Archive for September, 2010

To Hunt or Not To Hunt — The Battle Rages On!

I was raised in a family of hunters. Mostly we ate what we killed, but there were those requisite trophies hanging on the wall and lying on the floor too. My grandfather had elk and deer heads hanging all over his house and a bear skin rug in front of his fireplace.

My uncle taught me how to shoot early in life, both a pistol and a rifle. But he seemed really shocked when I sauntered off from camp one day with a .22 and came back with a jack rabbit I had popped dead on, on foot. I was just a little girl. He shouldn’t have even let me out of his sight with that gun.

His dogs ate the rabbit so at least it didn’t go to waste, but, even though I’m a meat eater and have eaten animals harvested from my own ranch, that was the only and last time I have ever hunted and killed an animal myself. It’s just not in my nature.

I think back in those days there were so many fewer of us homo sapiens, and wildlife was so abundant, that hunting and fishing — whether for food or trophies — was never questioned at all.

But the world has changed so much. Overpopulation has crowded out the native habitat of many species. Culling and sport hunting has had a disastrous effect upon others.

Although we had our fair share of predators at my ranch in Texas, living in the mountains of Northern New Mexico has brought many of the big animals much closer to my reality. Cougars and bear are fairly abundant — a cougar was recently treed smack dab in the middle of Santa Fe — and coyotes and bobcats are all around us, preying on our small dogs, cats, chickens and anything else they can grab. There are the near-extinct Mexican wolves too, in the southern part of the state, struggling valiantly to survive but slowly losing the battle. I think their numbers are down around 50 now,  and yet they continue to be poached. And that’s not to mention the local bands of wild horses which, though not predators, the BLM is still intent upon dessimating.

Thank God there are very active groups that fight for the rights of all these animals. But I chose the words “the battle rages on” as part of this blog’s title because these issues are still so rank and adversarial that they have become as destructive to the human psyche as to the animals themselves.

There are data and statistics that can be quoted for supporting either side of these causes, but finding a middle ground seems to be almost impossible for most of the individuals I’ve come in contact with because they are so militant and irate about defending their “side.”

How can we stop wars by waging another one? How can we be pro-life if we murder an abortionist?

Causes are good things, whether they are for preserving our wildlife or planting more trees. But when they engender hatred and violence they are self-defeating.

I know people who are so adamant about their stance that they despise and would literally like to kill others who don’t believe the same way they do. I’ve heard them say so. They are carrying hatred in their hearts every day. I can’t imagine what this is doing to their psyches.

I ask you. How does this kind of energy help preserve anyone — our precious wildlife, our forests, or most of all ourselves?

I’m not taking a stance here on hunting or not hunting. I just needed to vent a bit about some of the venom that is whirling around me at this particular time regarding killing cougars.

Thanks for listening.

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