To an audience of people who have different views on hunting. For the purpose of sharing: Both sides of why hunting should be allowed and not allowed. I. Introduction a. Save the animals or eat them? We dont want to eat bugs bunny. But we want to eat cows and chickens raised on farms. Do we see animals as prizes? do we see them as uses such as clothes, jewlery, and other accessories? Or do we see them as just beautiful part of nature and pets? b. Im going to explain about the two sided views on hunting for food, trophy hunting, and the hunting for trading valuables of skin, toes, eyes, anything on an animal.
c. Hunting, I have always had been open on trying to understand about why we have to eat animals, trade, and learn what is cruel and what isnt. d. Hunting is something where we need to understand both sides of the story. Whether it hurts or not it helps broaden our knowledge on why we hunt animals for food, trophy hunting, and uses such as accesories. Transition: In the beggining II. Body a. First hunting for food can show that they have thier pro’s and con’s. i. Since the dawn the of time, We have had hunters hunting buffallo, elk, deer, any kind of beast that would support their family. Is that right?
In some cases yes, if its to support your family and feed so many people of a certain group or community. Plus you dont want animals to over populate us humans correct? Hunting can definitely keep down the population such as the deer population, hunters say that since the population of wolves and cougars are down they the hunters need to take place of the wolves and cougars and keep the deer population down. (Lin, Doris) It will definitely give you something to think about. Do we want to get overpopulated by animals? ii. Though main hunting for food can be viewed as bad because of hunters and how they kill animals incorrectly.
Such as car/deer collisions, Before hunting season hunters would scare deer off onto the main roads and have people hit the deer by thier car. Some may see that hunters use this as a recreational sport. (Lin, Doris) (Division of Wildlife, 10/25/2012) Colorado is aware of hunting season and hunters are always excited to hunt game, but there are always those times where hunters shoot the wrong game like people. To be against hunting, this letter to all of Colorado talks about how hunters misjudge targets and assume elk are deer or deer are elk or even people are such animals and begin to shoot and get into deep trouble. b.
Second hunting for trophy usage can have pro’s and con’s. i. For bragging rights animals are prized or just income these are what animals become after getting killed. It is mostly had become a con to any argument because of those who hunt go after most mature animals that are able to produce. Hunters go after most animals and kills a big group of young males and causes extinction of animals. Just like Polar bears, in 2008 Polar bears were declared as a threatened species. (Aguecheek, Andrew 12/09/2008) Most animals like wolves, eagles, cougars, reptiles, and many more animals or reptiles are becoming endangered species.
If you are an animal supporter trophy hunting is one of the worst kind of violations in the world to nature. It’s an offense to all of us who care and think animals should live out thier lives to thier fullest just like us humans. It even becomes more of a problem when hunters kill an animal that is an andangered species. (Aguecheek, Andrew 12/09/2008) ii. Those who are in favor there are pro’s to trophy hunting. Mostly the reason of why a hunter does trophy hunting is to have it as a memento of what they have killed and be proud of what they have done.
Some hunters do like to use the meat of the animal for the meat because they think it is a waste if it is not used but still also use the whole body or even the head of the animal given to the tazxidermist to have it held as a symbol an award or prize. It not only does bring income or become such as a prize, if you think of trophy hunting just as hunting without the trophy part it is used to help with protecting animals and humans getting killed so when an animal goes rapid and wild throughout a certain area a hunter kills it and it helps protect us humans from getting hurt or killing any other animals. (Gunn,Alastair S, 2001).
c. Third hunting for uses for fur, skin, toes, teeth, nails, etc can have thier pro’s and con’s as well. i. Exotic skins, fur, galuchat (sharks, manarays), karakul (lambs inside a mothers womb), leather and suede are all things we use as items to help create fashion designer make clothes. The con of this is because it caused extinction or close to extinction of animals like these ten top animals: Wooly Mammoths, Caspian Tigers, Thylacines (Tasmanian tigers), Dodos, Passenger pigeons, Polar Bears, Muskox, Mediterranean Monk Seals, American crocodiles, Flying foxes and Great white sharks.
(Huntercourse. com) Foxes are a good example even though they are not extinct, They are used for thier fur but it is awful way of how they are killed and mostly by dogs. Since dogs are used for fox hunting it becomes gruesome. (all-creatures. org) Even though trading of the uses of animal furs, and skins has been with us for centuries, it causes harm and we lose precious wildlife inhabitants but also uses of thier skins and other parts we use in our daily lives. ii.
The pros of the hunting for such uses can be to help kill the animals that are dangerous to us. Like Thylacines (Tasmanian tigers) they are the largest marsupial, that has the head of a dog, the stripes of a cat, and the pouch of a kangaroo. They were said by farmers that they killed thier livestocks. They were much of a problem even more people started killing these unique creatures and exterminate them. The last one of thier existence lived til 1938 at the Hobart zoo. And they also used the unique creatures fur to create quality clothing.
(Huntercourse. com) Or it may not even be a pro but some animals may not even have a chance to survive in the world such as the dodo’s (the flightless birds) they became extinct in the 17th century. On a desolated land once human activity became it became a problem and they never stood a chance towards the humans pets: dogs, cats, and the blood thirsty pigs that were brought on thier land. (Huntercourse. com).
Transition: Now III. Conclusion a. Now we understand both sides of the subject of hunting in three major areas of Food, Trophy, and use as fur or teeth or any other organ or use we can get out of an animal. b. Is this wrong or right? All we know is that this will be a never ending controversy where we need it and where we dont. Hunters will always break the rules or some will stay behind the lines. But hoping, we can understand two sides of the story and understand why things happen for the reasons. We may still stand by what we believe in but as long as we get a broader knowledge of what hunting can bring positively and negatively.
Before the crack of dawn on a Sunday, I got into a truck with two guns and two dogs in the back. My friend Ken Reid was driving. His hunting buddy Rone Brewer sat in the backseat with my dad, Allen Ballinger, who also hunts, but came along as photographer this time. We were on our way to kill some quail.
When we at YES! Magazine started working on our Spring 2011 issue on animals, I thought of Ken immediately. Ken hunts, but also gathers and grows as much food as possible for his family of four, while still holding a day job in the city. He has an extensive garden in his average-sized yard, a worm bin, five chickens, and four honey bee colonies on his garage roof. He gathers mushrooms, fishes, and hunts whenever he can find the time.
Ken—who takes death more seriously than anyone I know—told me not to bring a gun unless I was really ready to take a life.
It was the hunting that interested me. Hunting is part of our most primitive relationship with animals. But with access to modern agriculture, it seems like murder—unnecessarily carried out for pleasure at another’s expense. Modern agriculture has freed us to be better than that, right?
But Ken is a “thinker.” When he does anything, he does it for a good reason, and he will tell you why at the slightest provocation. If he hunts, I thought, it must make good moral sense. Can you be a moral hunter? I wanted to find out.
Photos: Follow Alyssa on her first hunting trip. Click to play.
Ken agreed to take me hunting and I envisioned shooting a Bambi’s-mom-type doe. She would stagger tragically and collapse in a pool of blood. I pictured either crying over her beautiful carcass, or feeling my heart turn to stone and becoming a hardened killer. Maybe both.
Ken thought we should start by hunting quail, and pheasant if we came across any. I was a little relieved: Birds don’t have doe eyes. Ken—who takes death more seriously than anyone I know—told me not to bring a gun unless I was really ready to take a life. I wasn’t, so I didn’t.
Three hours of driving brought us to “Quail Heaven,” snow-covered basaltic wetlands east of the Columbia River near Royal City, Washington. Upon our arrival I surveyed the land and didn’t see any wildlife, but as we hiked further, there were plenty of traces: tunnels dug by mice, deer scat, coyotes howling in the distance, and the snow tracks of our chosen prey, quail and pheasant. The landscape seemed barren, with only sagebrush and short Russian Olive trees, which have loads of skinny branches exploding with greenish brown fruits the size of capers. But the land isn’t as barren as it looks—the birds there are fattened on these fruits.
The first wild animal we saw was a porcupine sitting on its haunches with paws tucked into its chest. The porcupine wasn’t scared; they’re generally left alone. Predators learn quickly that attacking will get them a face full of spines. Ken’s dog, Scout, has had the unfortunate experience three times—this time he kept his distance. A hunter won’t bother them either, unless “you were really hungry”, says Ken. Then “if you needed to you could walk right up to it and kill it with a stick.”
Per acre, vegan agriculture kills more animals than raising livestock, because field animals such as mice and bunnies are regularly killed by harvesting equipment.
As long as Ken and his family aren’t starving, he’s no threat to porcupines. The porcupine represents the kind of cute critters who are threatened less by direct threats, and more by indirect actions—for example, when humans take their land for agriculture. Or a golf course. Or a shopping mall.
There is no escaping the effect modern life has on our fellow creatures. Raccoons feed off our compost in the night. Bats are dying in the air flux around wind turbines. Entire ecosystems have been displaced by factories producing various products: toilet paper, flu vaccine, plastic trinkets. And then there’s our food system. Even vegans can’t claim they don’t kill animals.
In 2002, Oregon State University professor Steven Davis calculated that, per acre, vegan agriculture kills more animals than raising livestock, because field animals such as mice and bunnies are regularly killed by harvesting equipment. Of course, this equates one rat to one cow. Also, it is per acre—and vegan agriculture could feed the world with far fewer acres.
No one, regardless of their food choices, is completely innocent of the harm caused by our current food system. Vegan, organic, or not—pesticide and fertilizer runoff damage habitat. That’s after the initial ecosystem displacement, of course. The nature of agriculture means no matter how we grow our food, we will cause the deaths of animals—if not by machinery or chemicals, then by starvation from disappearing habitat. For us to live, others will die.
In fact, “Quail Heaven” was threatened, by a proposed irrigation reservoir that would have flooded thousands of acres of Eastern Washington wetland habitat. But hunters like Ken joined with nearby residents and environmental groups to protest. They succeeded in delaying the construction indefinitely.
The porcupine is safe for now.
Scout, along with Rone’s dog, Cork, ran around sniffing everything, excited to show off his ability to “see” birds by smelling them. The quail aren’t prancing around in open meadows like I envisioned when I heard “Quail Heaven,” at least not when we’re around. They were taking shelter under the brush; we needed the dogs to find them. It’s a unique evolutionary partnership: Man uses dog for his keen sense of smell, dog uses man for his intellect and firearms.
When the dogs smell a bird, they stand stiff and still, “on point,” with their noses pointing directly at the bird. Someone scares the bird out, and then the guns take over.
Several minutes after the porcupine incident, Scout went on point. We were near a crowded grove of Russian Olive trees with overgrown brush and branches underneath— lots of hiding places for quail. My dad and I pushed through the branches and kicked around, but no bird came out. Scout didn’t move—insisting a bird was there. We kept kicking around, walking all over the branches, and I wondered how this works. Where are the birds? Where will they go? Aren’t we in the line of fire?
Finally my dad found a quail. The bird, peeking out from the brush, had been tromped on as we were kicking around.
Humane Meat? No Such Thing
Should we eat animals? My disability gives me a unique view on the oxymoron "humane meat."
Ken held the bird. It wasn’t struggling, just looking around—stunned or maybe scared. It was hurt, and we weren’t going to nurse it back to health. Ken bashed the quail’s head against a rock as hard as he could, three times. The bird opened and closed its beak twice, shuddered from head to toe, then lay still. “This reminds me of that grouse,” he called out to Rone as he joined us from over the hill.
Ken had talked to Rone many times about a grouse that he killed when he was fourteen. Just like this quail, he had held it in his hand while its pulse waned and it shuddered into death. It was a sobering experience, and for Ken it set off a lifetime of scientific moral contemplation that led him to a very strict stance. “Many vegans and omnivorous people consider their conscience clear because they did not willfully commit the killing act," Ken told me. "For me it is the opposite."
This quail was the first cute-animal death I had witnessed (insects don’t count), but I felt strangely okay. I was sad for the bird, but after hours of conversation and pages-long emails from Ken and Rone, I had come to understand how I could feel compassion and still be okay with killing for food. I was participating in the process of life and death—a process that would happen whether I liked it or not.
Participation made moral sense to me. When we don’t take part in the lives (and deaths) of the animals we eat, when we pass responsibility from consumer to farmer to CEO to stockholder, animals are disrespected, as evidenced by the horrific conditions in concentrated animal feeding operations. Some choose to absolve themselves of the responsibility by becoming a vegetarian or vegan. But short of living in the woods and foraging for edibles—a lifestyle that most climates would not support—they too must claim some complicity in the deaths of animals.
I had come to understand how I could feel compassion and still be okay with killing for food. I was participating in the process of life and death—a process that would happen whether I liked it or not.
Hunting is brutal, but so are the indirect environmental effects of building cities of skyscrapers, mining rare earth metals for electronics, and building wind turbines. We are killing animals either way—hunting is just more direct. Ken would say, more honest.
Ken and Rone recognize that to live on this earth requires causing harm, and participating through hunting creates a deep connection to nature that is very fulfilling. But it’s about more than human feelings; it’s about preserving a natural way of life, for us and for the animals we hunt. Hunting leaves them in their natural homes. Sustainably harvesting wildlands for meat, mushrooms, and other living things fosters a beneficial and respectful relationship with the ecosystems we are harvesting. Gathering all the food sources we can naturally allows us, to some degree, to plow down less habitat for agriculture. Hunting goes a long way toward protecting and improving animal life.
In Photos: Alyssa's first hunting trip.
The next time Scout points, my dad is able to flush out a bird. Rone shoots and misses. The next one Rone shoots falls. Cork brings it back.
Later, Rone shoots another but the bird doesn’t drop—it flies off and lands on a nearby knoll. Cork finds it and brings it back, chomping just a little until the bird lies still. This isn’t killing out of compassion, Ken explains. The birds have a defense mechanism—they have sharp claws, and release poofs of feathers when they’re caught.
Ken shoots one bird at close enough range that the expanding shot could have pulverized the bird, making it inedible—a wasted death. But when Scout brings it back, only the head is bloody. “Oh good,” Ken says, “That’s what I was going for.” Twenty years of hunting make it look easy, even though he says it’s not.
I wonder aloud whether a new hunter, maybe me someday, would spend all her time wounding and pulverizing, causing suffering and wasting birds’ lives. Ken has me point at the top of a telephone poll in the distance. Since my right eye is dominant, Ken says, “Now close your left eye.” My finger is right on top of the pole. “You see, aim comes naturally,” he says. I’m a natural killer. Rone shows me how he holds his gun at the ready, with his index finger pointed down the side of the barrel. Point and shoot. We’re all killers.
By the end of the day, Ken and Scout have killed four quail, and Rone and Cork have killed six quail and two pheasant.
A couple weeks later, I had dinner at the Reids’ to make sure it was for a good cause.
Farmer Joel Salatin: How to Eat Animals and Respect Them, Too
Why this foodie farmer believes sustainable farming includes meat.
Ken’s wife, Rebecca, cooked us a beautiful meal with as much local food as possible: fried razor clams they dug themselves, homegrown, homemade grape juice sweetened with the honey from their own bees, and of course quail and pheasant, cooked in a tomato-based sauce and served on risotto. The wild bird tasted like they had had rich lives, and a homeland full of Russian Olive.
I haven’t killed yet, but I will. I want to participate, because even the little I have done thus far has given me a much greater respect for life. The experience connected me to nature in a way hiking and camping never did. I understand why Ken feels accountable for owning a house on land that used to be woods, or why he gets so angry about developments lying on top of what used to be prime Seattle farmland.
No one is suggesting that we get all our food from hunting and foraging—there are too many of us now—but we need to gather all the food sources we can naturally to reduce our need for agriculture.
We can protect the land by using it. We can ensure that life is respected by participating in the dirty work. Rather than hiding in our cities and vilifying those who intrude on “pristine” wildlands, we should bravely accept our place as a predator, a natural participant in the cycle of life and death.