Friday, February 18, 2005

HUNTERS & DUCKS DECLINE - CLICK HERE FOR MORE ESSAYS!

Hunters hate to admit it but their "sport " is slowly dying, gasping for survival, as statistics show a steady decline since 1975. In March, 2002, The Fund for Animals celebrated the release of a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service report which stated the number of hunters in the U.S. declined by 7 percent between 1996 and 2001. Hunters now make up a mere 5.5 percent of the U.S. population, compared to 31 percent who are wildlife watchers.

One of the wildlife killer's favorite how-to-kill magazines, Field & Stream (March 2002) declared that America's hunting population is declining and state wildlife agencies are going broke.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HUNTERS?

Hunting seasons are a sort of collective madness, a war-like assault on wildlife and nature. When animal cruelty is disguised as sport, it becomes more socially acceptable. For people who enjoy traumatizing animals, various outlets are provided such as hunting, trapping, ranching, rodeos, slaughterhouses, etc.

In out technocratic, materialistic society (not culture)), killing animals is considered more rational or necessary than having compassion and respect. Society values money, pleasure, utility and efficiency over kindness.

To some people, respect for animals is viewed as a flaw - a weakness to be overcome by more killing. Numerous rationales are given to insure that fellow beings are slaughtered with impunity for the most trivial reasons. Trivial reasons include killing for sport, fun, management, cheap junk food, tacky fur coats, no reason at all, and of course, killing in the name of God. Some people, including hunters, have created their own pro-slaughter, bloodthirsty God who in many ways resembles Satan.

Hunters, ranchers, trappers and other like-minded people believe that animals exist for human pleasure and convenience. This convienient world view encourages enormous animal suffering and exploitation of nature.

Hunters do not see themselves as backwoods bullies roaming the backcountry. Hoards of wildlife killers, 13.5 million in the United States, despoil wildlands with their ATVs, high - powered rifles, shotguns, bait stations, outfitter camps and invasive, destructive tendencies.

Hunters derive a peculiar, primal thrill - a sense of power and control - from assaulting animals. Even domestic cats are targeted by hunters. One of Field & Stream's favorite writers, George Reiger, wrote an article "Killer Kitties" (May 2002) encouraging hunters to kill cats and Reiger claims to have killed cats himself. Reiger and his comrades probably don't believe that killing cats indicates that a person has a sick, pathological mentality. There are laws against animal cruelty and there should be laws against the stupid waste of animal life by people who lack the self control to refrain from such activities.

Various bloodsport magazines allow us insights into the hows and whys of hunting. Outdoor Life (Dec./Jan.2002) featured an article titled "Coyote Men of the Hinterland," about three grown men with nothing more intelligent or productive to do than shoot coyotes. A similar spread appeared in Petersen's Hunting Magazine (Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003) about an avid coyote killer who's been killing coyotes for over 40 YEARS and claims to have killed six coyotes in one day! Apparently, for some people who lack self control, killing animals is habit forming and addictive.

Another popular how-to-kill magazine, American Hunter, ran an article about three grown men (physically, not mentally) who have a nasty habit of shooting crows. The author advises readers to visit Crowbusters.com and he claims the website is "great fun." Crowbusters.com offers a ridiculous rationale for slaughtering crows: "the crow has and continues to exhibit behavior that ranges from simply annoying to highly destructive." And hunters wonder why their grisly hobby is under attack.

Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, wrote: "Sadism may take a socially acceptable form . . . I have in mind, for example, grouse shooting, fox hunting, duck hunting, deer stalking . . . and other varieties of so-called 'sport' while not identical to the horse - whipping pattern . . . these all represent the destructive and cruel energies of man directed toward more helpless creatures."

PETA's book "You Can Save the Animals" says that Dr. Karl Menninger described hunting as the product of "erotic sadistic motivation." Dr. Joel R. Saper, a University of Michigan professor believes hunting "may reflect a profound yet subtle psychosexual inadequacy." Clinical psychologist Margaret Brooke-Williams theorizes: "Hunters are seeking reassurance of their sexuality. The feeling of power that hunting brings temporarily relieves this sexual uneasiness."

According to Ron Baker's book "The American Hunting Myth" Dr. John D. Copp, a California psychologist says: "Hunters reported feelings of great elation after shooting a duck." According to Copp, "They described the state immediately following a kill as . . . a kind of high. This heightened sense of arousal seemed to have a particularly profound effect among the younger hunters."

Some people may hunt partly becuse of a suppressed desire to punish animals for what the hunters imagine them to be. The proverbial animal hater falls into this category. To her a big buck is a "wary critter," a bear, a "monster," a wolf "wicked," a raccoon a sort of masked bandit that cannot be trusted, etc. Other people, such as ranchers, perceive nature as a hostile threat to their physical well being. Therefore, nature must be fought and conquered.

It is obvious to everyone but hunters that the hunting community enjoys traumatizing animals. A revealing letter in North American Hunter (Oct. 1997) stated that once trapping is in your blood " it becomes an addiction." The author noted that each year hunters travel thousands of miles just to hunt and trapping is even more important to those so addicted.

DUCK KILLERS ARE GREEDY AND WASTEFUL!

Duck killing has long been plagued with outrageous violations committed against waterfowl.The waterfowler is one of the most avaricious of all hunters and the most ecologically insensitive. For decades, millions of ducks that escaped shotgun blasts were dying each year from injesting lead shot that rained down into the wetlands. Year after year, birds were poisoned after feeding on spent lead, but hunters refused to switch to steel pellets, fearing the changeover would impair their already impaired marksmanship.

A long-standing lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation against the Department of the Interior demanded an end to the use of lead shot. Finally, a federal judge ruled that all use of lead shot must end by 1991. To this day, however, thousands of ducks are dying from the millions of tiny lead balls that litter the bottoms of prairie sloughs and marshes.

Greater and Lesser Scaup, Scoters, Pintails, and especially American Black Ducks have been overhunted. American Black Ducks declined a whopping 60 percent in the last 40 years. All three species of Scoter dropped nearly 50 percent of their population since the 1970s. Greater and Lesser Scaup have yet to recover from years of overshooting. Yet, current "bag limits" allow three scaup per day in season even though their populations are down from 8 million in 1972 to 3.5 million in 2002. Despite a 50 percent decrease, the daily "bag limit" for scoters is 4 per day during hunting season.

In 1968, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service got greedy. They attempted to boost their sales of duck stamps as hunting seasons were extended and "bag limits" were increased. Pintails, Scoters, Scaup and Black Ducks took the brunt of too much buckshot, and their populations have yet to recover.

Recreational waterfowl killers massacre approximately 10 million ducks a year just in the United States. (Ducks Unlimited, Nov./Dec 2001). Field & Stream (Sept. 2002) ran a rare article about the high percentage of ducks crippled by hunters. It stated that several studies show a crippling loss of 25 to 35 percent. Many, many cripples are able to run and hide, but not fly, eluding hunters who are usually not even willing to track them down. Millions of wounded ducks and geese are not retreived, left to wander and then die, rotting in the wetlands.

Northern Pintail populations have plunged from nearly 7 million in the 1970s to 1.8 million today, and they're still being gunned down. How can duck populations recover when over 10 million ducks are blasted, bagged and butchered each year? Even if they did recover, the USFW would simply increase duck killers "bag limits," forcing populations back down again.

The following information is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding its May, 2004 duck populations and habitat survey. In 2004, duck populations have declined to 32.2 million birds, 11 % below last year's count, qnd 3 % below the long - term average and barely above the 31.2 million ducks of two years ago. According to the survey, Mallard numbers were at 7.4 million birds, down 7 % from last year and 9 % below the NAWMP goal. The remaining species showed mixed results. Gadwall (+2), and canvasbacks (+11 %) showed small increases. Redheads (-5%), northern shovelers (-22 %), green-winged teal (-8%), and blue-winged teal (-26%) all showed population declines in the survey. - By Scott Palczak