Tuesday, February 15, 2005


In his hyperbloodthirsty book about God, guns and hunting, Ted Nugent leaves the reader with the strong and accurate perception that he loves to kill animals. He is addicted to killing animals in the same way that some people are addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Ted Nugent lives in a world of self-imposed violence against animals. He and his tribe of bloodthirsty fans have gone over the top in their zeal to inflict pain on sentient beings. Nugent is a pathological animal killer and animal hater. He's deficient regarding conscience in his brutal mistreatment of animals, admits to shooting stray cats and dogs, and seems to have major psychological problems regarding animals and God knows what else.

Hunters have admitted to their need to kill, but this compulsive urge to destroy sentient life is neither necessary nor desireable. Nugent has created his "Kamp for Kids" where - like their motor-city madman mentor - they can cultivate the desire to kill, stalk, mutilate, shoot or whatever else they do in a madman's camp. This slaughtering-is-fun mentality seems normal and natural to the animal-killing addict.

The creepy vulgarian from Detroit has the insolence to teach children about hunting. Teaching children that brutalizing wildllife is a fun and meaningful pastime only encourages them to abuse animals as objects of sacrifice to compensate for feelings of impotence. Personal power should come from teaching children self control, introspection, and decency toward all animals instead of resorting to killing as a means of satisfaction. Many child hunters will grow up addicted to killing animals. Contrary to what hunters claim, a large percentage will become animal haters. Some will become poachers. Aren't enough animals being killed in North America? Is there a shortage of animal suffering in the United States? Is our society so crass as to believe that killing animals is a positive influence?

Unknowingly, Nugent has highlighted an important point concerning society's maltreatment of animals. He violently abuses his prey in a manner that is no worse than cattle or chickens being slaughtered in a "processing plant." Many laboratory animals are subjected to redundant and unnecessary proceedures on par with Nugent's hideous violence against animals. BILLIONS of animals - in factory farms, laboratories, rodeos, wildlands and ranches - bear the brunt of human malevolence, and it never ends.

There are dozens of ways to teach children the value of life, including true respect for wildlife and the great outdoors. Hunters have largely ruined their own reputation by trespassing, poaching, exceeding bag limits, scaring wildlife, hikers and campers with loud gunfire, shooting at no hunting signs, killing domesticated animals, hunting animals with ATVs, and leaving trash around hunting camps. Hundreds of large and small newspapers across the United States have sanctioned this self-serving nonsense with their "outdoor writers."

In his exceptional book "Dominion," Mathew Scully relates a scene from Nugent's video "Down to Earth": "Mr. Nugent kneels and sarcastically asks for a 'moment of silence' while the viewer is treated to close-up, slow motion replays of hits, including sickening footage of some animals that clearly were gut shot or otherwise sloppily wounded. People dance around their kill, inflicting unmitigated torture on a deer, just plain 'pumped' by the twang and thrashing and gurgling and gut shots."

". . . First thing I slayed . . . I was nine years old. It was a squirrel, these ladies were feeding it, you know, and I said, 'excuse me, bam." No it wasn't a pet squirrel. I had it stuffed and petted it for years after that." - WRIF-FM, Detroit, Ted Nugent as guest D.J., September 26, 1991

"I contribute to the dead of winter and the moans of silence, blood trails are music to my ears . . . I'm a gut pile addict . . . The pig didn't know I was there . . . it's my kick . . . I love shafting animals . . . it's rock 'n' roll power." - Ted Nugent's World Bowhunters Magazine , Volume 1/Number 4, May 1990, p.12

Nobody hunts just to put meat on the table because it's too expensive, time consuming and extremely inconsistent. - Ted Nugent's World Bowhunters Magazine, Volume 1/Number 3, March/April 1990. pg. 7

"On my first bowhunt on the property a few years back, I was on my own for twenty-two days and killed an amazing thirty-three head of big game. I'm surprised I even came home. I was in heaven." - Ted Nugent's World Bowhunters magazine, Volume 1/Number 3, March/April 1990, pg. 15

Nugent fancies himself, among other things, a writer and he wrote an autobiographical book some years ago about God, guns and hunting. Page after page is stuffed with descriptions of killing, wounding, shooting, and chasing a wide variety of unfortunate creatures who crossed his path. And his obvious contempt for animals such as raccoons and jackrabbits is matched only by his love of killing them.

Nugent proudly relates that during a hog hunting foray he took a rest and spied a jackrabbit sitting about 100 yards away. He eagerly dispatched the poor animal with a handgun for no intelligible reason. By his own account, he does the same to raccoons - which he calls vermin - and he says the only good one is a dead one. In Nugent's twisted brain any excuse or no excuse at all is good enough reason to extinguish the lives of innocent animals.

The book "Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life," (pg. 562) states, "Perhaps more directly relevant are experiences in which individual infliction of pain on an animal or another person has given rise to sexual excitement. We have noted elsewhere the connection between strong emotional and sexual stimulation . . ."

Which leads to Ted Nugent's claim that he and his Labrador retriever get a "full predator spiritual erection" from "pursing bears, lions, coons, housecats, escaped chimps, small children, scared women, and everything else that can be chased and /or hunted."

In his hyperbloodthirsty autobiographical book on God, guns and hunting, Nugent claims that feral dogs and cats were at "epidemic numbers" in 1970 and sportsmen knew "instinctively" that their numbers had to be reduced. Imagine grown men (and a few women) with nothing more intelligent or productive to do than shoot stray dogs or cats. The brave, vigilant Nugent himself doesn't hesitate to shoot stray dogs and cats and this he does under the guise of preventing the spread of rabies. - By Scott Palczak


In the United States alone, ranchers can legally access 260 million acres of public lands, most of which have been ruined by over 120 years of grazing. Ranching has the distasteful distinction of ruining more wildlife habitat and native vegetation than any other land use. It seems that wherever wild animals are abused - whether it be for sport or profit - nature is abused.

Ranchers live in a world of self-imposed violence against animals. American ranchers continually shoot, trap, poison or persecute the following wild animals: coyotes, prairie dogs, mountain lions, bobcats, golden eagles, bighorn sheep, bison, wild horses, burros, jackrabbits and even ravens. Most are killed simply for sport. And don't forget roping, dragging, branding and castrating helpless calves. It appears that animal cruelty is a preferred lifestyle for some people. Ranching people are hunters and like hunters they share a notion that animals must be "controlled," which is part of their addictive thinking process. So-called "wildlife management" and ranching share the same goal of using animals as resources that must be managed or controlled.

We've all heard the tired stories about coyotes killing livestock and prairie dogs invading ranches and how they must be "controlled." Every animal killer has used similar, worn-out rationales, resulting in untold misery for countless animals.

Ranchers and hunters underestimate the intelligence of people who are not animal killers. We know that ranchers and hunters kill animals for fun and they have disdain for animals they consider "vermin" which include prairie dogs, and they also hate "varmints" which include coyotes. I have also read that hunters and ranchers can and will shoot stray dogs and cats, which contradicts any fanciful notion of hunters respecting animals.

Many people, including myself, would sell the family ranch instead of killing innocent animals who have as much right to live as I do. Or, better yet, we'd choose not to live on a ranch in the first place. Perhaps we'd build a fence, but we definitely would NOT shoot animals!

The well-known writer and environmentalist Edward Abbey could effortlessly summarize ranching abuses: "The rancher (with a few notable exceptions) is a man who strings wire all over the range, drills wells and bulldozes stockponds; drives off elk and antelope and bighorn sheep; poisons coyotes and prairie dogs; shoots eagles, bears and cougars on sight; supplants the native grasses with tumbleweed, snakeweed, povertyweed, cowshit, anthills, mud, dust and flies. And then leans back and grins at the TV cameras and talks about how much he loves the American West. Cowboys also are greatly overrated.

Do cowboys work hard? Sometimes. But most ranchers don't work very hard. They have a lot of leisure time for politics and bellyaching (which is why most state legislatures are occupied and dominated by cattlemen.) Anytime you go to a small Western town you'll find them at the nearest drugstore, sitting around all morning drinking coffee, talking about their tax breaks."

Edward Abbey continues: "All I want to do is get their cows off our property. I despise arrogance and brutality and bullies. So let me close with some nice remarks about cowboys and cattle ranchers.They are a mixed lot, like the rest of us. As individuals, they range from the bad to the ordinary to the good. Let those cowboys and ranchers find some harder way of making a living, like the restof us do. There's no good reason we should subsidize them forever. They've had their free ride. It's time they learned to support themselves."

Howard Lyman, the mad cowboy turned vegetarian, wrote: "At eight or nine I began milking cows and branding calves. At ten I learned how to castrate calves. Dick and I liked to grab a couple of twenty-two caliber rifles and shoot anything that moved, and a few things that didn't. We shot deer and elk, which we skinned and ate. We shot all kinds of birds: sparrows, crows, magpies, killdeer, curlews, partridge.

When we had an infestation of gophers, we shot a THOUSAND IN ONE DAY . . . After all the tons of herbicides and pesticides and chemical fertilizer I'd poured into it, the soil looked more like asbestos . . . The trees on and around the farm were dying . . . The birds were gone."
- By Scott Palczak


Bait stations are simple, devious devises used by hunters to attract bears, turkeys or deer. Pile enough apples, carrots, jelly donuts or sugar beets and hide behind nearby bushes, and when the hapless deer, elk or black bears gather for the feast - shoot 'em! Baiting is as cruel as it is primitive.

Bait stations are legal in twenty states, and using salt blocks to lure wildlife is another common, though often illegal practice. These crude, diabolical practices are a growing menace - and they certainly don't qualify as conservation. Baiting simply exists to satisfy hunters' need to kill.

There is no ethical or ecological justification for baiting wildlife. Indeed, this insidious hobby can and will spread diseases such as bovine tuberculosis or necrotic stomatitis. In Michigan, TB is thought to have spread from huge bait stations to several herds of livestock. Economic concerns aside, luring wildlife to their death is the moral equivalent of shooting ducks in a tub. This may appeal to Ted Nugent and his bloodthirsty tribe of rabid animal killers, but it makes no sense to me.

According to a July, 1999 article in Field & Stream, 8 states permit baiting for all big-game animals, 20 states allow baiting for deer, black bears and turkeys. And 22 states allow no baiting whatsoever. The article states that in Michigan, where unrestricted baiting has been legal for years, hunting clubs put out literally TONS OF BAIT, resulting in deer populations so dense that disaster struck. In 1994 bovine tuberculosis, spread by nose - to - nose contact of closely feeding animals, was diagnosed in a Michigan white-tailed deer. Since then, 250 other deer and a bear have been stricken.

More ominous, the virus had spread to area livestock, leading to the destruction of three herds and posing a multi-million dollar nightmare for Michigan farmers. Of course, it may have been the farmers who were the ones providing the bait, but we'll never know.

Baiting deer already is illegal in Mississippi, but legal feeding has become so prevalent that wildlife officials fear the practice has harmed other wildlife. Biologists suspect disease spread at deer feeders may explain the collapse of wild turkey populatons in some portions of the state.

Many hunters prefer their animals as trophies- objects for bagging and bragging. Hunters demand large bucks, but due to hunting pressure, large bucks are scarce on public lands. Therefore, baiting these animals may be the only way for hunters to "bag" large-antlered male deer. An entire generation of hunters know nothing about hunting except how to shoot animals as if they were sitting ducks.

Regarding animals as trophies sets in motion a wide range of unethical and illegal activities. Baiting wildlife, canned hunts, and shooting animals from aircraft are all part of this trophy animal syndrome.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service all publish materials telling the public not to feed bears. The Forest Service, for instance, puts out materials that warn: "Do Not Feed Bears!," "Bears Are Dangerous!," and "A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear."

In a letter to the U.S. Fish & Widlife Service, the director of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Park Service stated his opposition to baiting on national forest lands abutting Crater Lake National Park. The director wrote, "Biologically, there is no difference between a bait station and a dump. Bait stations habituate bears to human-generated food, contributing to the potential for conflicts between bears and people in the park."

Tom Beck, a hunter and a bear biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, shares a similar opinion. "I firmly believe that baiting creates nuisance bears," he says. "Black bears are naturally wary, instinctively avoiding close contact with humans. But large amounts of tasty food, easily obtained, defeats this wariness. By baiting, we create lazy bears who have been rewarded, not punished, for overcoming their fear of humans."

Bears accustomed to human foods raid campgrounds, break into cabins, approach people, and may even attack people. There are THOUSANDS of bait stations legally set up on federal lands every year, and wildlife agencies not only tolerate this destructive nonsense, but they actually contribute to it.

Baiting wildlife is morally and ecologically untenable. Canned hunts, baiting, ariel gunning, all belong to the realm of killing for pure fun. There is no way to justify this behavior using conservation ethics and it highlights how avaricious hunters have become. Hunters cannot and will not police their own ranks : there are simply too many game hogs, slob hunters and poachers. And so the baiting issue is merely one of many wildlife atrocities condoned by the hunting community.

-By Scott Palczak


I recently read Audubon Magazine (Jan. - Feb., 2005), and one of its writers, Ted Williams, also writes for hook - and - bullet magazines. His belief is that enviros and hunters should build a bridge, mend fences, and become friends. To this idea I've written the following essay.

Hunters have largely ruined their own reputation by trespassing, poaching, exceeding bag limits, scaring wildlife, hikers and campers with loud gunfire, shooting at no hunting signs, killing domesticated animals, chasing animals with ATVs and leaving their trash around hunting camps. Recently, hunters are pushing for aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska, according to Defenders of Wildlife Magazine (Spring 2004). Hunters and their wildlife manager lackeys have created the enormous white-tailed deer herds in the Eastern states, while they slowly drive mule deer in Western states toward extinction. Oh, did I mention they love to shoot coyotes, too?

In May, 2005, the anti-conservation Alaskan Board of Game voted to expand the state’s barbaric aerial gunning program to include grizzly bears. Now, in addition to the hundreds of wolves already slaughtered, up to 81 bears could be killed this year.

A Dec. 29, 2004 Associated Press article stated that "some environmentalists are concerned about grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park, where run-ins with hunters accounted for nearly half the grizzly bear deaths in 2004. Hunters acting in self-defense accounted for at least seven of the 19 human-caused deaths in the Yellowstone region this year (2004)." Now, I'll ask the reader, does this seem like conservation to you?

Last night I was rummaging through my vast animal rights files when I uncovered a letter that I had published in my local newspaper a few years ago. I was responding to an article written by a hunter who wanted to bring back bounty payments on coyotes. My anti-hunting, anti-bounty letter reads as follows:

Tim Fitzgerald's article "Bring back the bounty on coyotes" is typical of a hunter posing as a conservationist. Fitzgerald actually believes that paying hunters and ranchers to shoot coyotes will bring mule deer back to their glory days.

Yet, hunters and ranchers already enjoy a year-round open season on coyotes. Government wildlife killers also partake in this coyote-killing bloodfest. The clever canines, however, respond to all this butchery by producing more pups that survive to maturity - therefore, killing more coyotes begets more coyotes! Consider too, that destroying large numbers of coyotes will increase rabbit and rodent populations - further imbalancingColorado's already mutilated ecology.

Every hunter should know by now that mule deer, ultimately, are not limited by predation, but by quality and quantity of habitat. Every dollar spent on liquidating coyotes is one less dollar spent on restoring habitat. The real problem is that Colorado has too much sprawl, too many elk, and too many hunters.

In Fitzgerald's mind, killing more animals is the way to "solve" wildlife problems. Colorado's mountains have become a giant state-run game ranch plagued with poachers and hunters who "bag" too many deer, especially bucks. Every year, this state sacrifices huge amounts of land - and wildlife - to a virtual army of 330,000 wildlife killers. And now, these same hunters want to be rewarded for killing even more wildlife.

If hunters truly want to help mule deer, they should forfeit their fall slaughter season, and spend their license money on preserving habitat.


A March 15, 2005 Associated Press article stated: "The New Jersey Audubon Society is endorsing the use of hunts, hired guns and other lethal measures to thin out the state's 200,000-strong white-tailed deer herd, saying population control measures must be stepped up in the interest of preserving the state's forests."

How did New Jersey - after decades and battalions of hunters - manage to create a herd of 200,000 deer? The answer is: by shooting a large percentage of bucks over many years. Standard "deer management" is a joke, a sham, which is why Pennsylvannia, Wisconsin, Michigan and other states have over 1.5 million deer apiece. The New Jersey Audubon Society should be informed and intelligent enough to realize that simply recruiting even more hunters to reduce deer populations will never accomplish anything.

Deer management is a sham, a joke, a twisted caricature of true conservation. Deer hunting is managed for sport, not to balance ecosystems, but to provide a surplus of live targets for hunters. Vast megaherds of white-tailed deer have been cultivated in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan - these states have over 1.5 MILLION deer apiece. Virginia had 20,000 whitetails in 1950, now it has over 900,000!

Fifty years ago, deer populations could have been easily controlled by killing a relatively small percentage of does. Instead, a large percentage of bucks were killed, habitat was manipulated, and deer herds greatly increased.

According to the book "Restoring America's WIldlife," Mississippi's entire white-tailed herd was estimated at a mere 7,357 animals in 1932. In 1993, just the harvest alone was 263,000 deer! New Jersey reported a "harvest" of 2,173 deer in 1937. Its annual bloodbath exceeded 49,000 in 1993 - a prime example of "deer management" resulting in a 20-fold increase.

"Restoring America's Wildlife" also stated: "Over the past 50 years, this effort led to the successful restoration and continuing management of several native game species - notably the white-tailed deer and the eastern wild turkey. Hunting of deer was prohibited in Missouri after the 1937 season produced a harvest of only 108 whitetails. Seven years later, the season was opened to the first "bucks - only" hunt of 1944 which produced a harvest of 583. The first "any deer" season of 1951 gave hunters 5,519. Since 1944, 950,000 whitetails have been harvested. That's more than 40 times the total estimated deer population before P-R, bringing recreational pleasure to more than 5.3 million licensed hunters."


Many species of mammals - such as deer - react to hunting harvests with an increase in reproductive rates. Also, killing more bucks than does will increase deer populations. When a high percentage of bucks are killed, more nutritious forage is available for the remaining bucks, does and fawns. This improved nutrition results in higher ovulation, birthrates, and healthier fawns. In many states, such as Colorado, hunting results in the death of at least twice as many bucks and male fawns as does. The main purpose of "deer management" is to maximize fawn production.

1.) Bucks are killed by hunters
2.) Does produce extra offspring (fawns)
3.) Fewer bucks means more nutritious forage for fawns and adult does
4.) Habitat is manipulated (burning vegetation, timber-cutting, etc.) to provide more food.
5.) Predators are killed
6.) Abnormally high populations of deer result year after year

Naturally, hunters are eager to be seen as conservationists. But true conservation involves more than preserving areas of habitat to be used as outdoor shooting galleries. And, true conservation involves more than creating humongous deer and elk herds. Shooting coyotes, cougars, wolves, foxes, bears, and other predators - whether for amusement or to increase game populations - cannot and will not qualify as conservation.


Boulder, Colorado is a unique city with liberal leanings toward animal rights, vegetarianism, and the environment, where tree-hugging hippies are embraced as enthusiaticically as the trees themselves. Boulder loves the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism and Eastern religions. Now enter Wayne Laugesen, who writes for a local paper entitled "Boulder Weekly." Wayne is a self-styled hunter and self-proclaimed rancher, a conservative writer who relishes every opportunity to set straight these animal rights people and ridicule the city of Boulder.

In Wayne's world, self-imposed violence against many animals is justified, and he teaches his children how and why he shoots prairie dogs. (Cats in Microwaves, Jan. 1-7, 2005). Wayne states, "I like prairie dogs and do not shoot most of them." Imagine what torture he'd commit against animals that he didn't like. How much is not shooting most prairie dogs? Is shooting a hundred enough? Is a thousand enough? How about five thousand? Maybe we should marvel at Wayne's self restraint for not killing every prairie dog he sees.

Many people, including me, would sell the family ranch instead of killing innocent animals. Or, better yet, we'd choose not to live on a ranch in the first place. Perhaps we'd build a fence, but we would NOT shoot these animals! If Wayne stated that he enjoys killing prairie dogs because he gets sadistic pleasure from it, or that he considers them vermin, at least he'd be honest with himself, his children, and his readers.

We've all heard the tired stories about coyotes killing livestock and prairie dogs invading ranches and how they must be controlled. Every animal killer has used similar, worn-out rationales, resulting in untold misery for countless animals. Ranchers and hunters kill animals for fun, and they have disdain for animals they consider "vermin" which include prairie dogs, and they also hate "varmints" which include coyotes. I have also read that hunters and ranchers can and will shoot stray dogs and cats, which contradicts Wayne's fanciful notion of hunters respecting animals.

Wayne states that he "humanely" kills prairie dogs by shooting them in half with well-placed bullets. Only someone with a hunter's mentality could imagine that cutting animals in half with bullets is humane. Wayne coddles his conscience - or lack of it - by indulging in this fanciful notion of humane bullet-killing. It is truly amazing how casually some people can inflict misery on other beings.

Wayne tells his own children that humans have "a right to kill animals they intend to eat. " Really? This seems to be another case of God said we can take what we want - so let's kill it and grill it! Have fun, God is on your side! But how does Wayne KNOW that humans have a right to kill and eat animals? Is Wayne on a higher plane of consciousness where God is blissfully smiling down on all this remorseless animal killing? Is Wayne in communion with God, and therefore knows how pleased the Creator is to have his creatures butchered and eaten?

The early cowboys imagined the world of living beings as a heirarchy, with God sitting at the top and man right below the Creator. This self-serving interpretation of the scriptures gave ranchers a presumed God-given right to use animals as they pleased: rodeo and ranching certainly reflect this belief. But where is it written that Christians must or should eat meat? Where is it written that Jesus was a hunter or champion bull rider? Where is it written that killing and butchering animals is the road to heaven? A careful study of the lives of Christian saints reveals that none of them indulged in animal killing or animal abuse and many, many saints were fond of animals.

Indeed, untold millions of sentient beings have suffered immensely over the centuries because of ungodly people inflicting pain, misery, injustice and death in the name of their Almighty. Historically, people have rationalized their ungodly behavior. They will use any rationale - religion or philosophy -as an excuse to conquer, exploit, subjugate, discriminate, or inflict pain.

Wayne Laugesen, the self-proclaimed rancher who writes for a Boulder, Colorado newspaper titled "Boulder Weekly," actually wrote in favor of shooting domestic dogs in the head ("Shooting your dog," April 14, 2005). Wayne apparently believes that a bullet to the brain is better than lethal injection because when his friend brought his dog to the animal shelter, the technician could not find a vein and poked the dog several times causing the poor creature to snap angrily.

Wayne stated in his column that companion dogs are shot in the head every day in rural America.To ranchers, hunters and other like-minded people, animal "problems" should be taken care of using lethal means. And, of course, some people favor violent euthanasia over more humane, civilized methods.

I strongly disagree with Wayne, and Boulder Weekly published my letter (Shooting dogs is wrong, April 28, 2005 ) which reads as follows.

Wayne has an affinity for shooting animals. A few months ago, he wrote in favor of blasting prairie dogs, and now he advocates legally shooting domestic dogs. Shooting dogs is violent and morally repugnant, and it highlights the wretched treatment that many animals endure in our society.

People often kill animals for incredibly trivial reasons. Legalized dog-shooting is morally problematic. Because it's cheaper and more convenient than giving animals sodium pentobarbital, some people may simply shoot their pets. Puppy mill owners, sled-dog owners, and others who abuse dogs as resources can arbitrarily decide to shoot their animals.Dogs are killed for not behaving improperly, or because they cannot be trained, or they're too expensive, etc. Shooting companion animals should be outlawed because it allows pet owners to shoot their animals for any reason whatsoever. Furthermore, a shot to the head does not guarantee a quick or painless death. Eye witnesses to Mac Eachen's dog-shooting sessions stated that they saw dogs' eyes and legs moving after being shot in the head. Does it get any more sadistic than this?

Sodium pentobarbital is the method of choice of virtually 100% of veterinarians, and is considered the most humane method of euthanasia. A professional veterinarian - as opposed to a technician - should be skilled enough to locate a vein and administer an injection properly. Some animals may need to be sedated before the injection. A properly performed injection of sodium pentobarbital is the morally right choice for companion animals - not shooting them in the head.

I believe that teaching children to respect ALL animals is the superior goal. If Wayne truly wants to set a moral example for his children, he should teach them to respect all animals - including prairie dogs - and not make lame excuses to destroy these innocent creatures.

I believe that teaching children to respect ALL animals is the superior goal. If Wayne truly wants to set a moral example for his children, he should teach them to respect all animals - including prairie dogs - and not make lame excuses to destroy these innocent creatures. - By Scott Palczak

Sunday, February 13, 2005


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.


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 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.


Defenders of Wildlife magazine stated (Defenders, Spring 2004) : "More than 100 wolves in Alaska had been killed under a state - sponsored predator control program. More shooting will probably follow, and bears will likely be next."

In May, 2005, the anti-conservation Alaskan Board of Game voted to expand the state’s barbaric aerial gunning program to include grizzly bears. Now, in addition to the hundreds of wolves already slaughtered, up to 81 bears could be killed this year.

"Alaska voters have twice rejected aerial wolf hunting in ballot issues, but Governor Frank Murkowski overturned the ban in June 2003. Officials from the Murkowski - appointed Alaska Board of Game subsequently approved the killing of 140 wolves in the state's Nelchina Basin, an 8,000 square-mile area about 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, and 40 wolves near the village of McGrath, in central Alaska. More recently, the board sanctioned the shooting of nearly 300 wolves in another 20,000 square miles of interior Alaska."

Conservationists say that aerial wolf hunting has no ecological justification. "This aerial gunning program is designed to artificially boost game populations, simply for the convenience of thousands of sport hunters who descend into rural Alaska every year," says Joel Bennett, a former member of the Alaska Board of Game and spokesman for Defenders. In March, the Alaska Board of Game adopted a policy that would also allow the state to haze or kill grizzly and black bears to increase moose and caribou numbers. Under the policy, state officials could authorize the relocation, sterilization, trapping, baiting and land-and-shoot hunting of bears . . ."


A Dec. 29, 2004 Associated Press article stated that "some environmentalists are concerned about grizzlies in and around Yellowstone national Park, where run-ins with hunters accounted for nearly half the 19 grizzly bear deaths in 2004." Hunters acting in "self-defense" accounted for at least seven of the 19 human - caused grizzly deaths in the Yellowstone region this year the article said.

The article further related that "seven were hit by trains, ten were killed illegally, often shot and left to die. Thirteen were killed by wildlife officials because they had menaced humans or had otherwise become a nuisance. One was killed in self-defense."

You'll notice that it's hunters - not animal rights people or vegans - who are shooting grizzlies. These grizzly killings have been going on for at least thirty years. Hunters contrive these self - defense stories as another justification for killing more animals. We've all heard the tired stories about coyotes killing livestock and prairie dogs invading ranches, and how they must be controlled. Every animal killer has used similar, worn - out rationales, resulting in untold misery for countless animals.

For decades, and into 2004, hunters and outfitters have shown a penchant for shooting, killing and menacing grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Only, 1,000 of the reclusive bears are barely thriving in the lower 48 states where they are listed as a threatened species.

Experts believe that the annual deaths of only five or six females in a population of 500 could trigger a sharp decline.This is because grizzlies are among the slowest mammals to reproduce in North America. But none of this concerns hunters in the Greater Yellowstone area where 400 to 600 grizzlies live. An Associated Press article (Sept. 30, 2000) stated that the number of
grizzlies killed by hunters has risen from about two deaths on average each year to five.

According to the book "Ghost Bears" and bear experts, roads are the major threat to grizzlies. Roads which are built for logging or other resource extraction, displace bears while increasing the likelihood of hunters and poachers killing the animals. Numerous studies bear this out. In the longest running research project on the effects on grizzlies from logging and mining exploration and other developments, two researchers found hunting and poaching that resulted from road access to be the number one cause of death in the animals they were working with.

The removal of even a single grizzly bear can have a serious biological impact on a particular bear population. If hunters shoot a female, that one squeeze from an itchy trigger finger can eliminate a crucial breeding component of a wildlife population that is not easily, if ever, replaced.

Yellowstone Park ranger Bob Jackson said in a Los Angeles Times interview (Dec. 15, 1999) that Yellowstone's Thorofare region is "under seige." Unscrupulous hunters and outfitters operate just outside the park's sanctuary in the adjoining Teton Wilderness. Jackson said dozens of illegal salt licks have been set up by hunters to lure elk out of the safety of Yellowstone Park. After the elk are shot, grizzlies - who can smell dead flesh over a mile away - wander into heavily armed hunting camps or they surprise solo hunters. Predictably, the unfortunate bears are then shot in "self defense."

The L.A. Times article further relates that the majority of the 250 known grizzly bear deaths in the Yellowstone region over the last 20 years had occurred at the hands of hunters operating just outside the park's sanctuary.

Typically, the bears are shot during "surprise" encounters with hunters who are stalking legal prey such as elk or bighorn sheep. Even the most ecologically illiterate hunter should know that leaving venison around a camp will attract bears, and probably flies too.

Most Americans do not consider luring trophy elk from Yellowstone with salt baiting, or shooting grizzlies to be acceptable, responsible or necessary behavior. It is not even necessary to allow any hunting in these areas. Hunters represent only five percent of the U.S.population, so why not restrict them to five percent of public lands ? The reclusive, legendary bears need large areas of solitude and wilderness to survive. Yet, some politicians, hunters and ranchers want to re-establish a grizzly bear hunting season. There goes the wilderness.

Most people, including me, will agree that saving grizzlies is far more important than the needs of hunters, ranchers and outfitters who destroy wildlife. Ecologically insensitive hunters who lure bears into their blood-soaked hunting camps are NOT providing solitude or safety for these rare, almost mythological creatures.


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 Mounatin 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


Hunters, trappers, animal exploiters, and other like - minded people believe that killing animals is natural, normal behavior, and not killing them is unnatural. With that idea in mind, imagine all 280 million people in the United States indulging in acts of mass carnage such as trapping, hunting and poisoning, etc.

The term "ethical hunter" is an oxymoron, a fanciful, self-serving term created by some sportsmen. The phrase is an attempt to create a smokescreen to hide the callousness of hunting, to make it seem morally justified instead of morally bankrupt. Any hunter, even a slob hunter, can claim, at least on ocassion, to be an ethical hunter. It is a self-deceptive, vacuous term that implies hunting is good, righteous and rife with philosophical meaning. By comparison, think how much more ethical it is not to hunt animals at all, and imagine how supremely ethical it is to treat animals with decency, respect and humaneness.

There are many problems and flaws with today's modern system of hunting and dubious "wildlife management." To hunters, cougars, bears, wolves and coyotes are "bad animals" - nuisances - that prey on "good" animals - the hunters' favorite big game. Historically, hunters have shown little or no appreciation for the role of carnivores in ecosystems. This is because hunters are basically functioning as addicts who believe that animals must be "controlled," that is, animals must be shot at, killed and manipulated to suit hunters' needs and wants. They perceive massacring wildlife to be a mark of concern, as if they were literally killing animals with kindness.

Furthermore, an ecosystem's health should not be determined by its gargantuan deer and elk populations but by the number of top carnivores it contains. Feeding bears is illegal in most states and strongly discouraged by wildlife departments because such practices are known to habituate bears to human presence, creating "nuisance bears." Yet, wildlife killers are using bear - baiting (piling cooking grease, mollasses, or jelly donuts to lure bears) and this unnecessary, depraved practice is legal in nine states.

Because of bow hunting, deer and black bears are frequently wounded but not immediately killed. These poor creatures can and will linger for days, turned into living pincushions with arrows protruding, eaten alive by blowflies and maggots. But why should the "sportsman" care? He or she can have their fun by inflciting complete misery with total impunity! This is the sad, appalling reality of hunting, not the sanitized, glorified nonsense published in newspapers and hunting magazines.

Studies conducted by state fish and game agencies repeatedly show that bowhunters wound as many animals as they kill. The hunters' favorite how-to-kill magazines are fond of publishing articles on how to kill deer with .44 magnum handguns. Shooting deer with handguns they inform us is not cruel. It is conservation! Imagine a person so emotionally frustrated, so desparate for personal power and atavistic thrills, that shooting animals with handguns brings him satisfaction.

All bureaucracies, including game and fish departments, have a keen interest in creating more work for themselves. Game departments are the hunters lackeys, the butcher's assistants, whose main goal is to sell more hunting licenses. Servile state wildlife biologists and game wardens are preoccupied almost entirely with about 35 to 40 shootable species, a tiny pecentage of North America's approximately 1,000 birds and mammals.

It's important to remember that under federal law (Supreme Court 1842), wildlife killers have no more ownership rights concerning wildlife than people who want these animals to remain unharmed and protected from hunting. Animal killers have simply seized control of a "wildlife management" system that craves power and control, and one dictionary defines management as control.

Wildlife commissions in Western states are controlled by ranching, hunting, trapping and outfitter representatives. Each state's governor appoints a disproportionate number of hunters and pro-hunting representatives and a much smaller percentage of pro-wildlife advocates to its dubious "wildlife commission."

In eleven Western states, mountain lion hunters use packs of trained hounds fitted with radio telemetry equipment. To track these cats, a trophy hunter releases a pack of dogs fitted with radio transmitters. The hunter monitors the chase on a handheld directional antenna. When the dogs eventually tree a lion, the hunter picks up a stationary signal on his or her antenna, walks to the site and shoots the harassed, treed animal. And they call this hunting!

Ah, but wait, it gets worse. For the "sportsman's" personal amusement - sanctioned by wildlife agencies - mountain lions sometimes fight the dogs, resulting in bloody battles. More commonly, the dogs may find and tear apart lion cubs and according to my research, hounds become lost or injured while fighting and tracking lions. This is blatant animal cruelty at its finest with no ecological or ethical justification.

Research at Utah State University indicates that in some areas, cub mortality from maulings and orphaning is as significant as adult harvest. Mountain lion hunting amounts to little more than depraved cruelty and crass, commercialized hunting.

Thanks to years of deliberate mismanagement, whitetailed deer are nearly ubiquitous in the Eastern states. However, the mere presence of deer in a suburban area, munching on flowers and sapplings does not justify calling SWAT teams of hunters or game wardens to "solve" the perceived problem, if a problem even exists. Remember that hunters and game wardens are responsible for massive mismanagement of deer from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Alabama; their "expertise" in deer management is dubious, since their main concern is to produce more deer. Deer overpopulation in residential areas is largely a value judgement - some people simply have a low tolerance for deer and other wildlife. Hunters should be happy that some herds (not all) are being controlled by coyotes or other predators, who, along with deer and other wildlife, have a need and desire to be left alone. But left alone they will not be, because greed, apathy, and the need to kill outweigh any serious moral considerations against killing wildlife.

A study in Pennsylvania found that car insurance claims for deer-related accidents increases five times during hunting season. Along with many other states, Pennsylvania's humongous deer population has been grossly mismanaged, with over 1.5 million deer. In suburban areas, land developers, hunters and wildlife agencies will not pay for fences or vaccines to prevent fertilization, both of which control and contain these deer quite well.

Duck hunting 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.

Greater and Lesser Scaup, Scoters, Pintails, and especially American Black Ducks have been overhunted. American Black Ducks have 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.

In 1968, the U.S. Fish and Widlife 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. Millions of wounded ducks and geese are not retreived, left to wander and then die, rotting in the wetlands. Many, many cripples are able to run and hide, but not fly, eluding hunters who are usually not even willing to track them down.

Friday, February 11, 2005


Each year, in the United States, about 100 people are killed by hunters and approximately 1,000 people are wounded. In 1988, 177 people were killed and 1,719 were injured by hunters. And don't forget the 150 MILLION animals that are shot at, killed and wounded annually in the United States.

A solitary hunter was indicted for starting California's largest wildlfire - called the Cedar Fire - which killed 15 people, destroyed 2,200 homes and charred 273,000 acres! And the hunting industry tells us how safe and careful hunters are! We are told by newspapers and our state wildlife agencies how wonderful hunting is, and that we must recruit children as young as EIGHT YEARS OLD to perpetuate this stupid tradition.

Hunters can and will shoot too close to houses, roads, hikers and campers. Hunters typically hate predators - especially coyotes - but they also hate any number of animals based on arbitrary notions of what constitutes a "good" animal as opposed to a "bad" animal. This type of thinking opens up a whole can of worms. Stray cats and dogs - because they're feral - are perceived as fair game to some people. We'll never know how many domesticated animals have been shot by hunters; there is no record keeping on this matter.

The following information is derived from the booklet "Money, Motherhood, and the Nineteenth Amendment," which is published by the Fund for Animals.

According to the Fund for Animals, wildlife agencies and the hunting industry are targeting women and children. To understand the hunting industry's interest in women as mothers, you have to recognize a very peculiar charactersitic of hunting: people who do not hunt when they are children are very unlikely ever to become hunters. Nationwide, more than half of all hunters, 54 percent, began hunting before they turned thirteen, 69 percent began before they turned sixteen, and 89 percent before they turned nineteen. The reason for this - according to the hunting industry's own studies - is most people find killing animals so repugnant that if they are not desensiitized to it at an early age, by an older family member in whom they vest moral authority, they will never become reconciled to it.

It is a fact that the number of hunters has been in a steady decline for the past quarter century. This reflects the fact that children are not taking up the sport in large enough numbers to replace older hunters who die or drop out. Antipathy toward bloodsports is far more likely to be reinforced by mothers, grandmothers, and aunts, than by fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, since women are more likely to object to children taking up hunting than men, first: because they find killing animals offensive, and second because they believe hunting is dangerous. And in today's family, women's objections have to be taken seriously.

Therefore, if the hunting industry wishes to reverse the decline in the number of children who become hunters, they have no choice but to convince women that hunting is both ethically acceptable and safe. Here the goal of their campaign is less to turn women into hunters than to turn them into supporters of hunting who will encourage - or at least not discourage - their children in taking up the sport.

According to Christine L. Thomas, the creator of BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) : "Why is it important for women to join the hunt? . . . The number of hunters nationwide is shrinking and is expected to shrink as society becomes more urban and more families are headed by single females. Since hunting is an activity that is closely tied to socialization within the family, it is important that women become part of the tradition, if the tradition is to survive at all."


In December 1994, Sports Afield magazine published an article urging hunters to desensitize their children to the suffering and death of animals at the earliest possible age. In these words, the author, Guy Martin, describes his success with his own daughter: "Eliza was two when she watched a hunting party in Texas take the hams and backstraps from a pair of deer we had shot. . . She watched quite happily . . ." The author advises readers "that you have to start them as soon as is practicable; after they've gotten some language . . . but before any fairy tale-based fears or prejudices about the natural world have had a chance to set in."

If this were just the personal philosophy of an individual, it might not be signifucant. But Guy Martin's article in a large circulation hunting magazine coincided with a broader campaign that is continuing and gaining momentum today. Consider the following examples.

* The Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission sponsors special hunts on publlic land for children as young as EIGHT YEARS old. Fourteen states, including Arkansas, Ohio, New Mexico, and Maryland have children's hunts with no minimum age limit. All told, a survey of state wildlife agencies conducted by the Fund for Animals reveals that in 1996, 42 states sponsored children's hunts.

* A growing number of states now offer cut-rate hunting licences to children under a certain age, usually sixteen. Colorado's "Youth Combination Small Game Hunting, Furbearer, and Fishing License" costs just one dollar, as opposed to $15 for an adult license. In an attractive brochure, the Colorado Division of Wildlife announces in boldface type that for this youth license, "There is no minimum age." For example, an 8-year-old with a Hunter Safety/Education Card can buy one of these licenses. Not to be outdone, New Jersey offers residents and non-resident children ages ten through thirteen a hunting license for three dollars, as opposed to $22 for a resident adult license or $100 for non-residents.

*Apparently deciding to play it safe and get their money up front, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers for $250 a junior Lifetime Hunting License to children under twelve. As with Colorado, there is no minimum age; the child must simply have passed the state's hunter's education class.

But even this is only a small part of the picture. In public schools, in state and national forests, even on federal lands designated as "wildlife refuges," children all across America are being recruited into recreational hunting by a politically powerful coalition that includes the hunting industry, state wildlife agencies and agencies of the federal government. This massive effort to recruit children into recreational hunting is justified to the public with noble - sounding phrases like "responsible wildlife management," preserving American traditions, and "passing on family values."


Sponsored by state wildlife agencies, children's hunts have become popular recruitment tools since Florida sponsored the first one in 1985. At the end of the first decade of children's hunts, the 1995-96 season, 31 states were conducting these events. For the 1996-97 season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which regulates the hunting of migratory birds pursuant to the international treaties, issued regulations that allowed states to hold special children's hunts for waterfowl, called National Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day. This contributed to a further increase in states sponsoring children's hunts, from 31 to 42.

Although children's hunts are intented to attract children before they enter their teens, the word "children" is almost never used in describing them. Instead, these events are called "Junior Hunts," "Youth Hunts" or, more bureaucratically, "Special Hunting Opportunities for Young People." An official of one state wildlife agency, who completed the Fund for Animals' 1995 survey on the subject of children's hunts, scratched out the word "Children's" on the questionnaire and wrote in "Youth."