The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Attention South Dakota moose: Run for your lives!

It just isn't safe to be a moose in the Black Hills. Wildlife enthusiasts, myself included, were delighted a few weeks ago to see a photo and accompanying story of a young bull moose swimming about in Pactola Reservoir.

Well, somebody shot him. The low-life who shot him didn't kill him and left him to suffer until he was discovered by elk hunters who called GF&P authorities. The animal died of its wounds shortly after GF&P investigators arrived. Journal headline writers say that GF&P officials suspect a poacher. Woster's story made it clear, however, there was no "suspicion" at all. Read it here.

On the outside chance that the moron who shot this animal (and left it thrashing to suffer where it fell) is literate, and might somehow stumble upon this: You're an asshole. Decent people, pro-gun, anti-gun, pro hunting and anti hunting, all decent people know you're an asshole too.

As you go through the next few days, please tell all your friends, everyone you meet, what a terrific thrill it was to mortally wound that animal and just leave it. If you did it to impress your friends, and they haven't turned you in, they're assholes too.

So here we are on the Decorum Forum and I've been reduced by my own anger to break my own no name-calling rule. Anyone think I shouldn't call this poacher an asshole?


Bill Fleming said...

It's a thin line, Mike.

Are you saying that if they would have had a moose license it would be okay as long as they were humane enough to dispatch the creature more quickly once it was brought down?

I think it's fine to focus on this one instance, but let's face it, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of carcasses out in the woods of creatures killed in the exact same reckless way by both poachers and non-poachers alike — from prairie dogs, to squirrels, to sparrows, to woodchucks, to deer, antelope, elk, hawks, eagles, you name it.

And as for all the stuffed trophy animals and the photos of 50 foot high piles of buffalo skulls and mountains of bones you see in old photos in museums all over the Hills... well, don't get me started.

Rules of thumb:

If you ain't gonna eat 'em, don't shoot 'em.

If you want something for your wall, use a camera.

I herewith reluctantly abstain from the almost obligatory final epithet.

Michael Sanborn said...

I don't know any responsible hunter who leaves game in the field to rot, with the exception of prairie dogs and blackbirds, both of which are killed for management purposes and neither of which should be allowed to suffer.

I know it's a thin line Bill, that's why it irritates me when someone so blatantly crosses it.

Moose are not managed in South Dakota because we don't have any. If we had too many, I would support a season on them. And, by the way, the meat makes a fine stew.