Wildlife thrill-killing

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1997:

Roberta “Robin” Ferrabee,
35, of Ohioville, Pennsylvania,
near Pittsburgh, stood up in
her living room on December 9 to
turn on the television––and was shot
through the neck with a deer slug,
falling dead in a gush of blood at the
feet of daughter Cassie, age 3.
Officials say they will charge the
hunter who killed her, but at deadline
had not yet said whether it
would be for homicide, carrying
felony penalties, or just violations
of hunting law. The hunter, not
named, was among a three-member
party who were on the land of the
victim’s brother-in-law without permission;
had been drinking; and
fired twice toward the victim’s
house, from inside the 150-yard no
hunting zone around houses stipulated
by Pennsyvlania law since 1937.

The other shot wounded but did not
drop a deer. “The last time anyone
other than a hunter was killed by a
stray hunting bullet locally was on
December 15, 1980, when an 18-
day-old Armstrong County boy died
in the crib of his parents’ home,”
reported Johnna A. Pro of the
Pittsburgh P o s t – G a z e t t e. “A hunter
came forward after the child’s death,
but he was not charged because it
could not be determined whether his
rifle fired the fatal shot.”
Among other recent
hunting accidents injuring nonhunters,
Lawrence Tufts, 40, of
Brookfield, New Hampshire––
wearing a red jacket––was shot in
the buttocks on November 23 while
walking near his home with his 11-
year-old son and their dog, and a
couple not named by police were hit
with buckshot on December 15 in
Manchester, New Jersey, while trying
to push their vehicle out of mud.
The woman was shot in the eye; the
man in the foot and ankle.
John Sadogierski, 41, of
Wausau, Wisconsin, on December
11 drew 13 months in jail, a fine of
$10,000, and lost hunting and fishing
privileges for six years after
pleading guilty to 15 of the 25 hunting
law violations he was originally
charged with, plus a count of providing
a dangerous weapon to a
child. Sadogierski allegedly encouraged
his eight-year-old son to shoot
an endangered sandhill crane from a
car window, posed for a photo with
the carcass in front of a wildlife
refuge sign, then told game warden
Don Mezei that when eaten, the
crane tasted like a bald eagle.
Wisconsin unemployment
claims annually double in
the first week of deer season, state
unemployment insurance administrator
Bruce Hagen said on November
26. “That’s not just typical of
Wisconsin,” he added. “It happens
pretty much through the hunting seasons
respective states have.”
Cindy Mosling, director
of the Bird Emergency Aid &
Kare Sanctuary (BEAKS) near
Jacksonville, Florida, wasn’t looking
forward to Christmas, she told
media, because too many people get
guns as gifts and use them on birds.
“Every Christmas we get 20-30 birds
with BB gun wounds, or wounds
from other firearms,” she said.
The Washington state
Department of Fish and Wildlife
on November 30 closed the
Coupeville Game Farm, one of two
it kept to breed non-native pheasants
for put-and-take hunting, in which
cage-reared birds are released a day
or so before the hunting season
opens, to provide the illusion that
finding and killing them takes some
skill. The Coupeville site produced
about 25,000 pheasants per year.
Altogether, Washington released
about 50,000 pheasants in 1996, for
under 6,000 hunters, less than half
as many as a decade ago.
Taking a cue from antihunting
activist Steve Hindi,
whose flying machines and videotapes
bedevil hunters across the midwest,
British fox hunting defender
David Hart and a photographer used
a helicopter on December 10 to
gather evidence against hunt saboteurs
at an event of the Suffolk Hunt
on Hart’s own estate near Bury St.
Edmonds. Aircraft may not save fox
hunting, however, as Labour Party
animal welfare spokesperson Elliot
Morley pledged on Halloween to
suspend all hunting on Crown land
pending a public review. The suspension
would by itself put about
100 of the estimated 300 British
hunts out of business. “If in the
meantime the Commons votes to
abolish hunting with hounds, that
would be the end of it,” Morley
said. International Fund for Animal
Welfare president Brian Davies on
September 1, 1996 donated the
equivalent of $2.5 million to Labour
in hopes of turning anti-hunting sentiments
into firm political resolve.
Apparently rattled by
the November loss via referendum
of a guaranteed majority of hunters,
fishers, and trappers on the
Massachusetts Fisheries and
Wildlife Board, fish and game commissioner
John Hansel on December
18 asked fellow members of the
state fish and game commission to
change the word “kill” to “harvest”
in all departmental literature.
Fellow commissioner Richard
Moquin reportedly warned that the
“word game” could prove embarrassing,
if the public heard about it.
The 1996 Hunting Frequency
& Attitude Survey c o nducted
for the National Shooting
Sports Foundation reported that
hunters in the 18-to-24 age bracket
made up just 8% of the hunting population
in 1995, down from 17% in
1986––and hunters in the 25-to-34
bracket, 31% then, are at just 17%
now, indicating that although the
remaining hard core of hunters
won’t give it up easily, there is
effectively no net recruitment.
At least 500 of the 2,700
residents of Pine Plains, New York,
have reportedly signed petitions carried
by Constance Young and Sue
Berkman of For The Animals,
opposing the presence of the twoyear-old
Indian Mountain Lodge,
site of a “tower hunt,” in which
pigeons are tossed down to gunners
who pay $600 a year to join the club
plus $250 per morning of killing.
Manuel Antonio National
Park, Costa Rica, a longtime popular
ecotourist destination, “has a
212-square-mile maritime component,”
Larry Rohter reported in the
December 19 edition of T he N e w
York Times, “which has been so
successful in attracting marine life
that the area just outside the park’s
boundaries has become a favorite
place for sport fishers, who have in
turn drawn gambling and prostitution.
“Backpackers aren’t the kind
of people who spend much money,”
a casino operator told Rohter. “We
much prefer the fishers, and we
hope than more will be coming.”
Succeeding the Yukon
Party in governing the Yukon,
Canada, the New Democratic Party
fulfilled a campaign promise in fall
1996 by suspending a wolf purge
underway in the Aishihik region
since January 1993, but may resume
it depending on the outcome of a
project review now underway. The
New Democrats also postponed a
scheduled experimental sterilization
of the dominant male and female in
each of three wolf packs to see if
this can keep the wolf population of
the region permanently low. The
wolf purge was undertaken for the
express purpose of making more
caribou and moose available to
human hunters––both trophy
hunters, who account for most
Yukon tourism, and ChampagneAishihik
First Nations meat hunters,
a significant Yukon voting block
who object to lupine competition.
Wisconsin wardens a r e
seeking a deer hunter who killed a
radio-collared two-year-old wolf in
Washburn County circa December 5.

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