Killing for the hell of it

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:

A federal anti-hunter harassment statute
tucked into the Crime Bill is likely to stay there––and
pass––as the Clinton administration strives to get
around National Rifle Association opposition to the
Crime Bill as a whole, which would ban 19 types of
assault rifle. The NRA on August 10 claimed credit
for temporarily defeating the Crime Bill on a proce-
dural vote in the House of Representatives.
The Senate version of the California
Desert Protection Act, passed in April, would cre-
ate an East Mojave National Park between the Joshua
Tree and Death Valley National Monuments, which
are to be upgraded to National Park status––meaning
a ban on hunting. However, in a move of symbolic
import to the NRA, the House version passed on July
27 downgrades East Mojave to the status of a
National Preserve, to allow hunting. National Park
Service director Roger Kennedy pointed out that
because preserves require more staff than parks, the
House version will cost $500,000 more per year to
run. Since hunters kill an average of only 26 deer and
five bighorn sheep per year in East Mojave, Kennedy
said, this amounts to “a subsidy of $20,000 per deer.”
A House/Senate conference committee must reconcile
the conflicting versions before the bill goes back to
both the Senate and House for final passage.

The NRA is fighting a California bill that
would give judges the power to confiscate firearms
kept by the recipients of restraining orders against
domestic violence for the duration of such orders.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports
that 15.6 million hunters bought licenses in 1993,
down 100,000 from 1994. The 20-year pattern of a
annual drops would be steeper, but every year more
states require permits for activities or age groups that
formerly were not licensed. This year Colorado is
selling a one-dollar license to children aged 12 to 15,
which allows them to kill half the small game quota
of an adult. There is, however, no quota on so-
called varmint species.
According to an anonymous Russian
wildlife expert whose expose appears in the current
edition of the Animal Welfare Institute’s AWI
Quarterly, hunters and poachers on the Kamchatka
peninsula have killed half the former resident bear
population of 10,000 since 1990––and are annually
killing three times as many bears as are reported.
Alaska governor Walter Hickel
announced August 16 that he will not seek re-election
in November. Hickel, elected to his present term as
a member of the Alaska Independence Party, is likely
to be succeeded by a Republican. It is unclear if this
will modify Hickel’s policy of killing wolves to make
caribou and moose more plentiful for hunters. Plans
to kill another 150 wolves in the area southwest of
Fairbanks where 150 were trapped and shot last year
remain in effect. Four Alaska legislators on July 12
requested an audit of wolf control costs, officially
$135,000 in 1993-1994 but actually closer to
$227,000 by the legislators’ reckoning, which
includes funds diverted from other budgets.
Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin of the Court
of Common Pleas in Schuykill County,
Pennsylvania, on August 16 threw out yet another of
numerous attempts over the years to stop the annual
Labor Day pigeon shoot at Hegins, Pennsylvania.
Plaintiffs included Keith Mohler of Farm Sanctuary,
Kathy Hecker of Animal Friends, and Clayton
Hulsinger of the Pennsylvania SPCA. Hecker
pledged an appeal. The Fund and PETA are organiz-
ing a pigeon rescue effort at this year’s shoot, “with
no accompanying protest or demonstration.”
Zimbabwean vice president Joshua
Nkomo, 77, is allegedly pressuring wildlife authori-
ties to give special VIP hunting permits to an Austrian
safari promoter, Otto Schreier, in an apparent kick-
back scheme––the most brazen yet of several reported
instances of corruption in the Zimbabwean wildlife
service, which was a few years ago considered
Africa’s best. Trophy hunters attracted by Schreier
are said to be killing far more than the legal quotas of
lions, elephants, and sable antelope.
Nearly 40 avid “sportsmen” joined the
second annual Yellow Rose Saloon back alley rat-
fishing contest in East Baltimore on June 26. The
object was to impale rats on baited hooks.
The Ohio Department of Transportation
claims, based on a survey taken at travel information
centers on interstate highways, that hunting and fish-
ing are the state’s biggest tourism draw, attracting
24% of visitors––which would be 242,000 visitors
just to the information centers. However, Ohio sold
only 148,000 out-of-state hunting and fishing licens-
es; the Cincinnati Reds alone draw 500,000 out-of-
state fans per baseball season; and the Ohio Division
of Tourism believes the state’s Amish colonies are by
far the actual top draw.
Hunter Richard Hanger, of Camarillo,
California, may be billed for up to $720,000 in fire-
fighting costs for flipping the cigarette that started an
early August blaze in Los Padres National Forest
which burned 3,000 acres.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service h a s
proposed a limited hunting season on cackling
Canada geese, native to western Alaska and protected
since 1984, while reducing the bag limit on canvas-
backs in Alaska from two to one. Special seasons on
Canada geese are proposed for many states in which
residents have complained about growing nonmigra-
tory goose populations––descended from giant birds
of restricted flight ability who were formerly bred as
live decoys.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources is budgeting $150,000 to set up a program
to teach children how to hunt.
Early human victims of the 1994 hunting
season included Darren Hasinski, 14, of Medina,
Ohio, killed June 24 by his brother Kevin, 13, as
they played with a loaded .22 used to kill rabbits;
and Dawn Parrotta, 17, of Bolton Landing, New
York, wounded in the abdomen on July 3 when her
brother Duane, 15, accidently fired a hunting rifle.
The New York Department of
Environmental Conservation has announced it will
do a study to find out if the Fund for Animals is right
in charging that opening squrrrel season on September
1 dooms infant squirrels, whose mothers are killed,
to starvation. The Fund has asked that the opening
date be pushed back to November 1. According to the
Fund, New York hunters kill 600,000 squirrrels a
year. The national total is circa 30 million.
Evans Inc., annually accounting for
about 10% of U.S. retail fur sales, reported a first
quarter loss of $942,000, or 19 cents a share, down
from a profit of $1,070,000 or 21 cents a share in
1993. Same-store sales in Chicago, the chain’s home
base, dropped 5.3%.
HR 3526, the current federal bill to ban
steel-jawed leghold traps, has attracted 84 cosponsors. 
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