OpEds: Hunting—Neither fair nor gentlemanly

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An activity without a scintilla of justification in a truly civilized or compassionate society.


By Bill Buchanan

As a former hunter, which is one of the worst of my many regrets, I believe I know what kill-crazy Corey Knowlton and his ilk in the U.S. and elsewhere are all about: They have no connection, no bond whatsoever with animals.  To them, birds and animals are nothing more than animated targets. Never, and I mean never, do hunters ever recognize them as sentient beings or care how many of them remain in the wild or on earth. Their only concern is that there are at least enough still alive for them to kill one before they exist only in coffee table books. 
They all claim, “It’s not the killing that’s important. It’s the hunt, the challenge, the accomplishment. It’s about going back to the wild, to my hunter/gatherer roots.” That is complete BS. It is the killing. Period.  Mr. Bubba, you say the killing part is not important to you? Well, it sure as hell is important to the animals you dream of killing.  Plus, you don’t really ‘hunt’ anyway. You’re called a hunter, because it sounds better than killer. Your ‘hunting’ for the most part consists of stumbling around in the dark before daylight looking for your blind. The only other ‘hunting’ you do is on the Internet looking for shooting ranches where you can conveniently and effortlessly shoot an endangered trophy animal as it stands next to a feed trough and be back home by dark in time to tell your wife and children how you bravely and expertly stalked and killed the deadly beast because, “It was either him or me.”
There was a time when sport hunters actually hunted game on its terms, often not firing a shot the entire season by choice or by not having the opportunity. It was called sportsmanship: a concept as alien to today’s hunters as reading something other than how-to-kill-animals magazines. Today, hunting is completely commercialized. It’s big business, especially in my state, Texas, where over 1,000 canned-hunting ranches are located. The miscreants who go to those places are not worried about whether or not they will have the chance to kill something. That’s guaranteed. These outdoor slaughter houses charge by the species and its trophy attributes and will do whatever necessary to make sure their client kills or cripples something.
In my opinion, the primary role of state wildlife agencies and their employees (in Texas it’s the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.) is to protect the multi-billion dollar hunting industry by making certain there are plenty of game birds and animals available for hunters to kill or maim every year. After all, hunting and fishing license fees help pay their salaries. Once fairly stringent, most hunting ‘means and methods’ regulations have been deleted by these agencies since they now pretty much work out of the same checkbook with their partners, the hunting industry. As a result, there is no longer any sportsmanship practiced or required in the hunting equation. Today’s hunters don’t have a clue what sportsmanship in the field is or what it requires. They are free to (and do) use any means/methods to attract and kill an animal.
Cabela's stores are as big as a regular Home Depot, packing tens of thousands of items designed to kill animals in a treacherous way.

Cabela’s stores are as big as a regular Home Depot, packing thousands of items designed to kill animals in a treacherous way.

The sole purpose of every hunting aid/gadget available is to cheat an animal out of its only defenses. Toy-stores-for-psychos like Cabela’s and other sporting goods stores offer a vast array of hunting aids like: reverse gas masks that filter the human scent out of exhaled air, infrared devices that reveal animals hiding in thick cover, hearing amplifiers and night-vision goggles, recorded or synthetized game calls, human scent masking mouthwash, body soap, shampoo, hairspray, makeup, underarm deodorant, life-size stationary or animated decoys, and even special underwear that absorbs the sound and smell of flatulence. As an aside, and for a bit of light-heartedness in this rather dark missive, that underwear was originally developed for image-conscious, rich-food-eating corporate executives prone to loudly and uncontrollably passing gas during meetings, formal dinner parties, and while riding in crowded elevators.

In addition to all those gadgets, deer hunters can purchase buck-luring (doe-in-estrus urine) liquids to pour all over themselves and their surroundings. They sit in camouflaged blinds next to electronically-timed and activated bait feeders filled with corn. The hunter needs only be in his blind about 15 minutes before the machine noisily sprays an ample amount of corn on the ground. Hearing what they have been trained to recognize as their ‘dinner bell,’ the deer come running straight into the hunters crosshairs. There is no question in my mind, that today’s hunters would not think twice about sneaking into a zoo at night and killing as many animals as possible if they thought they could get away with it. In essence, canned-hunting ranches are little more than zoos with larger cages.
All those soul-destroying hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel should be properly labeled ‘hunter porn,’ because I’d bet the wife-beating white trash who watch those shows are jerking off while doing so.  Those shows use to avoid showing the animal convulsing with blood pouring out of its nose and mouth after being shot or hit with an arrow, but now they pretty much show it all. I’m also convinced that the people who watch (and produce) those shows are the same people who as children stuck firecrackers in kittens’ rectums and grew up to bloodless degenerates like Ted Nugent or this Corey Knowlton guy, both of whom are involved in the production of one or more hunting shows. And, I believe that when the gods were handing out emotions, these folks had stepped into another room to watch Hannity or listen to Limbaugh. They missed getting the empathy and compassion genes. I would also submit that these sorts of folks may suffer from moderate to severe necrophilia.
The late and great Cleveland Amory wrote the book, “Mankind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife.” You might recall a statement he made in the book: (paraphrasing) “ Hunters claiming to be conservationists affirm their unlimited capacity to rationalize their own cruelty.” Now, try to recall any hunter when confronted about the morality of his favorite pastime who didn’t invoke conservationism. If it weren’t so tragic, it’s almost laughable to me when I hear some knuckle-dragging yahoo claim, “But I’m a conservationist.” or “You gotta kill ‘em in order to conserve ‘em.” or “They need killin’ for their own good.” or “I eat everything I kill.” or “I give the meat to poor people.” or if any of those don’t seem convincing, they’ll fall back on, “It says right there in the Bible we can do any goddamn thing we want to them animals. Can’t argue with the Bible, dude!”
If there’s any good to come out of this sorry Corey Knowlton affair, he and the hunting cult he so accurately represents have been thoroughly outed by the social and mainstream media. I’m hopeful the public will now and forever associate hunting and hunters with him.
Bill Buchanan, a documentary filmmaker, was born and raised almost 70 years ago in the city of San Antonio, Texas and on his family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Like many Texas kids with access to the outdoors, he enjoyed shooting about everything that walked or crawled with his BB gun, then his .22 and finally with his deer rifle. It was not until his late 20s that he finally matured out of his love of killing things for fun, having recognized the pathological nature of his behavior. An avid animal advocate for many years, he produced, directed and edited the documentary, Companions to None, a film about the companion animal overpopulation and abuse crisis in Mexico. He is currently filming GREYHOUND: Racing Into The Light, which examines the history of the greyhound breed, of greyhound racing, and the intense controversy surrounding dog racing in the U.S. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

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