My good Lord! Part 1 (click here if you missed)was a fair introduction, and a very heated debate with my anti-hunter friend. She finally apologized for having offended me and agreed to retract her conspicuous "..cage..and hunt each other..." comment. We will meet in Chicago to have a drink and catch up. Win-Win situation. Now let's analyze one of her rants, paradoxical in nature, before we get to the meat of Part 2.
My anti-hunter friend: "I don't wish harm to anyone--but if they're already killing--hunting is killing--then keep it to themselves..." Me: FACT: Hunting is not killing, thus an egregious statement. Hunters have a minimum success rate. Hunting is the entire individual experience - be it for fellowship, food, tradition, connecting with nature. FACT: The past two years, this one still in progress, I have killed 3 deer. Last year I lost one to the coyotes, killed a giant deer in KS (and fed multiple families, including me), and one doe deer this year. I have spent countless of hours afield. I have spent countless of days afield, not to mention MONEY! FACT: I have passed on many deer, for personal reasons, never releasing an arrow. HUNTING IS NOT KILLING! One of my favorite sayings is, "IF YOU WANT TO KILL SOMETHING, DON'T HUNT. IF YOU WANT TO HUNT, WELCOME TO MY WORLD".
Read: The UGLY of KS My Hunt - 2012.
My anti-hunter friend: "And you are the hero--killing animals with weapons that put you at an unfair disadvantage". Me: FACT: My kills are private, personal, and intimate. I kneel before the lifeless deer's body, and THANK my God for what He has provided me. I thank Him for the health, ability, resources, and His guidance to make it happen. FACT: Unfair advantage? Of course, I am a predator. I am a meat eater. I am a hunter. A clean swift kill is my goal IF I even get a chance to release an arrow; furthermore, IF I even choose to release an arrow; furthermore, IF I release an arrow - I hope I hit my intended target. Wanting to see an animal suffer would make me a sociopath!
My anti-hunter friend: "And I'm sorry I value animals' lives as much as humans. It's my values, my opinions. Best." Me: FACT: I am thankful for her valuing animals' lives as much as humans. I respect her values and opinion. Ethical hunters value life just as much. We learn about our game, their anatomy, their habits, their environment, their conservation, and their edible values. Every group has bad apples. Pardon the cliche. Not all hunters follow rules. Poachers, my friends, are not hunters. Google poachers, I'll spare you more facts. Hunters are anti-poachers.
THEREFORE, LET'S MIX IT IN A LITTLE: Anti-hunter's believe: "More studies are needed concerning stress responses associated with eco-touring and photographing animals, activities supposedly morally superior to hunting. The stalker's intentions, malevolent or not, seem unimportant. It's reasonable to believe that animals will show fear and anxiety responses to human stalkers that are similar to those shown to non-humans stalkers." - antistalking.com
So, my non-hunting friends, if you enjoy a walk or jog in a park where wildlife co-exists, photograph wildlife, eco-touring (visiting Yellow Stone National Park - heck, a zoo for that matter), and/or have moved/bought a house that has "pushed wild life out" or moved into "their area"...., you are being naughty because you partake in "..activities supposedly morally superior" - WOW!
Now that I may have stimulated some thinking, let's talk about the ECONOMIC IMPACT. You may Google more information about your state, but I will focus on my state of Missouri:
GOOD IMPACT: "Hunting Supports Missouri: Conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life". Thank you MDC for providing us with this very valuable information and support!
· 600,000 hunters call MO home
· More than 1.4 billion is contributed to MO's economy by hunting. This comes in various forms: buying arrows, ammo, weapons, food for camp, hunting clothes, fuel, lodging, processing, cameras, etc., etc.,
· More than 24,000 jobs are supported in MO through hunting: Gas stations, outfitters, hotels, vehicle dealers, big box retailers (Walmart, Bass Pro Shops), mom & pop stores, Park Rangers, restaurants, videographers, editors, teachers, etc., etc.
· MO leads the nation in recruiting new hunters, with 1.16 hunters replaced for every one lost. This success is largely due to citizen interest in conservation, youth-only seasons, low-cost permits, and Department-sponsored hunting and education programs.
· More than 2 million tons of venison have been donated by hunters since 1992 through the Share the Harvest Program. Almost 6,000 hunters participate in the program each year. Also check out "Hunters for the Hungry". Hunters are humanitarian, too. Is that an incredible value to posses and pass on to our children, or what? Even trophy hunters, when they kill, the meat is donated to the local village and citizens!
TO MY RESCUE: I really hope you don't skip this link: http://www.huntersforhungry.com/
· More than 500,000 deer hunters spend more that $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting in MO, which generates more than $1 billion in overall business activity in MO annually.
· Low permit cost is one more reason MO is a great place to hunt. MO's $17 Resident Any-Deer Permit is a fantastic bargain compared to the average of $46.63 for equivalent privileges in surrounding states. Added note, I hunt in IL, which costs me a Non-Resident price tag of almost $500.00. KS, which, costs me nearly $400 NR tag, gas, lodging, food, etc., and guess what? I don't always kill, because I am a hunter. We even have a funny, when we don't "tag-out" - we call it "eating a tag- sandwich"
TO MY RESCUE: Worth including the following from the previous blog: "Finally, hunters and recreational shooters in modern societies like the United States have played a significant role in wildlife conservation. As members of various hunting and shooting organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the National Rifle Association, hunting enthusiasts have generated billions of dollars that have supported various types of game management programs, habitat protection and restoration, and conservation education. Some of this money takes the form of direct contributions to such programs, and other monies are generated indirectly by taxes on hunting equipment purchases and various license, tag, permit, and stamp fees. One of the oldest and most important among such hunting-based revenue sources is the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 (also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act), and it has distributed more than $3.8 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies since it became law. Thus, somewhat ironically, modern hunters contribute significantly to the survival of the very species whose individual members they hunt and kill." - RICHARD S. MACHALEK
I belong to the NWTF. National Wild Turkey Federation. Go check them out!
Whew! Hunting has such a big impact? Yes. A POSITIVE ONE!!!!
Now, let us look at how wildlife, in particular the deer family, affects you in a not-so-good way, and what your car insurance has to do with hunting.
Although just about everyone loves watching deer, record deer herds do not register well with everyone. In fact, some people outright despise them. Take farmers, for example, who lose crops to uncontrolled wildlife, thus lose millions in revenue, thus increased food costs that you pay. How about homeowners that spend time and lots of money taking care of their yards, gardens, beautiful flowers - only to be consumed by them critters? Gah, that must be frustrating!
Deer-auto collisions cost millions of dollars each year. As a result, deer are not very well liked by auto insurance companies, nor the drivers that hit them, either. Too, somehow, somewhere, in a way - depending on your region...., you ARE paying some sort of $MULA$ for deer, elk, domestic herd, free ranging pets' vehicle collisions. Believe me. TO MY RESCUE: This will open up your eyes, just a bit.
Please visit: http://www.car-accidents.com/deer-car-auto-accidents.html
Please follow me on this, because it will cross-relate to deer overpopulation, the damages they cost (vehicle collisions), not to mention deer eating YOUR plants (if you have deer in your area). Which, BTW, deer are one of the most adaptable creatures in existence. They live and thrive in suburbs, cities, in your back yard (if applicable). What stalking stress? I shoot competitively in a park where deer come up to us. They eat and go about their business - while we have weapons and are shooting the weapons! What stalking stress? (if you missed this topic, you may have skipped some reading above).
Thank you MSN Money and CarInsurance.com for the following data: Did you know West Virginia is #1 for chances of deer related collisions. Texas is #40 with 1 in 325. Texas data is skewed, IMO, (all may be) because in West Texas (El Paso), it is RARE to see deer (mule or coues species). Now go to south or central Texas, deer population (including whitetail, exotics, etc.) is ridiculous. Anyhow, Hawaii is #51 with 1 in 6,787. Friends, my sister is a victim of a deer collision. She almost lost her life. Too many deer (overpopulation). "According to C. Mullen, State Farm Director of Strategic Resources, there was an estimated 1.22 million deer related collisions in the year (ending this past June 30th). This data is extremely important because it affects your rates, deductibles, etc. It's recommended, that if you have higher risks of being involved in a deer collision, lower your deductible." The average cost of damage is around $3,500 (+/-). Some of the states such as Hawaii, are completely disconnected to this serious problem. Hawaii would take hunting more seriously if they had West Virginia's numbers. Have you every seen a deer on the side of the road/highway - dead? Believe me, that impact wasn't fun for the driver/operator. Now, believe this, it ruined someone's day, plans, trip, hopefully it didn't cost them too much money, physical harm, or death, for that matter. (+/- 150 deaths are reported each year)
SOME CAUSES OF DEER COLLISION?
From my experience as a hunter, I can tell you when deer collisions are going to start (educated guess) in the Mid-West region. Months do vary due to climatic and regional differences, which affect the cycle of when deer will begin to mate. Southern states are 2-3 behind. Again, follow me on this (another crash course, but important for the point):
· Mid-Late October: This is when the male deer (bucks), are beginning to separate from their bachelor groups. They are now training for battle, to gain breeding rights and superiority. They are starting to fatten up, fortifying their bodies, and they start "getting in the zone" - mma/boxing style. It's call a "Pre-Rut" phase. They occasionally begin to go out of their home range, establishing dominance, "pushing" does, and chasing off inferior/subordinate bucks. Bam, deer collision! Dead deer begin to appear on various forms of streets.
· November: some pre-rutting may still carry over, but now the bucks are really getting blinded my one thing..., the ladies. They want to mate. Google a picture of a "normal" state of a deer and that same deer "rutting". They are swollen, big, aggressive, battle and mating ready. Now some of the ladies (does) are beginning get "in heat", if you will. But they play with the boys' feelings. They release a special scent, but not necessarily are willing or ready to mate. The boys are going nuts, fighting, and for 2-3 WEEKS are constantly mating or wanting to mate. They LITERALLY forget about eating. Some have "rutted" themselves to death due to battle, starvation, and/or exhaustion. Pushing, chasing, fighting, mating EQUALS an incredible increase of deer collisions. Period!
Check out these two rutting bucks go at it. Notice how swollen their face and necks are. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202200391281076
· December: Two things here. Most does have been mated. Bucks are exhausted and beat up, literally. Why then do we still see, although lower, an unusual number of deer collisions? One, it's because some does come into heat late. This arouses that stronger buck, or bucks, and the chase is on again. Two, food sources are now low. Bucks are trying to replenish their insane weight and energy loss. In addition, simply food sources are low, by now. They are hungry. Overpopulation plays a part in this, as well.
TO MY RESCUE: Here is some expert, kick-ass information that shows more of the economic impact hunters have. See more at: http://www.sportsmenslink.org/the-media-room/news/sportsmens-economic-impact-report-shows-hunting-and-fishing-expenditures-ar#sthash.Lwqc4tWV.dpuf
HAD ENOUGH YET, MY WONDERFUL NON-HUNTIG FIENDS? It's just the tip of iceberg. (cliche, cliche). Next, I will talk about OVERPOPULATION and OTHER BENEFITS OF HUNTING.
Please feel free to contact me or leave feedback. I don't know it all, thus, I welcome new constructive, objective, and pragmatic input! Remember, I'm writing to you as a hunter, not a biologist or some executive. Hopefully my humble writings are bringing light to issues you may have never thought of, relating to hunting. Gracias, and thank you for reading.
- Alex Tagle