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Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

home : letters : letters August 19, 2017

8/4/2015 4:33:00 AM
Hunters or sportsmen?

To the Editor:

What is clear to me is that in Wisconsin, many hunters and land managers focus on game species as opposed to land health or ecological restoration. I recently reviewed the policies of Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Hunters Rights Coalition, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Bow Hunters, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and our very own Wisconsin DNR. It's no secret that I am a wolf advocate, but I'm also a mainstream hunting, birding, silent sports, state parks, tribal interests advocate in addition to protecting threatened species. The dichotomy that both sides like to use, the Hunter vs. The Anti-Hunter, it just doesn't exist in Wisconsin. It really doesn't. I think maybe it's that the sportsmen and trophy hunters that have aligned and used propaganda to make you think they are actually hunters with ethics. The truth is they truly are in the minority and are not good wildlife stewards.

Most of the public does not hunt. In fact, it's been steadily dropping since the 1950's. This new era of hunting, with gadgets, expanding traps, GPS on dogs, and game farms, have shown that in many cases these "pro-wildlife" groups mentioned above often hold policies and engage in behaviors that are not in support of broad based ecological objectives. Nor are they supportive of people who hunt for sustenance. Hunting is expensive and most of these "sportsmen" earn at least 50k per year, are white and are over 50 years of age. In fact I can tell you who will be most successful in their hunt based on their income. There's a direct correlation and that's not fair.

Trophy hunting organizations, e.g., Safari Club Chapter of WI, WWF, Hunters Rights Coalition, WI Bear Hunters, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation support wolf killing campaigns/delisting, and are opposed to any number of wolves over 350 for the entire state. They also have normalized huge "trophy" bears, deer and elk. This competitive consumption of some of our most healthy adult species creates incentives to poach not only those animals, but wolves as well.

I can't tell you how many times I and my fellow wildlife advocates, when critical of policy have been portrayed as effeminate, emotional and disconnected from nature. How much more disconnected from nature do you have to be to have these policies? These trophy hunting groups are apparently indifferent to the ecological impacts of their policies.

Killing wildlife by most expedient means possible.

Privileging "trophy" bucks and bulls over healthy ecosystems or CWD management.

Bear baiting and bear hounding.

Canned kills on game farms.

Decimating apex predators with the aim of artificially inflating number of "trophy" game animals.

I feel sorry for in a way for sportsmen to be stuck in this dated phase of ethical development that are likely to see wolves and wolf advocates as a threat. Reactionary politicians and trophy hunting organizations capitalize on these feelings of persecution. In this context, it is predictable that some individuals will feel compelled to exact revenge on the animals and/or people whom wolf hating individuals and institutions have identified as their oppressors. So should be appease them by offering up some of our wolves for their revenge and bloodlust? Of course not. If wolves aren't considered vicious, many consider the wolf killer, instead of the wolf, a predator who takes delight in killing innocent being. It's really sad that this seemingly easy compromise of downlisting wolves to threatened was rejected by USFWS and that the state of WI is suing to have wolves delisted in Wisconsin, then again, it's these fear based, competitive, morally decayed hunter groups that the new Wisconsin DNR works for. So ask yourself, are you a hunter or a sportsmen?

Melissa Smith

Executive Director

Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Article comment by: Adela Risar

I commend the author of this very true article! Hunters and all others hurting and murdering animals under the "sportsmanship" (or any other) banner.... are simply a bunch of ignoramus, selfish and cruel entities!

Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2016
Article comment by: Jan Lindeman

I grew up hunting and hunted most of my life....respectfully. That is until the new age hunters basically ruined the sport of it. We had a very large farm and hated the fact that some of these people believed they had the right to trap and shoot
wherever the pleased.We didn't have fences around our fields until "hunters" decided they could come in any time they wanted and even shoot a cow or a horse because it was a big animal and ooops "they had buck fever". Hunting is not using a dog with a special collar to do all the work for you while you sit in the truck. Then if that dog gets hurt expect the people of the state to pay for it. If you want to hunt do so in a respectful manner! Respect the land owner. Don't just assume it's your right to do what you wish. Respect the wildlife. Only hunt those animals you wish to eat. Trophy hunting only removes the best genes from nature and allows the deer herds to languish while you complain there are no trophy animals to hunt anymore. Then blame the wolves when it it's clearly YOUR FAULT.

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2015
Article comment by: don myers

Truth eh Ernie? Who's truth? Her letter is ripe with false generalizations, insults and her own assumptions presented as facts.

Once again us "Fear based Morally decayed hunter groups" are expected to take these insults sitting down and not respond.

Well good luck with that Pal, People have had it up to their necks with those who are hurt or offended by... and feel a need to attack all of our traditions in America... Show me kids who were raised learning to hunt and fish And I'll show you adults who though their license fees and support of fundraising efforts do more to sustain wildlife than do those anti-hunters who sling insults and promote agendas based on opinions, warm fuzzies and not facts!

Perhaps Melissa should stick to her knitting.

An adult wolf will kill 20 plus adult dear a year for its own survival alone, plus what they need for their pups not to mention countless of other wild creatures they eat. Do the math!

And yes there needs to be places for wolves, Canada comes to mind, but having four of them caught in one picture on game camera 400 yards behind my house... which is a stone's throw to a camp visited year round by 1000's including children obviously isn't one of those places!

Suggestion, talk to anyone who processes deer for a living how many "Trophies" they see brought in... after they stop laughing at the question you'll discover the number is not at all impressive... it's called perspective Melissa, perspective.

Thousands of hunters and fisherman DO so for the enjoyment, camaraderie and for a legal and healthy food source, I don't think Melissa Smith should expect apologies or tears of guilt to be forthcoming from any of us who've seen first hand the carnage caused by the DNR.

First of all their decision to issue doe permits like candy several years ago and secondly re-introducing wolves to Northern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan..

And I won't even go into the economics of having hunters and fisherman traveling to our neck of the woods, I'm sure Ms Smith would suggest our businesses would be fine without those dollars in their till.

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Article comment by: ernie meyer

easy Don...compliment the lay for a truthful letter that has a very accurate perspective on the hunting issue

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015
Article comment by: Ian Courts

Fantastic letter Melissa Smith. There is a huge difference between subsistence hunting & 'trophy/sport' killing. One is done with all due respect & reverence for the prey animal, the other is purely an exercise in massaging an over-inflated ego.

Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Article comment by: don myers

I've been trying to respond to this...but Frankly lady..........there are not words.

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