Every so often an article comes along that is so brazen, arrogant, or ignorant that a response is required. As a wildlife advocate I should be used to reading the ignorant blather that emanates from the various anti-wildlife hate pages plaguing the internet but an article that I read this week not only caught my attention it demanded a rebuttal.
One of the most common “insults” that wildlife killers and exploiters like to throw around toward anyone that questions their motives is to call them “antis” or “anti-hunter.” This is identical to how right wing talking heads have tried, and mostly succeeded, at turning the term “liberal” into a derogatory term. For a group of people where many seem hell-bent on eradicating wolves, coyotes, and other predators to call us “antis” this seems rather disingenuous. That brings me to an article that showed up April 25, 2014 on the website of “Wisconsin Outdoor Fun” by their columnist Shawn Clark titled “Anti-hunters have it all wrong.” What followed in that article was one of the most arrogant (and ignorant) attacks against wildlife advocates that I have ever seen from a supposedly “mainstream” media venture.
The column starts with Ted Nugent fan and canned hunting aficionado, Shawn Clark, making the attempt to lump all “anti-hunters” together and label them as “hypocrites.”
Every now and then, you hear something in the news about anti-hunting organizations. You hear about protests. You read about groups challenging hunting laws and sometimes trying to have hunting banned.
I think these people are clueless. And they are some of the biggest hypocrites around.
Anti-hunters think nature should take care of itself. They think hunting is cruel and that hunters only kill for the sake of killing. Many believe that we do nothing but maim animals to put trophies on the wall.
One of the biggest gripes from hunters is that wildlife advocates try to lump them all together into one group. Mr. Clark sure seems to be a pot calling the kettle black here. What follows next is a fallacy that people like Mr. Clark like to spread as a top talking point. Brace yourselves for what may be the most arrogant drivel that you have probably read in a long time.
First off, hunting is not cruel. A well-placed shot with a bow and arrow or a gun, will put an animal down quickly, cleanly and humanely. Most people practice for these shots with their weapon of choice. Occasionally, a follow-up shot is needed to kill the animal. Yes, kill is the word I used. It’s what we do. None of us can deny it.
What anti-hunters don’t understand is that what we do is far more humane than nature? The wild can be very cruel. Nature is harsh. Animals kill each other for breeding rights. They think nothing of killing a rival to secure a breeding ritual if that is what it takes. They kill other animals for food. Bears, wolves, coyotes prey on deer and other animals to live and often the end is a bloody, terrifying scene.
Some animals like opossums dine on bird eggs and scavenge for a variety of other items for food. Raccoons and skunks are notorious for carrying and passing on rabies.
And what about the elements? The brutal weather we had this winter was not easy on Wisconsin’s wildlife?
Let mother nature handle things? They have got to be kidding. Reality isn’t a movie by Walt Disney. It’s pure, raw and brutal in the animal kingdom.
Essentially Clark tries to argue that impaling animals with arrows and bullets is “humane” and is less brutal than nature itself. The problem with that argument is that the “great white hunter” is not “nature” and that comparing the recreational killing of wildlife with animals killing to survive is not only disingenuous it is offensive.
Next we have the esteemed bar stool biologist with a PHD in BS, Shawn Clark, throwing us a little pseudo-science straight from the propaganda playbook of major killing cartels like the NRA/SCI and preached by their puppets in the Wisconsin DNR. Hold on for these earthshaking and brilliant insights stating that without the “great white hunter” we will be “overrun” by animals.
So what would happen if hunting was banned? Would deer become like pets? Would animals become friends like in the movie ‘Bambi’? Um, no.
Here is what would happen.
Animals would populate beyond carrying capacity within just a few years. There would be too many deer moving into private properties, including those in cities. Lawns would become feeding areas. Turkeys would become like rats. Rabbits, squirrels and raccoons would infest more places than they do now and rabies would become a growing problem. Coyotes and wolves are going to follow the food sources, namely the deer, and will have more human encounters. And competition for food among herbivores becomes much more intense, followed by a long, prolonged starvation. Just look at the problem with wild pigs in the south as an example.
Wild pigs in the South as an example? I seem to remember that it was the “great white hunter” and their canned hunting operations that caused the massive problem with feral pigs destroying the landscape in the south. Funny how there is no mention of that in this propaganda/hit piece. Then we have the part about rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons “infesting” areas. Funny how nature being nature always have the wildlife labeled as “vermin” or “infestations.” What Clark also does not mention is that if there are so many animals that need “controlling” to their “carrying capacity” then why does he and other animals exploiters support canned hunting? After all if wildlife populations are just “bursting at the seams” and need to be controlled why do animals like deer, elk, pheasants, etc need to be “farmed’ just to be blown away in a fenced in area? In a previous column Clark just gushes about how great these canned hunts are. Not only does Mr. Clark condone canned hunting operations he gushes about how great it was to get his killing “fix” from one of Ted Nugent’s killing operations recently. Apparently blowing away semi-tame animals behind high fences with no chance of escape is now known as “exotic hunts.” How quaint.
The off season for those of us who bow hunt is a ridiculously long one. It’s comparable to those that are football junkies. Both seasons start at about the same time and after the season there’s not much in the way of a ‘fix’ until fall again.
But a lot of people, like myself, will take it a step further for our ‘fix.’
On March 1 I hooked up with a bunch of friends from around the country to meet at Ted Nugent’s place in Michigan known as Sunrize Acres for a hunt. Sunrize Acres is a 340 acre, high fence operation where hunters can chase hogs and other exotic animals. This wasn’t the first time for many of us, with a few who were actually trying it out for the first time.
This is the modern Wisconsin “sportsman” ladies and gentlemen. Fair chase be damned and the mere fact that this guy has a prominent column is rather disturbing. But more on that later. Back to his attack on “anti-hunters.”
Hunters put up a lot of money, time and effort to ensure wildlife habitat and populations are there for future generations. Agencies like the DNR regulate animal harvests and sustain habitat. The billions of dollars spent on hunting each year is critical to the state’s economy.
Can anyone tell me what it is anti-hunters do besides hold protests and harass hunters that helps wildlife?
So according to Mr. Clark all that “anti-hunters” do is hold protests and “harass” hunters. Really? Of course hunters and anti-wildlife types never harass “anti-hunters” and wildlife advocates do they? This is a comment recently taken from one of the anti-wolf hate sites:
Then we have the gutted coyote left on the vehicle of a wildlife advocate in Madison last year. How about the beheaded rabbit left in front of the house of a wildlife advocate running for a Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegate position earlier this month in another part of Wisconsin? How about the rape threats sent another wildlife advocate in the state where the anti-wolf writer said that they wanted to “hate f**k” her? How about the term “timbernigger” being thrown at another wildlife advocate? Then there are numerous other death threats to myself and other wildlife advocates that are far too many to name. Yeah Mr. Clark it is “anti-hunters” that are doing the most serious “harassing.”
What does an “anti-hunter” like myself do to help wildlife? Considering that for the past decade I have rescued and transported countless injured and orphaned wildlife for no other reason than compassion I would say that I do plenty. In fact many of those injured animals were victims of people like Clark and their failure to make a “humane” kill. So yes there are many many many of us that do whatever we can for wildlife without having to kill it and much of that is because of the “great white hunter” and their reckless antics. Would you do anything for wildlife Mr. Clark if you didn’t have the opportunity to kill it? I somehow doubt it.
Next we have Clark’s defense of one of the most deplorable and horrific methods of killing wildlife, trapping.
And what about trappers? Trappers are another piece of the puzzle that is often targeted by by the anti-hunters. Anti-fur demonstrations often make the evening news and the way they go about it certainly grabs the attention of some people. But what these protesters don’t understand is that without trapping, coyotes, fox, raccoons and other fur-bearing animals would populate beyond control. Trappers make money on furs at the auctions, while providing necessary materials for gloves, hats and coats. Can you say renewable resource?
This paragraph says it all about the type of person Clark and his ilk are. They care nothing about causing pain and suffering as long as someone can make a buck. I also didn’t know that fur is a “necessary material” for gloves, hats, and coats. Funny how NONE of my clothing contain those “renewable resources.”
Finally we have Clark’s closing words to sum everything up:
So the next time an anti-hunter points out that what hunters do is terrible, ask them exactly why they believe what they believe. Ask them exactly what they do to help conservation. And then ask them if they are strictly vegetarian or even vegan. And if they can’t answer any of those questions, they are truly hypocrites. Drink milk, eat cheese, they are using animals for their own purpose. Wear a leather jacket? That came from an animal. Wool gloves? Where did that come from?
Helping wildlife by donating money, time or effort for habitat? I doubt it.
I would probably fall under the “anti-hunter” banner (some activities more than others) and I would bet that I have done FAR more for “conservation” than Clark or any of his ilk has. And here is the kicker. I do it for NOTHING in return except knowing that wild animals have a chance to survive. Don’t for one second think that the “great white hunter” would contribute one dime to wildlife programs and wildlife habitat if they couldn’t kill and exploit the animals for trophy or profit. The mere fact that Clark has to tout how trappers earn money from their sick activities shows that these people are far more in the realm of taker rather than giver. Of course Clark is not just content attacking the “anti-hunters” that dare call out people like him and their behavior. He also takes aim at other hunters that have the gall to practice “fair chase.” Here are his words from another of his columns in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:
Yet, there are still people within our own ranks that seem to want to keep things status quo, and I have to ask why? Hunters who oppose everything from youth hunts to deer baiting, to crossbow use. They don’t like some of those things because it gives an ‘unfair advantage’ to the hunter or feel that kids don’t need special hunts to get outdoors.
Many hunters opposed the dove hunt when it came out, but that noise has since calmed. Baiting for deer has been dividing hunters for years amidst CWD fears, (or junk science as I like to call it). Some hunters look at baiting as unethical, favoring food plots.
Remember hunters, this guy is apparently a spokesman” for your “sport” and he doesn’t have time for any of that “fair chase” or “ethics” nonsense. Coming from a guy that needs to get his killing “fix” from a Ted Nugent owned canned hunting facility this does not surprise me. Be sure to leave your comments following his article here: