by Ken Kreps
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Having said that, if you're an active hunter, you and I have a big disagreement and I have several questions for you. The first one is why do you call hunting a sport? The animals can't shoot back and in reality can only run for their lives. None of you would find a football game very interesting if one team decided to just stand there...not block....not tackle while the other team ran them into the ground. You wouldn't find it interesting because all elements of sport and competition would be gone. In essence it would be a farce and it would no longer be a sport. I find hunting to be quite similar as the hunter can kill, but the hunted cannot fight back and must flee the scene to escape death. I also find bullfighting deplorable, but even it has more sporting elements than hunting as once in a great while the bull gets in a really good lick on it's tormentors.
Another question that's always baffled me is why some hunters refer to killing an animal as "harvesting". Wheat, corn, barley and many other crops can be harvested, but let's call what you do by it's real name. You slaughter animals....you don't harvest them. To harvest an animal, you would have to pluck it out of the ground by it's ears. Could it be that you call the killing of an animal, "harvesting" so as to soften what's really happening. Come on, if you must kill an animal, call it what it is..... the killing of an animal!!
I've always been curious as to why some hunters say, "Oh, it's not the killing I enjoy, it's just being outdoors with the guys". That's always been an amazing remark to me as there's lots of ways to be outdoors with the guys. Go to a ball game, go hiking or river rafting. There's a multitude of outdoor activities (some quite macho) that do not call for the slaughter of animals. Could it be that some of you really don't like killing animals, but don't want your friends to know so you just go along with the flow of things?
Another puzzle to me is when you talk of "animal population control" as if in reality, you're doing all of us a favor by killing animals. Here's a tip for you. Your not!! Mother nature and natural selection controlled animal populations quite well before man walked the earth and will continue to do so long after we're gone.
Now I must specifically address those hunters who feel compelled to stuff and mount the heads of their prey on the walls of their home, office or place of business. I'm really curious as to why you do this. Do you get feelings of accomplishment when you look at it or some sort of thrill? You entered it's natural habitat, shot it, dragged it home, had it stuffed and mounted. Pardon me, but I seemed to have missed the accomplishment. I once had a hunter point to a stuffed deer head on his wall and tell me what a magnificent animal it was. He seemed somewhat miffed when I reminded him that it was even more magnificent when it was alive!!
Finally, I have a tip for you. You really should back off on remarks like, "Yes, but at least I eat what I shoot." Sorry gang, but that just doesn't hold water, anymore. By the time you figure in the cost of your weapons, outdoor gear and other expenses, you could have purchased enough meat at the butcher shop to feed a large family for a long, long time. So saying you eat what you kill is not really good justification for why you hunt.
Before you think I'm some sort of pacifist who wanders through the woods looking to commune with animal life without a care in the world you should know that on a hike where there's the possibility of meeting dangerous animals, I carry the proper weapons. While I would never hunt an animal, I don't care to be hunted by one, either. Shooting an animal in self defense is one thing. Slaughtering them in their tracks is quite another.
I feel quite certain that hunters who reads this will not say, "My God, he's right, I've got to stop hunting immediately." No, the world simply doesn't work that way. But the next time you call hunting a sport or hunters sportsmen, please understand that many of us know better. Hunting is not a sport and hunters are not sportsmen!!
Since writing this article six years ago, I have placed a tracker in it (I have one in every piece I have on the Internet). It tells me who my readers are by IP address, what date and time they read the article, and what website directed them here. This is fairly standard procedure, as millions of articles on the Internet have such trackers associated with them. I noticed a number of recent readers were coming from a hunting website and so, out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at the site. It turned out to be a message board type forum whereby people could leave their comments about whatever was on their mind regarding hunting. One person had found this article, posted its address on the hunting website, which others followed to find it. Some then left comments about this article on the hunting message board. A few people, having no other original thoughts, resorted to name-calling. Since this is the least effective form of argument or protest, I quickly dismissed those and went on to the rest of the comments, most of which were well thought out, and well presented arguments in favor of hunting. To those people, I thank each and every one of them for their comments, as well as the way in which they were presented.
One comment, however, sticks out above all the rest for its chilling content. A man from Mississippi freely admitted that he enjoyed the killing of animals and, indeed, enjoyed seeing them stumble and fall as a result of his action. After reading his comments twice, I was left with a feeling of great sadness. First, I felt sadness for a man who found pleasure in killing. Secondly, I felt sadness for a society whose progress is slowed, by having such people as its members.
What brings a man to find pleasure in the killing of anything is beyond my comprehension, but one thing is for certain. This man and those like him who enjoy killing, only serve to emphasize that the veneer of civilization under which we profess to live, is indeed quite thin.
Ken Kreps lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife. He has written a number of published articles, essays and short stories, as well as numerous consumer and business pieces. Ken has also written scripts for Imagination Theater, an award winning audio drama series heard on over 120 commercial radio stations across the nation, as well as on XM Satellite Radio. He recently completed four short film screenplays, and is currently working on a feature length script. For the past twelve years, Ken has concentrated on acting, studying in the Seattle and Dallas areas, as well as with noted LA professionals. He has appeared in independent short, & feature films, television commercials and dramas, and various types of voice-over work.