“Animal rights activists also came to the reservation, armed not with shotguns, but with bullhorns and with candles they lit Monday afternoon, in solemn protest of the hunt, which they described as a slaughter of innocent creatures.” – Boston Globe
As a conservationist and hunter, I cannot help but laugh at the lack of knowledge about whitetail deer overgrazing in the northeast. “Innocent creatures” is a strange term indeed, for Mother Nature does not recognize innocence or protect species from the harshness of the wild. When it comes to a balanced habitat and a healthy forest in the northeast, whitetail deer are far from innocent.
We often hear the term deforestation. Far less often we hear a more relevant term: forest degradation. I have one fundamental question for this outcry against the Blue Hills Hunt in Massachusetts. What about the countless species threatened by uncontrolled deer populations degrading northeastern forests through overgrazing?
The list of species affected is rather long and very serious. The Canada Warbler is a bird listed as threatened directly because of whitetail overgrazing in Massachusetts. How about the Frosted Elfin, a butterfly listed as either endangered or threatened in every northeastern state? Again the number one culprit is the whitetail.
According to The Nature Conservancy, “Scientists report that one-third of New York’s forests are currently compromised as a result of excessive herbivory […]” from whitetail deer.
The TNC reports, “Unfortunately, the harm is often overlooked, or worse, accepted as somehow natural.”
Speaking of “natural,” I would like to open up an old healthy debate with anti-hunters. You are a mammal, a hardwired predator. 10,000 years of farming does not excuse you from millions of years of evolution as a meat-eater. At what point did we as humans have a right to dismiss ourselves from the food chain?
According to HunterGreen.Org, “Humans do not have multiple stomachs like most herbivores or any evolutionary advantage designed to break down cellulose, which is the primary design of plant-eating animals. The human digestive system is almost a complete failure when it comes to breaking down cellulose and B12.”
To put it simply: we are far from being vegetarians.
Let’s come back to the responsible management of deer herds. Science has unquestionably proved its necessity. Some have suggested alternative methods, such as a new dart that renders a doe sterile for a few years. As a conservationist, I find such modern practices artificial and freakish. They’re also impractical. According to the fiscal report on MassWildlife, 97% of their funding comes from the purchase of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. Why would we use up a budget on something that hunters do for free?
If you want to claim that it is unnatural for me and many other Massachusetts residents to want suitable and healthy meat for our families’ dinner tables, you should rethink your environmental convictions about the planet. The corporate meat trade threatens the balance of Mother Nature. Massive deforestation of the rain forest for soy beans threatens the future of the planet. The house you live in required the permanent destruction of habitat. Attacking the Blue Hills Hunt is a disgusting display of miseducation and reckless emotions.
A.J. DeRosa conservation Deer Biology deer hunting hunting conservation hunting culture organic hunter part time hunter pro hunting public land hunting suburban deer suburban deer hunting
Last modified: December 19, 2018
Should find out where these Liberal Pukes are rallying & go with a flyer with excerpts from your book !! Maybe one of them would read it !!
Great article AJ! Way more people should be able to read this!!
Learn how to write, then express your opinions. You write like a 3rd grader.
The anti-hunting crowd anthropomorphizes and sentimentalizes wild animals. They don’t recognize the ecological reality of predation, which is nature’s way of culling the overpopulated herd. Human predation (hunting) fills the natural, ecological niche once played by the wolves. Animal rights activists act from their “feelings,” but wild animals themselves live in ecological reality.
In 2015, participants will be allowed to use shotguns with slugs only. Buckshot is prohibited from use in the Blue Hills controlled hunt. Archery hunting will also not be allowed during this first year of the controlled hunt.
Deer meat is very choice full for some family dinner table. But we should care about animal rights act. I agree with the issue. This awareness is most important to our society.
Let’s be very clear about these “animal rights” protestors. Their love for these “innocent creatures” is FAR surpassed by their hatred for the hunters.
In other words, in their warped minds, animals are people and people are animals.
Passing judgment on any group of people, hunters or “animal rights activists”, is a mistake. When hunters refer to animal rights activists as having “warped minds” or call them “Liberal Pukes” all you’re doing is justifying or at the very least rationalizing their beliefs and further entrenching their mindsets. Conversely, when animal rights activists refer to hunters as murderers and monsters or try to define us as kill-mongering blood thirsty savages, the last thing we should do is react in a manner that supports their idea of who and what we are.
Most if not nearly all animal rights activists believe they are doing good and when we react by calling them names or stereotyping them the way we are often stereotyped, we may very well be missing an opportunity to start a dialogue that could serve all of our interests. As responsible outdoors enthusiasts, we should always strive to lead by example and act with dignity and respect, even when confronted with individuals who refuse to do the same. I can say from first hand experience that when a hunter takes the time to explain habitat degradation and how hunters fill a vital niche that was left open by the mountain lions, wolves, bobcats, coyotes and other predators that were exterminated throughout most of the northeast through habitat loss and culling (I always make a point to mention that these animals once lived in the area and were the natural check on whitetail populations), many people who were firmly in the anti-hunting camp can come to see the value in what we do. In the suburbs of New York where i live, it is unlikely i would be able to hunt at all without the willingness of non-hunters to allow me on to their property. Many of these individuals start out vehemently opposed to hunting, but with continued engagement and a commitment to respectful interactions with them while hunting on neighboring properties, i often find that they are willing to give me permission to hunt their land once they see that I am not a blood-crazed redneck who will shoot anything that moves for the sheer thrill of the kill (haha I am just a normal, hardworking redneck who hunts to feed my family and spend time in nature to the extent i am able).
Most liberals I know (and in many ways myself included) try to base their positions on the facts as they understand them- One by product of “political correctness” that could actually work in our favor if we went about it the right way is that those who value inclusiveness and understanding of different belief systems should be open to hearing opposing view points. Unfortunately, many hunters act in a way that makes it easy for the other side to write us off (especially on the internet) as nothing more than the trashy caricature they’ve created in their minds.
The bottom line is that regardless of our differences, hunters and most environmental activists share many of the same goals and values such as preservation of open/wild spaces, maintaining healthy and diverse populations of native plants and animals, and the continued existence of natural environments for all to use and enjoy; and we do much more to advance hunting rights and access when focus our attention on those ties that bind and respectfully stating the facts (which are firmly on our side) about the serious environmental damage caused by overpopulated whitetails than we do by acting like petulant children and hurling insults at people who aren’t immediately inclined to share our point of view. The future of hunting and of the environment as a whole is going to depend on our ability to bridge the differences between us so we can work together to protect the balance of nature on our planet and its time we all start doing our part and acting as respectful and respectable ambassadors of hunting culture even though its not always easy.
Very well said!
Thank you for your brilliant post.