Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Problem with Canned Hunting

Canned hunting is effectively trophy hunting. A canned hunt is a type of hunt that involves the hunter being essentially promised a kill by a hunting agency or governing body. The activity basically takes place on the grounds that the host of the hunt, whether a hunting agency or private party, captures an animal and releases it in a generally enclosed area to be hunted by the hunter. The enclosed area tends to be a small fenced in area so that the kill comes rather easily to the hunter.

Naturally, there have been all sorts of ethical issues involving canned hunting. Through the years, the controversy and criticism of canned hunting has reached a fever pitch. Rightly so, as the issue with canned hunting is one more directed towards animal cruelty than any other type of hunt. The animal is captured and “canned”, giving it no original chance for survival. This type of simplistic approach to hunting is often polarizing to many within the hunting community, some of which appreciate the delicate balance of nature in its own right.

The United States actually has a set line of legislation regarding canned hunting because of the criticism. In the Sportsman Hunting Act of 2005, the United States proclaimed that anyone who transports an exotic animal for the purposes of canned hunting shall be fined or put in prison for no longer than one year. While the penalties are not all that tough, the sentiment is still resounding. The United States government does not particularly qualify what constitutes an “exotic animal”, however, and this has led to some confusion among canned hunters.

The critique involving canned hunting is rather obvious. Animal rights groups claim that is it cruelty to animals and, while they protest all types of hunting, their position is somewhat more compelling when it is amplified by other hunting groups. Certain hunting groups claim that canned hunting takes away from the element of the “fair chase” or the “fair catch”. In other words, hunting groups typically claim that part of the adventure of the hunt is, of course, the hunt. Without the hunt, hunting is left to barbaric slaughter. These hunting groups claim that canned hunting simply strips away any of the elements of survival in terms of hunting and brings it down to its most animalistic classification.

Naturally, another opponent of canned hunting is the North American Humane Society. They claim that canned hunting represents cruel activity towards animals and exists to promote brutality towards animals. The hunted animal, according to the Humane Society, has literally no chance to escape and is essentially a victim of terrorism by the hunter and the hunting party. The animal is captive and is nearly tortured by the psychological implications of being in captivity and then being hunted while in such captivity.

There are several incidents in current events which reflect canned hunting. The United States Vice President Dick Cheney is said to be a fan of canned hunting, once apparently bagging around seventy ringneck pheasants on a hunt in which the pheasants were captured and then released in a specific area upon Cheney's request. Of course, the most famous Dick Cheney canned hunting incident likely involved the shooting of Harry Whittington. It is not known if Cheney has any objections to canned hunting on a moral level, however, as the Vice President tends to be known for a certain level of ambiguity.

Canned hunting represents a great deal of controversy and criticism in America. It is not looked at favorably at all and, instead, is rather shamed even within the hunting community. As the community of hunters tends to progress and allow for nature to operate on its own constraints within their boundaries, canned hunting tends to represent all that is wrong with human interference on its most brutal and basic level. Canned hunting is not hunting at all; it is simply a deadly game of capture and kill that gives the animal no chance to run.

The Joy of Duck Hunting

Duck hunting is one of the most popular hunting sports in the world. It is as much a social calling as it is a hunt, in fact, representing a whole set of cultural standards and etiquette rules that many people do not even consider. It has a whole culture all its own, from a proper dress code to duck hunting dogs and assistants. The world of duck hunting is ripe with cultural significance, but is also has a dark side and represents a less than desirable aspect of human nature. Regardless of the point of view, there is something to be learned about duck hunting that may shed some light on either side of the ethical quandary.

Duck hunting is mainly a sporting activity around the world now, as commercial duck hunting has since been banned in most of the developed countries. Duck hunting is, in fact, as old as time itself. There are early indications that ducks and geese were somehow hunted during the Ice Age. Cave drawings indicate that duck hunting was a sound practice early on in human existence, giving way to ducks and swans appearing on cave paintings in Ice Age Europe. There is also evidence of duck hunting in Egypt, as a mural on the tomb of Khum-Hotpe displays a man capturing ducks in a stream. Ducks were also likely hunted by early man in the Americas, as early Peruvian art indicates.

With this international history, duck hunting enjoys a popularity that spreads around the world. It is especially popular in North America, where the largest number of localized ducks can be located. Most ducks use the Mississippi River as a migratory guide, so many duck hunts take place along the river to use it as a guide for finding ducks. Arkansas is a major hotbed of duck hunting, with Stuttgart being considered the “duck hunting capital of the world”.

Duck hunting is often considered popular because of its simplicity. The tools of the trade are simplistic enough, from a decoy set to a shotgun and duck call. The essence of duck hunting is based around the trickery of using the decoy and the duck call in tandem to lure the ducks out and into the air towards the decoy. After this takes place, the ducks are in open range for the hunt and the firing begins. These hunts take place around rivers, streams, lakes and any other bodies of water where ducks can be found.

There are many aspects that stand in contrast to duck hunting, of course. Most waterfowl conservation experts agree that the hunting of any type of waterfowl does little to help any situation. In fact, most marsh and wetland areas are shrinking at tremendous rates, giving rise the the criticism that duck hunting effectively diminishes an already diminishing habitat. There are several organizations that constantly spar with duck hunters over this reality.

One organization is the popular Ducks Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited is an international organization that stands as the leader in non-profit marshland protection and the protection of waterfowl. Ducks Unlimited sometimes works with hunters to protect the marshlands and protect the hunter's way of life. The main goal of Ducks Unlimited is the conservation of localized habitats where ducks can be found, enabling hunters to continue protected and logical hunts of ducks and enabling the survival of more ducks by creating better places for them to live.

Still, some hunters ignore this philosophy and have no interest in any protection of habitats. They, instead, pillage the duck areas and hunt ducks that should not be hunted. Duck hunting remains a controversial sport because of this aspect, unfortunately, and will continue to have a dark side as long as hunters remain blissfully ignorant as to the realities of organizations such as Ducks Unlimited. Without the cooperation of hunters and marshland protectors, duck hunts may be a thing of the past.

Disease and Hunters

There are many possibilities for hunters to get sick. Many critics consider these aspects to be nature's defense mechanisms towards human interference. Whatever the case may be, care must be taken when outdoors at all times to avoid these diseases and these problems. There are many precautions one can take to avoid getting sick in the great outdoors, so attention must be paid at all times to the surroundings and to the natural habitat in which the hunt is taking place. Without proper due care and attention, there is no telling as to what type of affliction can set upon a camp.

There are many diseases that are spread by mosquito. These are called “arboviral” because they are spread by arthropods. Arboviral diseases are known to produce clinical illnesses in humans that require the attention of a medical professional. Arboviral diseases transmit what are called “alphaviruses” to the patient, causing typically mild symptoms but sometimes releases harmful after-effects. Another arboviral disease that is getting a lot of air time lately is the West Nile virus. This is also spread by mosquitoes, but originates in birds. Mosquitoes feed on the birds and then spread the virus to humans by feeding on the humans, mixing the blood types. For this reason, always bring bug spray and always ensure that mosquitoes are instantly swatted or squashed as they appear.

A bacterial infection that hunters can find themselves with is brucella. Brucella is a bacterial infection that is typically spread from animal to animal as they feed on one another. As hunters kill and eat animals, there is a potential for brucella to be present. Brucella are actually bacterial organisms that are highly infectious. The food is typically the highest source of infection and the most likely area of capturing brucella infection. Fortunately, there are very few incidents of person-to-person brucella transmission but it still is possible. Standard precautions should be taken at all times in dealing with hunted meat. The kill must be cleaned and cooked properly to professional specifications. Hand washing is also a must.

Lyme disease is a common disease for outdoors-people. This is an illness that may affect joints and bones, creating a possibility of skin and nervous system problems as well. Lyme disease can affect people of all ages and is considered to be the most frequently diagnosed of the outdoor afflictions, making precautionary measures especially important. This affliction is actually caused be a bacteria that looks like a corkscrew and is transmitted by the bite of a tick. Persons with Lyme disease will likely start feeling the symptoms around seven to fourteen days after the tick bite, starting with chills and joint pain. Precautions should be taken to keep ticks off of the skin at all times.

There are many other bacterial infections that can be caught in the great outdoors. With taking the proper precautions, however, most hunters can avoid having serious incidents and can simply concentrate on the hunt. Clothing should be kept relatively light but tight fitting, making it hard for bugs to get on the skin and easy to spot the bugs. Of course, the problem with light clothing on the hunt is that it also makes the hunter more visible to the animals. Compromises can be reached, however, and there are those that suggest the risk of disease is far too great to take a chance on not being prepared.

Regardless of the point of view, there are numerous afflictions in nature that should be avoided and considered when hunting. It may well be nature's way of protecting itself, but these afflictions and diseases can spread from the hunter to the family members, making for a dangerous situation. When planning any kind of trip to the outdoors, research the area of travel and find out all there is to know about the possibilities for diseases and afflictions in that area.

Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs are certainly the best possible ally of the hunter, as they sniff and scavenge for prey in the deepest and darkest brush of the forest. There are many different possibilities for a hunting dog type that you can take on your next trip. The type of dog you should take on your hunting trip should be directly related to the type of hunting you are planning on. If you are planning on hunting fur-bearing animals, for example, you would be more satisfied with a hound than you would be with a terrier. Regardless of what dog you choose to take with you on your next hunting trip, you can be sure that you will have made a new friend by the end of the journey.

The most common main category of hunting dogs is the hound. Hounds are actually divided into two categories from there: the sighthound and the scent hound. As their names imply, each sub-category of dog type refers to a certain skill that the dog tends to be more proficient in. Sighthounds, like the Whippet, are adapted to hunting because of their visual acumen. They practice a method that is known as coursing, referring to the notion of spotting the prey from a long distance and following it in a quick pursuit. Scent hounds, like the Coonhound, work by scent rather than sight. They tend to pick up on a trace of the prey from the ground and follow that scent, hopefully to the prey. Scent hounds often work in packs and are regarded as having some of the most sensitive noses of all other dog types.

The next classification of dogs used for hunting is the gun dog. These dogs are used mostly by short range hunters using shotguns. There are three sub-categories of gun dogs: flushing spaniels, pointing breeds and retrievers. Again, their names are reflective of the particular skill that the dog has to offer the hunter. The retrievers, once known as water spaniels, are great for finding and getting shot or killed game for the hunter. If the hunter kills a duck, the retriever heads over to pick it up and brings it back to the hunter. The pointing breed, such as an English setter, tend to “point out” the prey by pointing at upland birds or other upland animals being hunted. The pointing breed of dogs sometimes also help flush the prey out from their hiding spot. The flushing spaniels, such as the English Cocker spaniel, are used to locate and spring the prey for the hunter. They are trained to remain close to the hunter, ensuring an easy kill.

Still another popular type of hunting dog is the terrier. Terriers are used to hunt mammals, for the most part. These animals, such as the Lakeland terrier, are used to locate the actual den of the animal and spring or capture the animal. Some terriers are bred to kill the animal at the animal's den. A large number of terriers are used to hunt what are known as “pest species”. The pest species refer to groundhogs, hunted by the Jack Russel terriers, or the badger or fox, hunted by the Fell terrier. The legality of some of these hunts is in question, so you may want to check your local regulations before you set upon and hunt a fox.

There are many particulars that make using hunting dogs a popular option for hunting. Whether you choose a sighthound or a scent hound, you can be assured that your companion hound will be working for you at finding your prey. Using a gun dog can not only provide great companionship, but it can bring prey right to your doorstep and literally take the hunt out of hunting. Terriers not only make a vigorous hunting companion, but they also make for a nice domesticated animal. Make sure that you consider the hunting dog type before you go out on the hunt so that you can bring the best possible breed with you and land the best possible kill for this hunting season.

First Aid For Hunting Safety

Hunting can provide opportunities for many types of injuries. Being prepared is your best defense against disabling injuries or even life-threatening accidents. Knowing some basic first aid and using common sense when in the wild can save both life and limb.


If you don’t know CPR, learn it.  Call your local hospital, EMS, or fire department to find out when and where you can attend a community CPR class.  You never know when you may need to perform CPR on a friend, family member, or even a stranger.  A few hours of your time could save a life someday.

Many CPR classes offer basic first aid classes as well.  Check with your local provider to see if this option is available before registering for a class.

Safety Rules during A Crisis

The first rule of safety during a crisis may sound selfish but it is important.  Take care of yourself first.  Check the scene of an accident for unsafe conditions.  Make the area safe for yourself and bystanders before beginning first aid.  The reasoning behind this rule is that if you become injured or incapacitated, you can’t help anyone else.  If you become injured,  rescue workers arriving on the scene will then have you as an added victim to care for.  Seconds make a difference in a crisis, but take a few beforehand to ensure that you will be able to provide the help that is needed.

Basic First Aid

Healthcare personnel are taught the ABC’s of first aid:  Airway,  Breathing, and Circulation.  Your first concern is whether the accident victim has a clear airway.  If the mouth or throat is blocked by blood, water, or objects, tend to this matter first. Next, see if the victim is breathing or is in danger of ceasing to breathe.  The brain and vital organs cannot last long without oxygen. Provide rescue breathing if necessary.

Then, check for a heart beat and any injuries that may be seeping blood.  Apply pressure to any areas that are bleeding with a clean cloth if possible.  Don’t be afraid to press hard!  If there are others present who are able to assist you, ask for their help in applying pressure to a wound.  If the bleeding is profuse and the wound in located on an arm or leg, you can use your belt or a section of rope to wrap around the limb and secure tightly to restrict blood flow to the injured area and slow the bleeding.  This is called a tourniquet.

Call for help!  After you have controlled breathing and provided an initial round of CPR, call for help and then continue CPR until rescue workers arrive.  Performing CPR can be exhausting.  If others are available to help, perform two-person CPR or trade off tasks frequently to prevent rescuer exhaustion.

If you or another hunter falls from a tree stand or other elevated area, do NOT move until you are sure there have been no spinal injuries.  Moving a person who has spinal injuries can cause shattered bone to cut through the spinal cord and result in paralysis.  Ask the fall victim to move their fingers and toes only.  If they are unable to, they have injured their spinal column and need special care in moving.  If they are breathing and not bleeding profusely, leave them in the position they are in and get help. 

If they are able to move fingers and toes, gently turn them over onto their back if they are not already positioned so.  Try to turn them as if they were a log; keep the head, legs and torso aligned and stiff as you roll them. This will prevent any compression on the spinal cord should the vertebra protecting the cord be compromised.

Some falls and spinal injuries that affect the neck area can result in a person not being able to breathe on their own.  If this happens, you must provide rescue breathing for them until help arrives.

Using firearm safety and common sense like avoiding aggressive animals can go a long way to prevent hunting accidents.  Educate yourself, hunt with others, and always tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will return.  Keeping safe in the woods is everyone’s responsibility. Be sure to do your part.