I’ve always been a sports guy. In fact, for several years I wrote a sports column in the Edmonton Sports Scene newspaper covering the Edmonton Oilers. I had a press pass and full access to the Oilers’ players and some of my fondest memories of those days were interviews I did with players like Curtis Joseph, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and many others. So, needless to say, to this day I follow sports to the fullest extent. I am a bit of a sports junky at least and peruse as many sports-related columns and news pieces as I can find on a daily basis.
But I’ve always had a much bigger passion for hunting, fishing and trapping than I have sports; but the two activities are very close to my heart indeed. So you can imagine my horror when I discovered that the actions of a well-known sports figure have suddenly tarnished my other passions.
I’m not going to bore you with discussion of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and his admission to dog-fighting charges. I’ll just say they sicken me and the man certainly needs to take a long, hard look at himself while serving whatever time he gets. But to read the comparisons between our outdoor pursuits and dog fighting has really pushed me to the brink. Columnists and bloggers everywhere have suddenly lost their minds writing pure garbage like, “...what's the difference between hunting and dog fighting?
|Just what does dog fighting have to do with hunting, fishing and trapping?
In one instance someone shoots an animal, hopefully in the head for a quick death, but likely elsewhere. In another instance two animals fight to the death. I don't see a big difference—both are grossly inhumane” and “Why is it morally acceptable to kill deer for fun, but not morally acceptable to stage dogfights? At least in dogfights, the dog actually has (no pun intended) a fighting chance. In hunting, the deer has no chance whatsoever unless the guy in the tree is a bad shot or has had too many beers” and “When he's not betting on blood sports, Vick apparently gets his jollies by hooking fish through the mouth with a metal barb, watching as they slowly asphyxiate on the deck of his boat, then eating their flesh.”
And then, of course, there are those who do whatever they can to tarnish our activities; namely PETA and the many minions who follow this terrorist group. Yes, they are a terrorist group, nothing more.
PETA is calling on the National Football League (NFL) to “...add cruelty to animals—in all its forms—to its personal conduct policy.”
The key words here being “in all its forms”. We all know PETA views hunting, fishing and trapping as cruelty to animals.
I wonder how Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, an admitted and very passionate deer hunter, views PETA’s call for NFL policy change.
PETA are opportunists, exploiting what they can for their own gain, nothing more.
What in the world has Michael Vick and dog fighting have to do with hunting and fishing anyway?
At a time when black bear populations clear across this country appear to be exploding to record numbers, human-bear encounters are also increasing at an enormous rate.
In northern Ontario bear encounters have more than doubled this year compared to the same period as last year. Some are blaming dry weather and the lack of a berry crop for the increased encounters but most blame the 1999 cancellation of Ontario’s spring bear hunt. Many warned at the time that the end result would be an uncontrollable bear population and an increase in human-bear encounters. They appear to have been right.
|A shortage of bears?
Robin Kochorek, a 31-year-old Calgarian, was found dead on a trail near Invermere, B.C. in July of this year. Kochorek was mountain-biking when attacked by a black bear. It was reported that a black bear was hovering over her body, “protecting it as though it were protecting a kill.”
And recently in West Vancouver four young children were also involved in what could have been a nasty situation had it not been for the family dog. Apparently a bear decided he wanted what was in the family’s garden, unfortunately, where the children were playing. Luckily the family dog kept itself between the bear and the children until the parents managed to scare the bear away.
And here in Alberta I can personally attest to an increased number of bears in the Athabasca region of our province. So far this year I have encountered two bears while exploring forested regions for the upcoming hunting season. As well, my six trail camera’s are picking up bears on every checking, including two different sows harbouring three cubs each.
Alberta’s bear population appears to be doing just fine.
But what does PETA make of all these bear encounters? Headline: Tell Britain to Stop Supporting Canadian Bear Slaughter
“PETA is calling on Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) to stop using real bear skins to make headpieces for the Five Guards' Regiments... Bears are cruelly killed for their hides. They are either shot during hunts or ensnared—sometimes for days—in traps before hunters finally come along and shoot them.... Please remind the MoD that bears aren't crops to be "harvested." They are individuals who live in families and feel pain and terror when they are hunted down and fired upon and when they are injured and dying. There is no excuse for killing these magnificent animals and no excuse for profiting from their suffering...”
Wrapped up safely in their concrete jungles it is easy to bemoan what others do. But put a cute little bikini-clad PETA girl in a bear confrontation and we’ll see how fast she hollers for help. Unfortunately for her, there might not be anybody to hear her cries... unless of course there is a bear hunter nearby. ■
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