It is always interesting to me to read these news stories because they are some of the easiest for me to see the author putting their own spin on.
It becomes even more clear when you read the comment sections of these particular stories. All anyone talks about is why it is disgusting that hunters only go for the pretty or biggest deer and leave the meat. Today I read just such a story Excuse me while I laugh my head off at the ignorance in the world.
This is one of those rare instances where I can be thankful that I decided to go to a college in Texas. It seemed like every year when some hunting season came around I would have to be on the look-out for wet spots. Many of my fellow students and teachers would almost be salivating at the mere thought of hunting.
Not for the sport, but for the stories, camaraderie with friends, and more importantly the meat. I can not tell you how many different recipes I heard over the years but suffice to say they all sounded good.
What most surprises me is when you look at the comments on stories like this. These people do not know the history of wildlife, nor do they seem to realize that it is hunting that has helped the survival of more species than they know.
These comments are an inside look into how urbanization has done so much to destroy wildlife in general. The theory that all hunters care about is trophies and killing has spread to all parts of the United States and has become a stigma that no one wants to even mention to friends. It might not seem like much but the stigma of being a hunter has permeated to just about every part of our society, to the point that the number of hunters has been going down over the last decade.
Don't clap and start patting yourself on the back. Do not forget that the states also get money from the sale of hunting licenses and even lotteries to shot certain species – there are cases of more people wanting to hunt them then there are in the population of the animal. This money also goes into the fund for wildlife restoration and protection. While it might not be as much as states get from taxes, it is still a significant part of the budget.
While all of this might seem cruel, please do not forget that at one point in time the only way for scientist sto get numbers on the populations of species was to keep a record of what was shot from year to year. Even today that method is still used because you can get a lot more information from the carcass than you can a live animal. There was also a time when there were no regulations on hunting either.
The important thing to remember is that those who hunt properly, inside the law, are good people. When they kill something, they eat it. They keep the trophy, just as you would a souvenir from another country. They have pictures, just like you do, but sometimes having something more tangible and real is more meaningful than a picture. Not everyone is like Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast.”
The people that you have to worry about are the ones who do not hunt inside the law. Those are the people who would rather go out and kill anything that moves, because they can. Or they get a thrill from getting away with it under the law's nose. You do not normally hear about them because they go out of their way to avoid law enforcement.
If you ever get a chance, watch National Geographic shows called Alaska State Trooper and Wild Justice, or even Animal Planets North Woods Law. All three have law enforcement that not only interact with wildlife but also show the laws, rules, and regulations that must be followed.
Not only that you can see for yourself from people who deal with this everyday that there are people who represent both sides. Hunters who care about the sport and the hunt itself, and those who just want to shoot for fun.
NOTE: Robin Blankenhorn, TAMUK '13, is presently curating the urban wildlife policy space and seeking a career in the field. She would love your help in that effort.