Beginning in 2012, Bill will also publish BowAmerica, the e-magazine for bowhunters. You can subscribe for free to BowAmerica at BowAmerica.com
It is easy to get into a heated debate whenever you are discussing something you are passionate about with someone with an opposing view. As hunters, we have to remember to keep our heads clear when we face off against someone who is anti-hunting. Often times the media will run with a story based on one side’s perspective, and in the case of hunting, it is usually the anti-hunting perspective. It is known that only about 10% of the population hunts, while 80% have no opinion either way. Considering the emotional attachment that can be more easily conveyed for anti-hunting, hunters have to maintain a clear, controlled, and mature stature.
The following is two accounts of the same incident. I believe it is important to be able to empathize with other side of an argument in order to make your side of the argument clear.
|Newspaper article #1 |
November 25, 2011
“He was trying to kill our deer!”
Those were the terrified words from Cheryl Smith as she retold the story of how a deer hunter aimed his sights at a deer the Smith family had watched since it was a fawn. As the deer populations have grown throughout the state, deer have found their way into developed neighborhoods and now co-exist with humans. Twenty years ago, it was unusual to find deer in the wild in the county, but now, it is not uncommon to see as many as 10 to 20 deer during daylight hours driving on the outskirts of the city. Now residents have more to worry about than just deer/ automobile collisions. They have to worry about hunters.
Something Mrs. Smith is more than willing to share her concerns about. “The hunter was right over there,” pointing to an open lot of approximately 5 acres. “What if the kids were out playing? They could have easily been shot. This is just not right!”
On this particular day, Mrs. Smith saw the deer she had come to know over the last 3 years in the field. She also noticed the bright orange vest of someone high in a tree. She became so panicked in what she was seeing develop, she darted out of the house still in her pajamas and barefooted. “All I could do was scream at the deer and hunter. Luckily it was enough to startle the deer into running off. I then told the hunter he needed to leave the field.”
What happened next really confused Mrs. Smith and several other local residents. “I called the police. I told them there was someone shooting at deer in our neighborhood. The officers talked to the hunter, and then they came over to me and issued me a citation. They gave me the ticket! I wasn’t shooting at anyone!”
Sgt. John Williams informed Mrs. Smith she had interfered with the hunter and it was against the law. The hunter, Frank James, later requested no charges be pressed against Mrs. Smith.
“If this is the way the law is, it needs to be changed! I have already started a petition within the neighborhood to halt the hunting activities in the area. We cannot wait until it is too late before someone gets killed by a hunter.” Mrs. Smith is also calling for a neighborhood meeting in order to start a group to save local wildlife from hunting dangers.
|Newspaper article #2 |
November 25, 2011
“There was a lady running straight at me waving her hands and screaming.”
Those were the words from Frank James, who was hunting an open lot near the Evergreen subdivision. James has been hunting the area for the last five years. He owns a hunting lease on the lot and the wooded land and swamp behind it. He has also been following the deer he was hunting that morning for the last three years. He has multiple trail camera photos and has watched the doe give birth to a couple of sets of twins. As the deer populations have grown throughout the state, deer have found their way into developed neighborhoods and now co-exist with humans. Twenty years ago, it was unusual to find deer in the wild in the county, but now, it is not uncommon to see as many as 10 to 20 deer during daylight hours driving on the outskirts of the city. Now residents have to worry about deer/automobile collisions as well as deer borne diseases and parasites.
“I was hunting over on the open 5 acre lot. I had 3 stands set up so I can hunt downwind from where the deer come out no matter which way the wind blows. I also have them paired with feeders so if a shot presents itself, I’ll be aiming in a safe direction,” commented Mr. James.
On this particular day, Mr. James had chosen a stand on the western side of the property. As the deer was making its way to the feeder, Cheryl Smith came running out of her house screaming at the hunter and the deer. Still in pajamas and barefooted, Mrs. Smith came across the road into the field and told Mr. James he had to stop hunting and leave. “Rather than argue with the lady, I just got my stuff together and started down the stand. She had already scared off every deer within a 5 mile radius anyways.”
What happened next really confused Mr. James. “She called the police on me. The officer came over and asked if I had permission to hunt here. I showed him my hunting license and permission slip. I can’t believe she had called the police.”
Sgt. John Williams then spoke with Mrs. Smith and explained to her that Mr. James was in fact hunting legally. According to the police report, Mrs. Smith then starting yelling at the officer about how James could have shot someone. Mr. James was bowhunting, which is legal within the zone. However, Mrs. Smith was ticketed for sabotaging a hunt. Charges were later dropped at the request of Mr.James.
“Some people just don’t understand. They watch Bambi and think animals like deer are basically pets that live outdoors. The fact is deer are wild animals, just like a bear, snake or opossum. If the deer go uncontrolled, pretty soon the yards will be destroyed, their pets and kids will have to constantly be checked for ticks and diseases. It would benefit everyone to attend one of the state’s game and fish agency’s information session.” According to Mr. James, some people get a false attachment to something that is not domesticated.