BOOKS: Hunt Club Management Guide

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2003:

Hunt Club Management Guide
by J. Wayne Fears
Stoeger Publ. (17603 Indian Head Hwy, Suite 200, Accokeek, MD
20607), 2003. 144 pages, hardcover, $24.95.

Deer Diary
by Thomas Lee Boles
Xlibris Corp. (<Orders@Xlibris.com>), 2002. 286 pages, paperback, $18.69.

J. Wayne Fears, involved in leasing land for hunt clubs for
more than 20 years, gives the impression that he lives to kill deer.
Thomas Lee Boles, a vegetarian animal rights activist, has
handreared orphaned deer and befriended deer both in captivity and in
the wild.


Each outlines his perspectives on hunting at about equal
length, allowing for the difference in page size between their
books. Except that Fears writes to perpetuate hunting on property
secured by covenant against the “antis,” while Boles writes against
recreationally killing anything, they appear to be more in agreement
than opposition.
Almost every page of Hunt Club Management Guide tersely
details obnoxious attitudes and behavior among hunters that Fears has
personally witnessed and detests. Without wasting adjectives, Fears
makes plain that in his view, hunters themselves rather than “antis”
are their own worst enemies, chiefly because of inconsiderate and
unsportsmanlike conduct.
Fears says almost nothing about animal suffering and the
morality of hunting, but at least implied is that he believes
hunters should not kill animals whose remains they do not eat or
otherwise use, should quickly track and dispatch wounded animals,
and should properly look after their hunting dogs and horses.
Outside of hunting season, he believes, hunters should try to
maintain optimal wildlife habitat on the land they use.
If Fears was less deeply addicted to recreational killing,
it is not hard to imagine that he might come around to very much the
same views that Boles expresses, emphasizing animal suffering and
the immorality of killing for fun. Indeed, Fears’ writing may be as
closely focused as it is because he does not wish to expose himself
to deeper thought about what he is doing.
Boles is as emotive as Fears is restrained, but like Fears
is familiar with the theories and philosophy of wildlife management,
often citing pro-hunting publications to refute hunters’ arguments.
Boles thinks a lot about matters of faith, frequently
finding organized religion deficient in failing to restrain human
betrayals of animal trust. If Fears has any thoughts at all about
religion, he keeps them to himself. It appears, however, that
hunting is Fears’ religion, and that he too may view his message as
a profession of strong belief. He differs from Boles in that he
would evidently prefer to pass along the rituals of his faith without
questioning their purpose.
It is not difficult to imagine each man reading the other’s
book, Boles for clues about how to stop deer hunting and Fears
because Boles is among the few people who know deer most intimately.
It is more difficult to imagine Boles ever taking up hunting
or Fears deliberately giving it up; but it is not hard to suspect
that Fears is close to the point many hunters reach, typically at
age 50 or beyond, of becoming an “armed nature-walker,” who “hunts”
avidly but goes for years without firing a shot at an animal. Most
of what Fears seems to love about hunting has little to do with
actually killing animals, and much of what he hates about “slob
hunters” has to do with the wanton exercise of bloodlust.

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