What they’ll do for a buck

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1998:

“And he went down just like that!”
boasted Cathy Keating, wife of Oklahoma
governor Frank Keating, exciting an audience
of male hunters and hunting writers on
November 24.
“I closed my eyes.”
Her victim was a buck reportedly
shot from 950 feet away––a distance so great
that many experts would consider it reckless
and random shooting.
But Keating, also an enthusiastic
participant in so-called rattlesnake round-ups,
was escorted by Oklahoma game warden Ron
Comer and two state troopers.

Most of the cheap thrills political
figures gave to the blood sports set this year
came before the November 3 election.
U.S. Senate majority leader Trent
Lott (R-Mississippi), for instance, lengthened
the Mississippi duck hunting season by
11 days, via a rider to an omnibus federal
spending bill.
Then President Bill Clinton
upstaged him, on October 30 signing an
amendment to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
which requires wardens to establish that
hunters know or should know that they are
hunting over a baited field, before they can be
The amendment makes enforcing
the prohibition on hunting over baited fields
virtually impossible, unless wardens actually
catch hunters in the act of baiting or find the
bait right at their feet.
It was passed by Congress, with
strong bipartisan support, in part due to
activism by some of the participants in a 1995
benefit hunt sponsored by former Florida state
senator Charles Williams, 88 of whom were
charged with illegal hunting, 87 of whom
paid fines.
U.S. Representative Allen Boyd (DFlorida)
and his sister-in-law, state representative
Janegale Boyd, celebrated on
November 15 by hosting a dove shoot to benefit
the Florida Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
A Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility survey of more
than half of the 235 U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service special agents who enforce the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other federal
wildlife laws recently discovered that 73%
believe the amendment was accepted without
official USFWS opposition in order to
“appease special interest groups”––and more
than half of the respondents said their superiors
had interfered in their investigations to
protect prominent persons or organizations
from prosecution.

Bucked trend
Governors James Hunt of North
Carolina and Benjamin Cayetano of Hawaii
bucked the trend by annoying hunters. Hunt
on October 30 signed an amendment to the
North Carolina anti-cruelty law which extends
the definition of protected species to include
birds, such as pigeons, who are not covered
by the definition of “wild birds” used by the
state Wildlife Resources Commission in regulating
To take effect on January 1, the
amendment “will prohibit live pigeon shoots,”
explained Fund for Animals national director
Heidi Prescott.
Cayetano during the second week of
November authorized Hawaii Forestry and
Wildlife Division “Big Island” manager Jon
Giffin to hire his predecessor, Charles
Wakida, to shoot 181 feral sheep from a helicopter.
The killings were the state’s most
recent of many attempts to eradicate the sheep
from the slopes of Mauna Kea. Both Animal
Rights Hawaii and hunting groups opposed the
killing––ARH as cruelty, the hunters because
they wanted to hunt the sheep for sport.
“The hunters,” the Maui News
reported, “said Cayetano also opposed the
effort until immediately after he received the
endorsement of the Sierra Club in the justconcluded
gubernatorial race.”
The Sierra Club, like other mainstream
conservation organizations, favors
killing the sheep.
Giffin told the Maui News that he
hired Wakida partly because he had shot sheep
from a helicopter before, in 1995, and partly
because members of his own staff not only
declined the job but threatened to file grievance
complaints if ordered to do it.

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