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Shooting hogs from choppers is not hunting
Mar 12, 2013 4:00 pm
Outdoor Life Magazine was once among the most read and respected outdoor periodicals in the country.
But its ethics, judgment and plain common sense come into question in light of a recent feature about shooting wild hogs from a helicopter with automatic weapons.
The story is titled “The Million-Dollar Pig,” in reference to the fact that the “hunt” utilized about $1 in equipment and gear, counting the chopper.
The so-called hunt took place in Texas. It was represented as a control measure for feral hogs.
The shooters, sitting in the chopper’s open doorway, used automatic weapons to mow down hogs as they ran across open fields.
The author boasted that one shooter “put down 18 hogs in a matter of minutes.”
That’s not “hunting” by any stretch of the term, and a story endorsing such a slaughter doesn’t belong in an outdoors magazine that decades ago formulated the U.S. Conservation Pledge.
Texas, like Tennessee and several other states, is faced with a wild pig explosion, and are taking drastic measures to reduce the population of the potentially-destructive animals.
In vast wild expanses it is difficult to find and kill the crafty and elusive wild hogs by traditional hunting methods. Tennessee permits trapping and shooting hogs at night.
However, if such extreme measures as shooting the hogs with machine guns from a helicopter is the only way to eliminate them (and personally I don’t buy that) then call it “extermination” not “hunting.”
It’s more akin to slaughtering livestock at a stockyard than it is to hunting.
Yet Outdoor Life reports: “Shooting pigs from a helicopter is a specialized and expensive method of hunting.”
The author may be right about being specialized and expensive, but he’s wrong about the hunting part. It’s not hunting, and it has no place being represented as such in a once-responsible hunting publication.
Why should legitimate hunters should care about someone slaughtering animals – even wild hogs -- from a helicopter? Here’s why:
It makes us all look bad, especially when it is portrayed as legitimate hunting and is endorsed by a major hunting magazine.
The anti-hunting factions don’t separate the good from the bad, the ethical from the unethical. They lump the vast majority of the good with the small percentage of the bad. They paint all shooters and hunters with the same wide brush.
At a time when guns and hunting are in a cross-fire from many directions, the last thing we need is for Outdoor Life to suggest that slaughtering animals from a helicopter is “hunting.”
When non-hunters see a story in a hunting magazine about herds of animals being mowed down by a machine gun from a hovering helicopter, they say to themselves: “So THAT’S hunting?”
The answer is, no it’s not. To suggest that it is tarnishes the image of real hunting and provides fodder for the anti-hunting forces.
Every legitimate hunter should be upset about the story, and Outdoor Life should be ashamed for running it.