Friday, February 18, 2005

SLOB HUNTERS ARE IN THE WOODS

Unfortunately, slob hunters are nowhere near becoming an endangered breed. Despite talk about so-called "ethical hunters," the hunting community needs massive reforms. Hunters cannot and will not police their own ranks, and wildlife agencies are unwilling to diplease their clients. The following descriptions of various types of slob hunters will illuminate why major positive changes are needed.

The following account is from a letter that was published in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper. "Imagine waking on a Saturday morning excited for the big annual hunt. All you have to do is drive minutes west of Boulder to a foothills residential neighborhood, park your car, and begin to wait.

Some even find it more sporting to park near a seasonal stream just yards off Mountain Pines Road, the entrance to the neighborhood, where deer, elk, and bear frequent for their daily water. And if you're lucky because you're practically car hunting, you can drop an adult bear - as some hunters did last weekend - so you can return home by the afternoon football game to tell a great hunter's tale.

One might ask, is this really the sport we call hunting? Or is it an appalling recipe for an accident waiting to happen fortified by Division of Wildlife impatience to do what is right by banning hunting in close-in mountain neighborhoods?

If you'd like to take the risk or don't believe me, come on up to our neighborhood, where more than 100 homes are in close proximity of each other. Children, bikers, hikers and horseback riders all are playing within gunshot range of the men in orange. The reality of the current situation here in our neighborhood is frequently hearing gunshots and seeing camouflaged hunters sitting in their campers on residential roads looking for game.

It is not unusual to see hunters stumbling between private residences, chasing semi-tamed deer, and trying to justify their catch by hopefully landing their prey on the sporadic National Forest/BLM lands that fit between residences like a maze of puzzle pieces. How could hunting evolve into this lazy, fast-food mentality that now exists here in our mountain community?"

Slob hunters want roads built into the furthest areas of wildlands so their Jeeps and 4x4 pick - up trucks can easily access and desecrate these places. They want state and federal agencies to plow roads through wild areas so they can easily carry deer carcasses to their automobiles, and these same people oppose wilderness areas.

Slobs are a large and vocal group opposed to reintoducing large predators, and they greatly favor coyote shooting by hunters, ranchers, and wildlife agencies. Slob hunters may or may not have a knowledge of nature, but what they lack in knowledge, they make up for in ammunition. They can become very excited, shooting at other people, or they may even shoot themselves. Beer companies reach out to these slobs of the woods, appealing to their deep need to celebrate a fresh kill. Ted Nugent is a slob hunter because he's so rapacious - his indescriminate slaughter of animals brands him as a mindless game hog, among other things.

A slob may decide to shoot from his Jeep or truck, because walking requires effort, and he might get lost or shot at by other hunters mistaking him for fair game. He may decide to fire countless rounds at deer or elk that wander far out of shooting range. Perhaps one of his (or her) misplaced bullets will penetrate a hiker or domesticated animal. Ah, but it was only an accident - or so he says. The gut hunter may wound more animals than he kills, and there is no limit to how many creatures he can legally wound or cripple.

We are supposed to believe that only a small percentage of hunters are so crass as to gut shoot, overshoot, wound, stab or bludgeon their prey. In reality, though, that is what hunting is about: the stupid, legally-sanctioned torture of sentient life by people who relish such disgusting activities.

The poacher is the lowest form of slob hunter. Poachers also need plenty of roads. They shoot outside of the law, without remorse, and they help drive animals like grizzly bears to the brink of extinction. In many states, poached animals are believed to equal the number of legally-killed animals. And so it goes. That is the sad reality of hunting in America. - By Scott Palczak