Dick Pinney's Guidelines: Trophy hunting doesn't fit this writer's definition of the hunt
IN MY Webster's New World Dictionary the description of "hunt" is as follows. 1. To chase (game) for food or sport. 2. To try to find, search, seek. 3. To chase or harry. 4. Also noted was "a group of people that hunt together. A search. A district covered by hunting.
Nowhere does it describe a hunt as hanging in a tree, often over bait (legally or illegally placed). But that is exactly where our big game hunting has morphed to, along with a technique called "heater hunting," in some of the back woods areas - the practice of riding back roads during the colder hunting months in a heated motor vehicle.
Know that we're not putting a knock on tree stand hunting, but we do want to establish some kind of downward trend in the skills, endurance and exercise that a "hunter" on foot that stalks his quarry has had to learn and be proficient at in order to bag a deer, bear or moose.
We've been on many a hunt where we've stood or sat for a while, resting up and hoping a deer would pass by and have taken a few deer this way. There certainly is some excitement when a ground-bound hunter hears a twig snap or leaves rustle that alert him to the possible sighting of a big game animal and no doubt tree stand hunters also feel this rush of adrenaline. But there is, in our opinion, no greater rush that stillhunting our way into a deer's private living area and outsmarting one of them. The skills, patience, knowledge and physical ability make for the ultimate satisfaction when a hunt is successful.
We also have had some incredible thrills and excitement when hunting on foot with a small group of hunters that rotate between trying to push deer to standing hunters and/or are being part of the pushing group. When the guns start going off doesn't make your hair stand on edge, then it's time for you to take up another sport. In this method of hunting the deer know they are being hunted and put their best escape skills into place. You're after an animal that has its senses in full gear and their chances of escape are probably equal to them being "reduced to possession," as the people say that are adverse to the words killed or dead.
All that said and done, it's the "trophy" mentality of especially deer hunting that seems to be sickening. Please tell me that's not an ego thing, when a deer's antlers are measuring the success of a hunt? Many, many of the record holders have skirted either the law or good hunting practices to get their so-called trophies into the record book or have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, hunting in special places to achieve their so-called success.
We recently were in the presence of a fellow with a gun that shoots big game (we reserve the right to not call him a hunter) who goes out of his way to have every big game animal that he's taken preserved by taxidermy, including a full-size, whole-body mount of a giraffe. There's something sick about that. And we wonder how he enjoyed eating giraffe meat?
We have to blame some of the TV hunting shows for the bastardization of the hunting scene. We were told by a friend that has produced dozens of TV hunting and fishing shows that they are all staged and scripted before the hunt.
Nowadays more and more of these TV hunting stars have been found guilty of numerous infractions of the law. Are these the people that we should be looking up to as "great hunters" and sportsmen? One of the standouts was a goose hunting personality and waterfowl call maker that was caught shooting tame geese in city parks to gather a huge collection of federal waterfowl bands that these egocentrics love to show off on their call lanyards to identify them as "super-shooters."
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.
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