Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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nodh.klmKaren L. Myers photoIn my last blog, I expressed the wish that hunting organizations would become more visibly proactive about getting our own house in order. In our reluctance to condemn those irresponsible hunters who ignore game laws, who poach, who hunt private property without permission, and who help give all hunters a bad name, we often relinquish the high ground to the HSUS, an organization that would ban all hunting in a moment if they could.

That organization seems always to be visibly coming to the rescue of abused game animals before we do. My example—perhaps not the best example I could have chosen—was the HSUS matching funds with the California Department of Fish and Game to fund cash rewards for turning in poachers.

Almost in answer to my hope, an Associated Press article just this week reported that the California Houndsmen for Conservation offered to replace and increase the HSUS donation to the California Fish and Game agency if the latter would return the money to the HSUS.

Playing catchup to the HSUS in curbing legitimate* abuses may be a small step in the right direction, but we need to get there first. Amongst our increasingly sensitized populations, hunters need to win the hearts and minds of our neighbors. We need to be perceived as sportsmen in deed as well as in name.

Posted November 17, 2011

*One commenter on my original blog argued that this California example was not a legitimate abuse of game laws, but rather that the game laws were an abuse of hunting rights. In California, that may well be so.


+1 # Karen Myers 2011-11-17 08:10
Sportsmen can most effectively improve the public image of hunting by introducing more non-hunters, especially younger people, to the field sports.

Mr. Fine's proposal that sportsmen ought to have attempted to curry favor with a hostile and prejudiced-agai nst-hunting community by joining anti-hunters in sensationalizin g and emotionalizing a single violation of an irrational ban on the hunting of a particular game animal has little to be said in its favor.

Antipathy toward hunting is commonly a firmly fixed prejudice and persons afflicted with views of that kind will never be conciliated or won over by any kind of argument, gesture, or concession. Poaching in the modern United States does not actually represent a significant problem. Vast orders of magnitude more game animals, including mountain lions, are routinely killed by automobiles than are ever taken by illegal hunting.

HSUS is a serious problem, on the other hand. It is a radical organization, cynically misleading the public about its identity, activities, and goals and ruthlessly exploiting human beings' good will toward animals in pursuit of money and power. We should be exposing HSUS, not trying to ally with it.

David Zincavage
+1 # Gretchen Pelham 2011-11-17 08:57
David, you are putting words in my article that are simply not there. "...joining anti-hunters"?
" with HSUS?"
I most certainly didn't say that, and I never would.

If you're saying that abuse of animals by irresponsible hunters doesn't exist or is not a problem, I'm afraid we are in disagreement. If you're saying that hunters that conform to acceptable guidelines of sportsmanship should simply ignore the renegades among us and not speak out, I'm afraid we're in disagreement once again.

If you feel that we cannot win people over by proper conduct, once again we disagree. Hunters are a small minority. Animal rights activists and those of "firmly fixed prejudice" (your words) are a small minority. I believe the vast majority of people in this country have no initial strongly-held bias one way or the other, but can be swayed toward whichever view seems most reasonable to them. If we don't engage them, which is all I am recommending here, we relinquish the field to the antis.

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