From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

ALBANY, New York–-As a team of 165 volun-
teers shoved snow from the frozen forest floor near
Raquette Lake, where hunter Lewis Lent Jr. said he’d killed
and buried 12-year-old Sara Anne Wood last summer,
ANIMAL PEOPLEconfirmed through a county-by-county
comparative analysis of 1992 New York state hunting, trap-
ping, and crime statistics that children in upstate New York
counties with more than the average number of hunters per
capita are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted
than children in the notoriously crime-ridden Bronx district
of New York City. (Statistics begin on page 6.)
Lent, 43, of North Adams, Massachusetts, was
arrested January 7 after attempting to kidnap 12-year-old
Rebecca Savarese as she walked to school in nearby
Pittsfield. Within hours Lent became the primary suspect in
a string of at least eight kidnap/rape/murders of children in
Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and in an
attempted kidnapping in Bennington, Vermont, only days
before his capture.

An Albany resident most of his life, Lent traveled
extensively up and down the Atlantic coast. Investigators
believe he could eventually be linked to many more kid-
nap/rape/murders, dating back as far as 1973.
Arthur Shawcross, the most notorious serial killer
of recent years in the Albany region, was also an inveterate
hunter. After serving nine years in state prison for raping
and murdering at least two children, Shawcross was
released in 1981, killed a known total of 11 women during
the next decade, and was finally sent to prison for 250
years in 1991.
Psychological link known
The pattern of violence toward animals as precur-
sor of violence toward humans is increasingly well docu-
mented in psychological literature. At least 18 major stud-
ies identified the link between 1959 and 1984. Alan
Felthous, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch
and Stephen Kellert, Ph.D., of Yale University finally cap-
tured the attention of law enforcement authorities in 1984-
1985 with a series of papers based upon interviews with 152
federal prisoners. As they explained in a paper entitled
Cruelty toward Animals among Criminals and
Noncriminals, “Childhood cruelty toward animals occurred
to a significantly greater degree among aggressive criminals
than among nonaggressive criminals or noncriminals.”
The Felthaus/Kellert findings have subsequently
been confirmed and refined to produce an FBI profile that
identifies cruelty toward animals, pyromania, and bedwet-
ting as a “deadly triad” of predictors found
in the history of nearly all serial killers.
Researchers have recognized that
serial killers often use hunting as a cover for
animal abuse, but have hesitated to directly
link the attitudes and practices of hunters to
those of sexually motivated murderers, in
part because the 14 million hunters in the
U.S. far outnumber the few hundred known
serial killers. However, Kellert unwittingly
demonstrated such a psychological link in
American Attitudes Toward and Knowledge
of Animals (1980), a study based on inter-
views with 3,107 randomly selected
Americans. Commissioned by the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, this Kellert work was
published by the International Journal for
the Study of Animal Problems––which may
explain why it drew little if any attention
from criminologists. Through his inter-
views, Kellert identified a “dominionistic”
attitude toward animals held to a significant-
ly greater degree by hunters, trappers, and
rodeo and bullfight fans, the characteristics
of which are that the individual’s “primary
satisfactions [are] derived from mastery and
control over animals.” Measuring the influ-
ence of dominionism on a scale with a max-
imum possible score of 18, Kellert found
humane group members rated 0.9, anti-
hunters 1.2, the general public 2.0, live-
stock farmers 2.7, fishers 3.0, meat hunters
3.3, and recreational hunters from 3.8 to
4.1. Among the recreational hunters, tro-
phy hunters, whom studies by University of
Wisconsin sociologist Thomas Heberlein
have identified as being especially dedicated
to hunting, were particularly inclined
toward dominionism.
Trappers, Kellert found, were
twice as dominionistic as recreational
hunters, at 8.5, and more than four times as
dominionistic as the general public.
The desire for mastery and control
are also recognized leading characteristics
of sadists and pedophiles, who typically
reinforce a weak self-image through their
dominance of their victims.
Yet another Albany-area killer,
Stephen Francis Kuber III, age 20, summa-
rized dominionism as he applied it to
Kimberly Jaye Decker, age 30, on July 10,
1990: “You know how you drag a deer by
the horns or the neck? That’s how I dragged
her,” he told New York State Police investi-
gator James Horton. “You know how you
kill a sunfish? You really have to pound.
That’s how I had to pound on her. She
wouldn’t die.”
Kellert found that the dominionis-
tic attitude was held by only about 3% of
the U.S. population as a whole, at a time
when about 8% were hunters. Kellert fur-
ther found that dominionism is quite rare
among anti-hunters and members of humane
groups, and in a follow-up study, Attitudes
Toward Animals: Age-Related Develop-
ment Among Children, he demonstrated
that it is also rare in children of the second,
fifth, eighth, and 11th grades.
Since Kellert did his interviews,
in the 1970s, interest in trophy hunting has
markedly increased, as evidenced by the
number of submissions to the Boone and
Crockett Club for scoring, but the number
of licensed hunters in the U.S. has plummet-
ed from nearly 22 million to under 14 mil-
lion. Correspondingly, the number of
licensed trappers has dwindled from a peak
of circa 800,000 in 1981 to as few as
97,500. One effect of the decline in hunting
and trapping participation may have been to
lower the number of hunters and trappers
with other motivations, while increasing the
percentage who are driven by dominionism
among the remainder.
Only 5.4% of Americans hunted or
trapped in 1993. If Kellert’s estimate that
3% of Americans are strong dominionists
still holds, along with the tendency for
strong dominionists to be hunters and/or
trappers, it is possible that half of all cur-
rently active hunters and trappers could be
Because the number of serial
killers is so small compared to the number
of hunters, the high proportion of serial
killers who also hunt animals has little sta-
tistical significance as an indicator of any-
thing about the hunting population as a
whole. Hunters also far outnumber
pedophiles: in 1992 there were 528
licenced resident hunters in New York state
for every person convicted of sexual assault
on a child. However, though high, the
ratio of hunters to pedophiles is low enough
that comparisons can be meaningful if the
relevant statistical associations are particu-
larly strong. Further, if child abuse experts
are correct in estimating that as many as 10
children are victimized for every case prose-
cuted, the discovery of a ratio of 528
hunters to one known pedophile may actual-
ly indicate a ratio of 52.8 hunters per prac-
ticing pedophile. At this ratio, if the popu-
lations of hunters and pedophiles not only
parallel but overlap, hunting might no
longer be just a common element in the
backgrounds of most sexual predators: it
might begin to be recognized as a symptom
of sexual abnormality in and of itself.
It must be noted that ratios inde-
pendent of other context can be misleading.
A relatively low ratio of hunters and/or trap-
pers to pedophiles may suggest a relation-
ship in the incidence of each, but not neces-
sarily. The question is not whether there is
just a low ratio of hunters and/or trappers to
pedophiles, since this can result from low
numbers of hunters and/or trappers in the
general population, as in New York City;
rather, the question is whether the ratio is
indicatively low in counties which have
both high numbers of pedophiles and high
numbers of hunters and/or trappers.
Conversely, a high ratio of
hunters and/or trappers to pedophiles does
not discount the possibility of a positive
relationship in the incidence of each. Such a
high ratio may reflect either a low rate of
pedophila, as in the most densely populated
counties, or an unusually high level of hunt-
ing and/or trapping, as in the least populat-
ed counties, where coincidentally underre-
porting of pedophilia (along with rape and
family violence) is most likely, due to the
relative lack of access to social services.
Ratios are most meaningful in
comparing large numbers to large numbers.
In this instance, the most meaningful ratios
are found in those counties that are neither
in the top nor the bottom 10% for population
density. On the accompanying chart, the
lowest 10 ratios of hunters and trappers to
pedophiles are highlighted in bold italics;
the next 10 in bold; and ratios that are
among the 10 lowest but are in counties
where the number of hunters or trappers per
100,000 is below the state average are in
The New York state statistics
ANIMAL PEOPLE i n i t i a t e d
comparative study of the New York state
hunting, trapping, and crime statistics in
November 1993, days after two carloads of
hunters, traveling together, shouted sexual
threats at the editor and his three-year-old
son, in an incident described more fully on
the December editorial page. Familiar with
the Felthous and Kellert studies, as well as
with those that preceded them, and aware
of a seemingly extraordinary number of sex-
ual assaults upon children reported in the
Glens Falls Post-Star, the leading newspa-
per in the region, ANIMAL PEOPLE
wondered if an overlap in the dominionism
of hunters and the dominionism of
pedophiles might show up in hunting and
crime records.
The study was begun with the
recognition that any significant correlation
found between hunting and pedophilia
would have to stand up independently from
both the known correlation of hunter density
with low population density and the relation-
ship between low population density and
high incidence of incest, a primary form of
pedophilia, suspected by many other
researchers. Throughout the U.S., rates of
participation in hunting and trapping––but
not fishing––tend to rise as population den-
sity decreases. (Fishing participation varies
mainly relative to the proximity of water.)
Pedophilia is poorly documented
due to societal taboos that have inhibited
reporting, but anecdotal evidence has long
suggested that rates of incest are highest in
rural areas, which tend to offer a limited
choice of sexual partners. Folklorists have
documented such sayings as, “A virgin in
these hills is a girl whose daddy ran off” in
most of the more remote regions of the U.S.,
including upstate New York.
Merely to find parallel patterns rel-
ative to population density would not indi-
cate an attitudinal link between the inclina-
tion to hunt and the impulse to molest a
child. Nor would finding a parallel between
incidence of hunting and pedophlia that
doesn’t exist relative to other crimes neces-
sarily be indicative, since it is well under-
stood that crime in general decreases with
population density. Obviously most proper-
ty-related crimes require ready access to
unfamiliar victims, e.g. people to rob at
gunpoint, cars to steal, and homes to bur-
glarize. Murder rates also decrease with
population density; although from half to a
third of all murder victims are acquainted
with their killers, high murder rates have
always been closely linked to high general
crime levels.
On the other hand, finding a par-
ticularly strong statitistical association
between incidence of hunting and pedophi-
lia could indicate that the leading reason
why incest appears most common in rural
areas is not the purportedly limited choice
of sexual partners, as has been supposed,
but rather the prevalence of the dominionis-
tic attitude manifested to some degree in
raising animals for slaughter and to an even
greater degree in hunting and trapping.
Peggy Sauer of the New York
State Department of Environmental
Conservation and Marjorie Cohen of the
State of New York Department of Criminal
Justice Services graciously provided A N I-
MAL PEOPLE with printouts of the coun-
ty-by-county hunting, fishing, and trapping
license sales and crime figures from 1992.
To find whatever patterns might exist,
ANIMAL PEOPLE converted the raw
numbers into numbers of licenses or crimes
per 100,000 residents, carrying the numbers
to tenths for crimes of relatively low fre-
quency, and excluding the statistics for
crimes so rare that they were not reported in
at least 50 of the 62 counties of New York.
Also excluded were nonresident hunting,
fishing, and trapping permit sales, and
juvenile permit sales––the latter because
juveniles by definition could not commit
pedophilia, although they might commit
other sex-related crimes.
As expected, hunting and trapping
license sales were strongest per capita in the
least densely populated counties, declining
steadily as population density increased.
There were no significant variations in the
pattern relative to type of permit, e.g. small
game vs. big game. Fishing license sales
followed a more complex pattern involving
both population density and proximity to
water. Crimes such as murder, robbery,
larceny, and theft predictably increased or
decreased relative to population density.
Crimes less linked to urban conditions,
such as forgery and criminal mischief,
tended to follow a more random pattern,
probably most related to regional economic
status (which was not a part of the study).
Hunting and pedophilia
The association between hunting
and pedophilia fairly jumped off the chart:
Of the 50 counties with rates of
child sexual assault greater than the state
average of 10.1 per 100,000, 47 also had
above average hunting participation when
the five boroughs of New York City were
excluded from the average, and all 50
had more than average hunting participa-
tion with New York City averaged in.
Only three of the 53 counties
with above average hunting participation
did not have greater rates of child sexual
assault as well.
Because of the statistical influence
of New York City, whose rate of hunting
participation is barely 10% of the overall
state rate, and whose child sexual assault
rate of 5.6 per 100,000 is just over half the
state rate, median figures may be more
indicative than averages. The median rate of
child sexual assault is 20.3: 31 counties are
above that rate and 31 below:
Only four of the 32 counties
with the highest rates of child sexual
assault are below the median hunting den-
sity of 14,382 per 100,000––including only
one of the 21 counties with the highest
rates of child sexual assault.
Conversely, just six of the 32
counties with more than the median hunt-
ing density are below the median for child
sexual assault.
Of the 41 counties with less
than the state average population density,
the median ratio of hunters to pedophiles
fell at 687/1. Of the 21 counties at or
below the median ratio, 16 had more
than the median rate of child sexual
assault. Six of the 16 counties were also
below the state average ratio of 528
hunters to one pedophile; five of the six
were among the 20 counties, statewide,
with the most child sexual assault, and
the sixth came in 22nd.
Comparisons of hunting participa-
tion and rates of child sexual assault among
counties of nearly identical population den-
sity may be more meaningful still. Seven
such comparisons are possible, involving 22
counties (more than a third of the counties in
New York):
At the lowest end of the popula-
tion density scale, Essex and Lewis coun-
ties each have 21 residents per square
mile. Lewis County has 10% more
hunters; 27% more child sexual assault;
and a 19% lower ratio of hunters to
Schuyler, Chenango, and
Otsego counties have from 57 to 60 resi-
dents per square mile. They average
20,062 hunters per 100,000, 33.3 child
sexual assaults, and 827 hunters per
pedophile. Schuyler has 7% more hunters
than the average, 73% more child sexual
assault, and a 55% lower ratio of hunters
to pedophiles. Otsego has 8% fewer
hunters than the average, 60% less child
sexual assault, and a 70% higher ratio of
hunters to pedophiles. Chenango is close
to the average in both hunter numbers
and child sexual assaults, with 698
hunters per pedophile.
Warren, Yates, Greene,
Steuben, Sullivan, Washington and
Wyoming counties have from 68 to 72 res-
idents per square mile. Warren, Greene,
and Wyoming, the three counties with the
fewest hunters, average 15,746 hunters
per 100,000 residents, and 25.6 child sex-
ual assaults. Yates, Steuben, and
Sullivan average 21,535 hunters per
100,000, with 25.9 child sexual assaults.
Washington falls in the middle for hunt-
ing density, with 17,547 hunters per
100,000, and is third in the state in fre-
quency of child sexual assault at 46.7 per
100,000. All seven counties in this com-
parison have more than the statewide
median hunting density; only Wyoming is
below the statewide median in child sexual
assault. The ratios of hunters per
pedophile in these seven counties neatly
predicts their order of frequency of child
sexual assault: Washington first, then
Warren, Sullivan, Yates, Greene,
Steuben, and Wyoming.
Cortland, Columbia, and
Livingston counties have from 98 to 99
residents per square mile. They average
18,064 hunters per 100,000, and 17.7
child sexual assaults. Cortland has 18%
more than the average number of hunters
and 38% more than the average number
of child sexual assaults. Columbia has
19% fewer hunters than the average, and
37% fewer child sexual assaults.
Livingston is close to the average in both
categories. Once again the ratios of
hunters per pedophile predict the order
of frequency of child sexual assault.
Seneca and Madison counties
have 104 to 105 residents per square mile.
Madison has 7% fewer hunters, 2% less
child sexual assault, and an 8% lower
ratio of hunters to pedophiles.
Oswego and Montgomery
counties have 128 residents per square
mile. Oswego has 39% more hunters,
27% more child sexual assault, but has a
higher ratio of hunters to pedophiles.
When trapping and hunting figures are
combined, however, the ratios are close
to the same.
Ulster, Ontario, and Wayne
counties each have from 147 to 148 resi-
dents per square mile. They average
13,264 hunters per 100,000, and 19.9
child sexual assaults. Wayne has 15%
more hunters and 24% more child sexual
assault. Ulster has 16% fewer hunters
and 18% fewer child sexual assaults.
Ontario has approximately the average
number of hunters, roughly 1,000 below
the state median, with 16% fewer child
sexual assaults. Yet again, the ratio of
hunters to pedophiles predicts the order
of frequency of child sexual assault.
In six of the seven comparisons,
the counties with the most hunters have sig-
nificantly more child sexual assaults. In the
odd comparison, that of Warren, Yates,
Greene, Steuben, Sullivan, Washington,
and Wyoming counties, six of the seven
have have both very high rates of hunting
density and very high rates of child sexual
assault––and the ratio of hunters to
pedophiles stratifies precisely parallel to the
order of frequency of child sexual assault.
Trapping and pedophilia
Similar associations emerge
involving trappers. The statewide median
number of trappers per 100,000 is 122.
Only two of the 33 counties which are at or
above the median for trapping participation
are below the median for frequency of child
sexual assault. Again comparing same-size
Lewis has 34% more trappers
than Essex, and 27% more child sexual
Schuyler, Chenango, and
Otsego average 254 trappers per 100,000.
Schuyler has 36% fewer trappers and
75% more child sexual assault, the first
deviation from the trend that more
hunters and/or trappers correponds with
more child sexual assault. But Schuyler
also has the most hunters of any of these
three counties, and the most hunters and
trappers when both categories are com-
bined. Thus the pattern holds despite the
Warren, Yates, Sullivan,
Washington, and Wyoming counties all
have from 200 to 230 trappers per 10,000,
with an average of 219. Greene and
Steuben counties have 122 and 121 trap-
pers, respectively. Warren, Yates,
Sullivan, Washington, and Wyoming
average 31.6 sexual assaults per 100,000,
46% more than Greene and Steuben.
Among the five counties highest in trap-
ping density among this group, only
Wyoming has less child sexual assault
than the average of the other two. (Yates
is right on the average.)
Cortland, Columbia, and
Livingston counties also average 219 trap-
pers per 100,000. Cortland has 27%
more trappers and 38% more child sexu-
al assault. Columbia has 20% fewer trap-
pers and 37% fewer child sexual assaults.
Livingston has 16% fewer trappers, and
is average among the three in child sexual
Madison, another deviation
from the trend, has 38% more trappers
than Seneca, with 2% less child sexual
assault––but the combined total of hunt-
ers and trappers in each county is nearly
identical, negating the comparison.
Oswego has 116% more trap-
pers than Montgomery, and 27% more
child sexual assault.
Ulster, Ontario, and Wayne
counties average 117 trappers apiece.
Wayne, with 26% more trappers, has
24% more child sexual assault. Ulster
has 16% less trappers and 18% less child
sexual assault. Ontario has 8% less trap-
pers and 16% less child sexual assault.
Other related crimes
If there is indeed a more than coin-
cidental association among hunting, trap-
ping, and pedophilia, growing out of
dominionistic attitudes, one would expect to
find parallels in the incidence of other
crimes involving direct assertions of domi-
nance: rape, sex crimes other than rape and
prostitution, and the five categories of fami-
ly violence (wife-abuse, husband-abuse,
child-abuse, parent-abuse, and abuse by
other family members). Aggravated assault
might also fall into this category.
Such parallels appear, despite the
certainty of significant under-reporting in
most of these crime classifications. For
instance, New York state records indicate
that husbands are beaten from two to three
times as often as children, and that children
beat parents more often than they them-
selves are beaten. Both statistics fly in the
face of the observations and experience of
police officers, medical personnel, and
caseworkers: they stand as they do because
adults who are beaten, especially adult
males, are far more able and likely to call
the police than children, and far more likely
to press criminal charges.
It is probable that sexual abuse and
family violence is even less often reported
in rural areas than in cities, because of the
lesser likelihood that the crime will be wit-
nessed by third parties, the decreased
opportunities for intervention by neighbors
or bystanders, and the greater distance
between victims and sources of help.
All of this notwithstanding:
Only one county ranking in the
top 20 for incidence of sex crimes other
than rape and prostitution is not above
the median hunting density; all 20 are
above the state average hunting density.
Of the 20 counties with the
highest hunting density, 14 are also
among the 20 with the highest incidence
of “other” sex crime; 17 are above the
median rate of 123 “other” sex crimes per
100,000 residents; 19 are above the
statewide average of 87 “other” sex
crimes per 100,000 with New York City
excluded; and all 20 are above the New
York City average of 73 “other” sex
crimes per 100,000.
Ten of the 20 counties with the
highest hunting density are above the
statewide average for incidence of rape.
This in itself would not be significant,
except that nine of the 10 counties that
are below the statewide incidence of rape
are also among the 11 least populous.
The lower the population of a community,
the less opportunity there is for a rapist
to attack a stranger, while acquaintance
rapes are the least likely to be reported.
Finally, the total number of rapes report-
ed in several of these sparsely populated
counties would only have to increase by a
handful to boost their rates up to or
above the statewide median.
Eleven of the 20 counties with
the highest hunting density are above the
median of 144.5 reported wife-beatings
per 100,000 residents, while two more
are right on the median. Three of the
remaining counties have population den-
sities of 57 or fewer residents per square
mile. The low population coincides with a
lack of protective facilities for battered
women, and the low rate of reported
wife-beating may therefore primarily
reflect under-reporting.
To achieve even more meaningful
comparisons, one might again compare
rural counties with each other, defining
“rural” as those counties with less than the
state average population density, exclusive
of the five boroughs of New York City.
(Suburban counties would be those with
more than the population density of the rural
counties but less than the state average with
New York City included, and urban coun-
ties would include all the remainder.)
Of the 10 rural counties rank-
ing among the 20 with the highest inci-
dence of rape, all 10 are above the state
average hunting density, excluding New
York City; eight are above the median
hunting density (which is nearly three
times the average).
Nine of the 11 rural counties
that rank among the 20 with the most
family violence are also above the median
in hunting density.
Six of the 12 rural counties
among the 20 with the most reported
child-abuse are also among the 20 coun-
ties with the highest hunting density––
and 11 of the 12 are above the median
hunting density.
All 10 of the rural counties that
rank among the 20 with the most report-
ed wife-abuse are above the median in
hunting density.
All 11 of the rural counties that
rank among the 20 with the most report-
ed husband-abuse are above the median
in hunting density. Conversely, 11 of the
20 counties with the highest hunting den-
sity are above the median in husband-
abuse. Husband-abuse is generally
believed to reflect a climate of family vio-
lence that begins with a dominionistic
male family head (who may be a father or
grandfather of the assailant, rather than
the reported victim, who has taught by
example the recourse to violence during
an argument). It is also noteworthy that
many and perhaps most husband-abuse
cases are crossfiled counter to wife-abuse
charges, usually after police are sum-
moned to break up a domestic free-for-all
in which both parties deliver blows with
no clear sign as to who started it.
Eight of the 11 rural counties
that rank among the 20 with the most
aggravated assault are also among the 20
with the highest hunting density.
Of the 14 rural counties with
more aggravated assaults than the
statewide average excluding New York
City, 12 have more than the median
hunting density.
(SEE PDF for figures)
Similar associations exist relative
to trapping and “other” sex crime. Thirteen
of the 20 counties with the most trappers per
capita are also among the 20 with the most
“other” sex crime; 19 of the 20 are above
the median for “other” sex crimes. No asso-
ciations between trapping, rape, and family
violence are evident, but this may reflect
the distinctive age pattern of trappers, as
opposed to that of hunters. Seven different
studies published in the past 15 years have
indicated that 50-60% of all trappers are
under age 20: younger than the typical con-
victed rapist and relatively unlikely to head
a household. The next largest age group
among trappers is 50+: older than the typi-
cal convicted rapist, and likely to have
more grown children than children at home.
The ANIMAL PEOPLE a n a l y s i s
of New York state hunting, trapping, and
crime statistics does not “prove” that all
hunters and trappers, most hunters and trap-
pers, or even a noteworthy number of
hunters and trappers are sex perverts, active
or latent. It does, however, suggest the
possibility that hunting and trapping may
attract many of the same individuals who
are inclined toward pedophilia and other
dominionistic crime. The numbers in eight
categories of incidence of dominionistic
crime overlap with hunting participation to a
degree that cannot be explained away as
chance, or as a product of confluence
chiefly related to population density, like
the confluence of tractor ownership with
hunting participation. If there is confluence
or coincidence involved, it is involved with
every category of crime but one that might
be associated with dominionism––arson
––and while arson is associated with serial
killing, it is also closely and far more fre-
quently associated with deteriorating inner
city neighborhoods.
The ANIMAL PEOPLE f i n d i n g s
are thus far unique, in the absence of simi-
lar analytical studies, but two previous
examinations of hunting relative to crime
are worth mentioning. The first, Hunting
and Crimes of Violence: An Exploratory
Analysis of Correlation was presented to the
1985 annual meeting of the Academy of
Criminal Justice Sciences by Chris
Eskridge, Ph.D., of the University of
Nebraska at Lincoln. Eskridge examined
hunting license sales per 100,000 residents
of all 50 states relative to reported rates of
murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault,
and overall violent crime rates. Eskridge
found that the rates of each crime decreased
with population density, as hunting partici-
pation rose, and concluded that hunting
might “have some type of a cathartic impact
upon those who hunt,” which might prevent
crime. Looking at whole states rather than
counties or townships, Eskridge failed to
separate urban and rural crime tendencies
before looking for associations with hunting.
Further, Eskridge did not distinguish among
types of violence that might have greater or
lesser relationships to hunting; overlooked
family violence completely; and relied upon
rape statistics which are now known to have
been hugely under-reported even relative to
the statistics of today, which are also gener-
ally believed to be under-reported. In short,
Eskridge failed to look at enough of the
important variables.
Two years later, in 1987,
University of New Hampshire Family
Research Center director Murray Straus
compared teen homicide rates with numer-
ous factors including hunting and participa-
tion in football in Why Are American Youth
So Violent?, a paper presented to the Youth
2000: Imperatives for Action conference at
the New York Academy of Medicine.
“Essentially,” Straus summarized, “we
found that the more legitimate (legal) vio-
lence, the more criminal violence, includ-
ing rape and murder.” The Straus study,
however, did not examine sex-related
crimes other than rape, nor did it go beyond
comparing broad regional populations.
Further analysis of the apparent
relationship between incidence of hunting
and trapping and dominionistic crime may
be undertaken in either of two ways. Firm
confirmation of such a relationship could be
done by identifying the percentages of con-
victed pedophiles who have held valid hunt-
ing and/or trapping licenses within one year,
two years, three years, and four to 10 years
of their arrest (making allowance for time
spent in incarceration, if any, between
offenses). This study could only be done
through official cooperation between the
New York State Justice Department and the
New York Department of Environmental
Conservation, since the identities of hunting
and trapping license holders are not released
to outside researchers.
The findings of the A N I M A L
P E O P L E analysis could also be checked
against the crime, hunting, and trapping
statistics of each of the other 49 states, by
anyone willing to send away for the records,
which are in the public domain, and able do
the necessary math. It is likely that there
will be some regional variance in the rela-
tionship between hunting participation and
the incidence of dominionistic crime.
At the same time, New York may
be as representative for the purposes of such
analysis as any one state could be. While
the U.S. Bureau of the Census considers that
91% of New York residents live in metro-
politan areas, compared with 77.5% nation-
wide, only nine states have greater rural
populations. The New York ethnic balance
(74% Caucasian, 16% Afro-American,
8.5% Hispanic) is close to the overall U.S.
balance (80% Caucasian, 12% Afro-
American, 9% Hispanic). Per capita
income is slightly higher than for the U.S. as
a whole, but is identical to the figures for
the New England and Middle Atlantic
regions. Although more New Yorkers
(26%) complete college than the U.S. norm
(22%), the number who complete high
school (77%) is the same as the U.S. aver-
age. In short, it is not likely that a trend
seen in New York, which includes 7% of
the total U.S. population, will not be seen in
the U.S. as a whole.
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