The annual war on wildlife in our woodlands called sport hunting is descending on us again. The barrage of gunfire reverberating in the woods surrounding my home announces its arrival.
For people like myself, deeply concerned for the welfare of animals and the increasingly endangered state of the environment, and for the future of life on Earth itself, this large scale campaign called "hunting season" turns an otherwise peaceful, serene season here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge into a violent and cruel time of the year.
To be opposed to sport and trophy hunting is having to bear witness each year while a minority (5-7%) segment of American society takes control of our shared outdoor commonwealth and, without humility or apology, sets out to harass, maim, and kill hundreds of millions of innocent wild animals.
Donning themselves in a variety of machismo fashions, some dressing in strange drag wearing face make-up and perfume (eg.,"Buck Lure"), exhibiting unusual levels of arousal while carrying an amazing arsenal of weaponry, they blast into the forests and fields to conduct their primitive customs.
No one truly knows with any degree of certainty what the actual body count of this legalized slaughter is each year. Not even their official "game" managers, the wildlife biologists, know how many are "harvested" (like corn?) or left to die nationwide. Estimates during the months long killing season range in the hundreds of millions, but an actual tally of all the mortally wounded, poached, and shot as target practice, non-human beings can never truly be known.
This unspoken and unpublicized travesty of nature is apparently of little concern to the modern game establishment. Formerly seen as trustworthy stewards of our cherished wildlife heritage, traditional game wardens have allowed their professional conservation ethic to become degraded by institutionalized hunter collusion and political pressure. The official new role of the wildlife manager is to function like a bureaucratic pimp for the organized hunting lobby, their primary purpose being to assure perpetual numbers of select target species to satisfy approximately 12 million hunters.
Like clockwork each autumn, hunters and their pandering game biostitutes begin pumping the mainstream media and sport and outdoor magazines with disinformation and self aggrandizement justifying their barbaric bloodsports. They extol the mythical virtues of hunting while proclaiming their services as absolutely necessary for controlling wildlife populations and preserving the environment.
Yet in this new 21st century the ecology of wildlife is far from healthy and secure. In fact, the effects of mass public hunting is a far different and gruesome reality. With few exceptions hunting has been a complete disaster for wildlife and the biological diversity of the environment. The evidence can be found through a cursory examination of the Federal Endangered Species List and an objective, common sense look at the state of the natural world.
Regardless of this awful truth, hunters inform us (with righteous indignation) that it is only they who "pick up the tab for wildlife conservation" and that wildlife is doing just fine, thank you, bullet holes and all. Yet it is the hunters who invade our state and national parklands and forests and most of our supposedly inviolate National Wildlife Refuges to shoot up, shaft, and trap wildlife to Kingdom Come and back for primarily recreational pursuits. Somehow this unbelievable violation of nature and the public trust continues to be cast as wildlife conservation.
Conservation means "the deliberate, planned guarding and protecting of something precious". But the deliberate mismanagement of wildlife for hunter recreation and exploitation has nothing to do with protecting something precious such as wildlife and our environment. In fact, hunters’ license fees are used to manipulate a comparatively few game species into overpopulation (whitetail deer), at the expense of a much larger number of non-game species, which includes the extermination of natural predators such as wolves and coyotes. This contributes to the loss of biological diversity, genetic integrity and ecological balance of wildlife. Hunters’ licenses pay for environmental degradation and not conservation as is claimed.
Hasn’t the time come for the non-hunting, environmentally enlightened and concerned public to question and openly challenge the acceptability, legitimacy, and humanity of killing animals for "sport". Our wonderful world and its amazing kingdom of marvelous creatures is in dire jeopardy of deteriorating irrevocably right before our eyes, it’s delicate ecosystems coming apart at the seams. Clearly, we can no longer afford to have it "managed" by a pre-Darwinian cabal of trigger happy animal killers.
We should abolish sport hunting and relegate it to the dustbin of history, along with burning witches at the stake, slavery, and more recently, dog fighting.