Varmint Callers Association
The first varmint hunting site on the net! The California Varmint Callers maintains this webpage for the benefit of all varmint and predator hunters.
I am an avid hunter and sportsman. By virtue of this I can identify with some of the problems that we as hunters and sportsmen encounter from a misinformed public and a biased media. In writing and educating people about the problems hunters face, I hope to be active in supporting our hunting heritage.
I am an active member of The California Varmint Callers Association. As a group, we have been forced to become politically active by the animal-rights and anti-gun extremist's constant attacks on our freedoms. We have been fighting prospective legislation that could have, and in some cases has, ended hunting as we know it. Most anti-hunting legislation is presented by animal rights groups on nothing more than emotional grounds and is simply an attempted to legislate their morality. They are usually well financed and with the help of their media friends have mounted effective propaganda campaigns in misinforming the American public about hunting.
I present to you clear, uncontroversial examples of how hundreds, even thousands of animals have come to be endangered or extinct.
Contrary to the widely held belief that it is hunters and sportsman who have contributed to this endangerment, I will illustrate how invariably it has been money making, commercial enterprises of one type or another, that have been the real culprit. And that in fact, it was and presently is, the general public (including our so called anti-hunting environmental activists) who wittingly or unwittingly support these commercial enterprises by simply living out their lives.
In describing how commercial exploitation of wild animals has contributed to their extinction or endangerment, I hope that you will keep foremost in mind that the overwhelming motivator or driving factor is money and profits. This list of examples is by no means complete. I have included only those examples that I think most people have at one time or another heard about.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of examples just like these and in every example I defy you to find an instance where you can accuse the sportsman in the extinction of any animal!
I'm sure that with little effort you too can come up with similar examples. One that I have heard about in the short time I have been here in Australia is the problem they have with various wild birds like the sulphur crested cockatoo. These birds are extremely popular as pets and as a result they need to be protected. Some species bring in excess of $20,000 apiece. People are regularly caught trying to smuggle birds and eggs into the U.S. No doubt they are purchased by animal lovers! Here again, we have a commercial interest working to threaten a species. The desire or need to "make a dollar" is a powerful incentive in the destruction or endangerment of wild animals!
Historically, hunters and sportsmen have not been the cause of animal extinction nor will they ever be. It is the hunter and sportsman who have been at the forefront in pushing for laws and regulations that promote sound, scientific game management principles like those in place in the US and other parts of the world.
Hunters and sportsmen have endeavored to ensure that any given game species will continue to thrive while at the same time ensuring our continued right and ability to hunt. It is hunters and sportsmen who are most outraged by the previous examples of endangerment or extinction, as we seem to be the easy scapegoat for these atrocities. I can't begin to remember how many so called "nature shows" and "documentaries" I have seen that come right out and blame the hunter for the problem of animal endangerment. These people are guilty of outright lies or at best a well financed and misguided propaganda campaign.
What is little known and almost never acknowledged by the media and environmental activists, is the fact that sport hunters are the original "environmental activists". Teddy Roosevelt, a well known big game hunter and former president of the United States was one of the first. He helped develop America's consciousness of the environment and created some of the best and most beautiful National Parks in the world. I think he knew that human expansion and commercial exploitation of animals in the wild were a threat to the future use and enjoyment of our natural wonders.
In the United States, hunters and sportsmen contribute more money to the protection of threatened animals and their habitat than all other conservation groups combined bar none. Through the efforts of hunters and sportsmen, we instituted legislation that imposed a small tax on the purchase of ammunition, firearms and other related items. Money is also collected from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses. This money goes towards ensuring the health and viability of many animals and is also responsible for some of the animal "re stocking" or "reintroduction" programs.
I see the best way to fight the anti-hunters and pseudo-environmentalists (those who don't practice what they preach) is to educate the media and the public in general as to the real dangers to our animal populations. They should be made aware of how they are in fact witting or unwitting accomplices to these atrocities. They should be made aware of how they, themselves shoulder part of the blame and guilt. Do they own a home that has encroached upon an animals habitat? Do they eat fish? Do they own products made of wood? Do they use gasoline, steel, electricity, rubber (you name it)? If they do then they are as guilty as the rest of society. They must be informed as to how the hunter and sportsmen is proactive on the issue of game species protection and at how we hold righteous indignation to their attempts to put an end our hunting traditions. Especially since we have not caused the extinction of any game species and that we in fact work vigorously towards their protection in order that we may continue to enjoy the benefits they provide us for generations to come.
You may or may not agree with everything I have said here, but I hope that these arguments and observations will provide you with some ammunition in blunting the anti-hunters arguments. As an avid hunter and sportsman, I understand the frustration in dealing with people who cannot understand the hunt. They will never understand the thrill of the chase, the success, the failure, the friendships developed, the camaraderie between fellow hunters, the bonds developed between men nor our personal relationship with nature. By not understanding the whole hunting experience, they see it as nothing more than the kill. The only way I have found to make the non-hunter fully understand the hunting tradition is to actually take them on a hunt and let them get the full experience. They then begin to see and understand how the hunt goes back to the earliest beginnings of man. They begin to see intuitively, the capacity, the innate drive for the hunt that is within everyone. Let's not forget that as with all other animals, we too are physically part of this earth.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to do this for everyone. As I see it, the
next best course of action is to educate those who will listen. We must also
inform the media that their emotional appeals to the public implicating hunters
as the problem are misguided and in fact does a disservice to those who work
vigorously toward the continued existence and protection of animals - the
hunter and sportsman.