reason hunting is allowed (2.00 / 6)
Besides it's traditional place in America which was largely gone with the decimation of game herds a century ago hunting is conservation. Overpopulated deer are only one aspect of that conservation. Wildlife biologists use hunters as one of the more precise tools they have in managing wildlife.

Besides management hunters (and firearm enthusiasts) are the sole source of revenue through taxes and license fees to fund almost all wildlife conservation of any sort and of any species, wether that species is hunted or not.

While I'm glad that people can understand hunting to eat the meat, until they can understand why wildlife managers want people to hunt wolves or bears we are only part way there in educating the wider public. They are hunted because there are compelling conservation reasons for doing so.

As to your question of how many Americans depend how much on eating wildlife.... Last week we were given a Canada Goose. We got about 4lbs of useful meat and another 2lbs of useful bone out of it. Many goose hunters will hunt a hundred birds a year, they give them to people like me. If they are all plucked and used in entirety that would be a lot of meat.

I still have 40 lbs of elk and deer from the 500lbs I got in 2011. It has taken 4 of us more than a year to eat it. And the meat is much much better than anything we'd ever be able to afford. So ya, hunter numbers are up 9% over 5 years ago. I'd say hunters eat meat.

So much good, um, meat in this discussion. (2.00 / 6)
It's about food, it is about conservation. About protecting livestock, managing wild populations. A fundamental nose-thumb to aristocracy and exclusivity. A survival skill, a means for keeping in touch with nature and part of it. A prime source of funding for wildlife preservation. An American act of personal responsibility.

Done well there is a basic maturity wrapped up in hunting. A willful act of accepting your place in a wider world, in many ways something that resonates with liberal ideals. Rather than simply talking about The Environment over cellophane steaks, taking part in it. Accepting and embracing the harmony of the cycle of life and death, which is much more a part of nature than hand-feeding a wild animal.

Those who would honor the traditions of Native American peoples and their relatively harmonious relationship with the natural world have to also recognize the honesty in the rite of passage where young people learn how to hunt with respect. Nature is not something kept in a preserve apart from "un-natural" mankind. Inasmuch as we allow ourselves to see the world that way we are unlikely to ever understand our part in the natural world.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
"Shadow of The Salmon" (2.00 / 3)
Your comment makes me think of the traditions of the Lummni Indians...."Respect The Salmon Respect Yourself"

A wise person once said, it takes intelligence to learn from your experience; it takes
genius to learn from others‟ experiences. We ask you to consider the value of learning,
and teaching, from the thousands of years of experience the tribes have had in natural
resource management and in respecting Mother Earth. Fish, wildlife and the entire
indigenous ecosystem thrived here through all of these years, but have suffered over the
past few hundred years as society has often treated the environment here with disdain and
disrespect. People need to see that they are personally and directly affected by the health
of nature, and they need to restore their relationship with Mother Earth. The "wisdom of
the ages," as carried forth in the traditions of the tribes, provides a logical path to follow.


The quote is from page vii of the pdf. It is important for me to remember that all hunting doesn't involve guns. Thanks for making me think a bit deeper.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
Well i would like to know who inserted the following in (2.00 / 3)
the Affordable Care act also known as Obamacare.

In the Affordable Care Act, the gun lobby's section is in Title X, starting on page 2,037, line 23.  "Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights" contains five provisions mostly dedicated to shutting down conversation about guns in medicine.  What do these sections contain?

Wellness and prevention programs may not require the disclosure or collection of information relating to the presence or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or the use of a firearm.  At least the law didn't say we couldn't ask about it, we just have to do it clandestinely.

The next provision states we can't collect data related to owning or using firearms. So we can't write it down? Sounds like an effective way to stifle research related to gun violence so we can no longer prove that easier access to guns increases the risk of mass violence.

Provision three states we can't use or maintain records of individual ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. I'm fine with that not being allowed in medicine, but that information should be tracked somewhere. A person amassing an arsenal should raise an eyebrow.

Provision four limits the ability to determine rates or eligibility for health insurance based on gun ownership. Now why is that even in there? Title I of the ACA states that insurance will be guaranteed issue so no one can be turned down. Even if they own enough guns to hunt every squirrel in the United States, they will qualify for health insurance. Just so the gun owners have the correct information, rates are based on only four factors - age, location, number of family members, and smoking status. Wait - guns smoke, so maybe they thought that was meant for gun owners.

The final provision related to gun owners is that individuals do not have to disclose they own a gun. We know you can't make people tell the truth, but fortunately most people in the throes of mental anguish and considering violence will tell the truth when asked.



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