Hunting & trapping

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1995:

Results of a major public
opinion survey commissioned by
the Colorado Division of Wildlife
“indicate that a substantial major-
ity of Coloradans would vote to
ban wildlife trapping,” human
dimensions coordinator Linda
Sikorowski advised the brass on
July 13. “A substantial proportion
of Colorado residents are positively
oriented toward wildlife rights and
wildlife welfare values,” she contin-
ued. “Trapping solely for the pur-
pose of recreation or for economic
gain is not adequate justification for
trapping to the Colorado public.”
The survey found that trapping
could best be sold as a means of
rabies prevention and wildlife popu-
lation control––but this might not be
for long, as the advent of oral rabies
vaccination of wildlife reinforces the
22-year-old position of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
that trapping is neither effective
against rabies nor in lastingly
depressing wildlife populations.

“Support for a trapping ban does not
indicate support for a ban on hunt-
ing,” Sikorowski added. “Almost
six in 10 of those who would ban
trapping feel that a ban on hunting
would be bad.” But that means 36%
of Coloradans do favor an outright
ban on hunting––quite a high per-
centage compared to similar studies
of a decade ago.
License fees from pheas-
ant hunters haven’t met the cost of
the Pennsylvania pheasant stocking
program since 1985, the state game
commission reported in July, peti-
tioning to double the price of hunt-
ing licenses.

A $250,000 study of
bowhunting wounding rates under-
taken by the Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources and West
Virginia University found that an
average of 1,823 archers per hunt
studied hit deer 237 times––roughly
once per nine archers––and took
home 173 deer per hunt, about one
per 10 archers. The average maxi-
mum wounding loss rate was 13%,
but about 45% of the deer wounded
were later killed by other hunters.
This would make the wounding loss
rate in bowhunting about double the
loss rate found in studies of rifle
hunting, but far less than the 50%
loss rate found in studies of
bowhunters in Texas and Illinois.
The number of licenced
hunters in the U.S. dropped from
15.6 million in 1993 to 15.3 million
last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service reported on August 3, but
the number of anglers grew from
30.18 million to 30.24 million.

Hawaii on June 21
became the 50th state to adopt a
hunter harassment law. H u n t i n g
isn’t big in Hawaii, but taxidermist
Bobby Caires, 42, of Haleakala,
made page one of the Wall Street
J o u r n a l on July 25 for his $500-a-
day pig-stabbing hunts. First Caires’
dogs find and corner a feral pig;
then the client knifes the animal.
Caires leads about 50 such hunts a
year. Calling feral pigs “the single
greatest threat to the Hawaiian rain-
forest,” the Nature Conservancy
encourages pig-stabbing, as well as
pig-snaring, which Caires considers
“too cruel to the animal.”
A bill to ban fox hunting
in Britain failed on second reading
in the House of Commons on July
14, but was passed to the House of
Lords after the sponsor, opposition
Labour Party member John McFall,
accepted an amendment under which
it will become an offense to “cruelly
kick, beat, impale, burn, crush, or
drown any wild mammal.”
A bill to ban captive bird
shoots in Pennsylvania was report-
ed out of the state house rules com-
mittee on June 29, just before the
summer recess, but didn’t reach the
floor for a vote when speaker Tom
Ryan pretended it wasn’t on the
schedule. Representative Thaddeus
Kirkland showed that it was, but the
house then voted 121-75 against let-
ting it come to a vote. To avoid
inflaming the hunting lobby, bill
proponents prevailed upon Steve
Hindi of the Chicago Animal Rights
Coalition to delay releasing video of
a turkey shoot held June 11 at the
Lone Pine Gun Club in Middleport.
“Ninety domestic turkeys, live and
fully conscious, were killed,” Hindi
said. “The victims were held captive
by a large wooden stock through
which their legs were placed. They
were then roughly thrown on top of
tires. There were four targets in a
line at 75 yards, and four at 100
yards. Incompetent and/or drunken
contestants were allowed to use vir-
tually any type of gun they wished,
from handguns to assault rifles to
weapons that could bring down an
elephant. Hours of videotape show
victims being showered by dirt and
debris before being hit. The wound-
ed often waited long periods” before
suffering a fatal injury, although
some were beheaded in front of the
rest. “Occasionally a headless bird
would be seen ‘running’ around the
shoot area and the other turkeys.”
Five of eight permits to
shoot bears at the McNeil River
Game Sanctuary in Alaska, issued
by lottery, went to anti-hunting
activists on July 12, while another
went to a hunter who said he proba-
bly wouldn’t use it. Anti-hunters
packed the lottery at the urging of
Friends of McNeil River.
The Fund for Animals on
July 19 filed suit in Burlington,
Vermont, alleging that federal fund-
ing of the state Moose Investigations
Project, which supports the Vermont
moose hunt, violates the National
Environmental Policy Act because
no environmental review of the hunt
has been done. On July 21, the
Fund filed a similar suit in
Washington D.C. against the bear-
baiting policy recently adopted by
the U.S. Forest Service, which
allows baiting in National Forests if
baiting is legal in those states.
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