Motivated by some recent letters to Press Pros, some actual “facts” pertaining to an American tradition most say is worth appreciating, and preserving.
It isn’t often that I scratch an itch in this fashion, but recent letters to Press Pros in protest of hunting stories published by this writer and contributing columnist Tom Cappell deserve both recognition for the effort and concern…and some clarification relative to the facts.
Received: “Mr. Fulks, while I recognize that Press Pros is an excellent source for area sports, I would be lying if I didn’t share how disappointed I am in your insistence to highlight and glorify the ancient and unnecessary pursuit of killing wild animals. Worse, you justify it by saying you do it for food, and sport. It’s not a sport, it’s a habit, and a deadly one at that, and I think we all understand that people like you and Mr. Cappell do not need to kill innocent animals in order to eat. You should refrain from future articles of this type for the sake of your readership, and the sake of our God-given environment, of which we’re all responsible to be good stewards.”
While the individual who wrote this shared their identity and location, I will not for the sake of respect for their privacy…because contrary to this person’s view, theirs is distinctly in the minority on the subject of hunting. Which, by the way, I think they know.
But for the sake of clarification we write about the outdoors through the support of a very fine sponsor, Olde English Outfitters, in Tipp City, Ohio. And a visit to Olde English is always revealing in and of itself because you see just how responsible the outdoors clientele is towards their stewardship of the environment. There really are different strokes for different folks and those who enjoy the shooting sports, as well as hunting, are often far more sensitive to their surroundings than those who would leave behind a popcorn bag and empty Gatorade bottle at a basketball game.
Second, I shared this letter (and a couple others) with writer Tom Cappell, who forwarded the following facts about how the environment actually works, and misguided notions about any cruel perceptions of hunting.
Says Cappell, the average life span of a ring-neck pheasant in the wild is less than two years, from the time it’s hatched until its demise. “There are more pheasants killed in the chick stage by thunderstorms and drowning than by hunters,” he writes. “More actually die by the hands of predation (coyotes, hawks, owls, and skunks) than from hunting because proportionately there are fewer hunters now than a generation ago, and far more coyotes.
Additionally, he writes that there are also fewer gamebirds (in this example) because of encroaching civilization and the simple loss of habitat. To be frank, too many people equals too few animals, if you’re that concerned.
And last, the stewardship for the environment of which this person spoke is funded largely by fees that come from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. That’s right, the people who put the most money towards preservation and maintenance of our natural resources are the same ones who hunt and fish. More impressively, they have for generations, which is why we still have the abundance of wildlife to found in what’s left of undeveloped America.
I understand that hunting is an emotional subject for those who don’t hunt. But the reality, in regards to the statement about readership, that a hundred to one more people tell us they enjoy the stories about hunting and appreciation of the environmental resources than those who say they’re offended. Nearly every week someone writes to share that a story reminded them of time spent with their dad, or granddad, in the field, and the lessons learned about gun safety and responsibility that carried over into other facets of their lives. By my judgement, that counts as good stewardship, too.
In the Old Testament it’s written that man shall have dominion over all the animals of the field – the environment, if you will. And that’s lucky for mankind. If it were the opposite – if the environment had dominion over man – I fear a lot of those who complain about hunting would fail to survive a thunderstorm.
They’d stare up at the sky and drown like pheasant chicks. That’s how nature actually works!