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 with Rob Miskosky

To Hell in a Handbasket

According to The Free Dictionary, the phrase “to hell in a handbasket” describes a situation undergoing “a rapid process of deterioration.” And I’m here to tell you that some of our outdoor pursuits could be headed to... well, hell in a handbasket.

First up is trappers and trapping. For these folks, of which I am one, a global attack on the fur trade has caused serious harm to the markets that trappers have been utilizing for years. Because of this attack, several designers are dropping fur from their fashion lines, the sale of fur has been banned from cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, and some countries are banning the importation of fur, which is leading to depressed prices at fur auction houses.

Trapping has been under assault for years, but suddenly it’s getting serious.

This attack on the fur trade is nothing new, groups like Peta and the HSUS have been at it for years. What has changed though is that our rural connection has been lost and the vast majority of folks now live in large cities. Most kids growing up these days know much more about video game characters than they do about wildlife and probably assume Buffalo wings come from buffalos. Recognizing this, animal-rights groups have ramped up their anti-trapping campaigns and it’s working, as urbanites buy-in to the fake news spread by these malicious organizations that prey on the uneducated.

Will trapping disappear because of the onslaught? No, there will always be trapping because it is a necessary tool required for animal control. However, if the fur trade is lost, those animals that are removed for control reasons will be merely discarded and left to waste, respect for wildlife will be lost, conservation efforts hampered, and fewer trappers will exist on the landscape. Nobody, including the taxpayer wins in this case, as governments would be required to pay trappers to control wildlife that is currently being controlled at little or no cost.

Second up is the so-called trophy hunting market that has been taking a beating ever since the social media world showed up. Make no mistake, polls show that there is a large segment of North American society opposed to hunting for sport and there are many petitions out there with thousands of signatures calling for its end.

The importation of several animals has already been banned in several countries, namely what is considered the African Big 5, which includes the African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, white and black rhinoceros, and the African leopard. European Union countries such as France and the Netherlands lead the way. Pressure from animal-rights groups and the general public are making headway; again, using the uneducated to further their agendas.

But it’s not just the African Big 5 that is being targeted. In North America, predator hunting has fallen under scrutiny in recent years, namely the use of hounds for hunting cougars, black and grizzly bear hunting, so-called coyote hunting derbies, and wolf hunting are all frowned upon by many.

In several US states, the use of hounds for hunting cougars has been banned, the grizzly bear hunt in BC was recently shutdown, and coyote hunting derbies, which are allowed in Alberta, BC and Ontario, are under both government and public scrutiny. Never mind the “precious” wolf that has wreaked emotional havoc on so many. Again, emotions brought about by animal-rights groups preying on the uneducated.

In today’s social media world, regardless of what hunters and trappers do, there will always be backlash. The problem is that the backlash has taken front seat. In fact, it has become such a problem that many of our hunting and trapping pursuits are, most likely, going “to hell in a handbasket.”

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

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