Sprawl Is Killing Hunting

And the country is better for it.

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Hunting is a so-called sport that I have never understood. Taking pleasure in the destruction of another living being is unfathomable to me. And the claim that it is challenging is bunk. I've had so many deer freeze right in front of me and continue to stand and stare after I shout and clap at them to run away, an infant with a BB gun could have easily shot them.

I've witnessed whale hunting in Alaska by native Inuits sporting high-powered, scoped, elaborate weapons. They eat at chain restaurants and shop at chain grocery stores in Barrow, Alaska. They inhabit mobile homes with huge satellite dishes so they can watch 500 channels, and they claim the need to "harvest" whales for subsistence living. There's not an igloo or spear in sight. It's a sorry, sorry spectacle.

Luckily for nearby residents and for the animals, hunting is becoming a dying sport.

In the past few years, such groups as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association representing the firearms industry, the National Rifle Association, and the National Wild Turkey Federation have all tried to bolster the "sport" with training programs designed to inure young Americans to the cruelty of hunting and to portray it as a family event and an American heritage.

The Christian Science Monitor reported three years ago: 

Hunting and gun groups are active for a reason. Between the mid-1990s and 2001, the number of hunters dropped 7 percent to about 13 million, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. By 2025, that number is projected to drop 24 percent to about 9.9 million, according to a recent study conducted for pro-hunting organizations. 

Time is not on the side of those who would slaughter animals for pleasure. America's fast-growing population is spreading urbanization and suburbanization like smallpox. On the downside, it's degrading the quality of life for many Americans. But on the upside, it is gobbling up much of the open space hunters used to traffic in search of "game." Urban and suburban sophisticates aren't drawn to hunting, which is mainly entertainment for rural folk. But there's less of rural America these days and, with it, fewer rural citizens wanting to hunt.

  • Read more by Bonnie Erbe.
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