The Sporting Life?

As a rule I never watch hunting or fishing shows. I consider them to be only slightly less boring than those half-hour infomercials for “guaranteed” weight-loss potions or real-estate schemes.
But last night I did turn up the volume on a hunting show, mainly because I wanted to know just what that funny, goat-type creature being stalked was. Turns out it was a Himalayan tahr, a type of very large mountain goat. (Walt will be happy to know that the tahr is an artiodactyl, just like Rudolph and all his other reindeer friends.)
Now, I am not anti-hunting per se. I see no problem with hunting for food or to control pests, so long as the laws and sportsman’s code are followed. But I do take a rather dim view of hunting purely for the thrill of shooting something and having some part of it mounted on your wall.
I also question the TV hunter’s claim that his tahr-hunt had been a challenge. He was certainly well-equipped for the challenge, with his high-powered rifle and scope. He also said that it took him two-and-a-half hours before he found the tahr he eventually shot. Wow, two-and-a-half hours! Doesn’t he realize that “real” (as in, not on TV) hunters often stay out for days and still come back empty-handed? Most of them would probably be glad to bag their prize after a couple hours.
And having looked up the tahr on Wikipedia, I am not so sure about the ethics of hunting it at all. According to Wiki, the tahr’s conservation status in its native habitat (central Asia) is “near threatened.” It’s been introduced deliberately into New Zealand, New Mexico, California, South Africa, the Alps and Ontario. I don’t know why it was introduced elsewhere, as Wiki says the animals are considered pests in large herds. Nor do I know where exactly our TV sportsman was doing his hunting, but I presume it was somewhere in America.
I see several problems here. One, why was the tahr introduced into other areas of the world? To try and protect it? Then why allow it to be hunted in the protected areas? More to the point, if it’s “near threatened” why allow it to be hunted for sport at all? The TV show made no mention of the tahrs being considered destructive in the given area, so apparently they weren’t being culled to protect farm or grazing land.
I’m sure nothing strictly illegal was being done, or it wouldn’t have been on the show. But something doesn’t have to be strictly illegal to be unethical or of questionable ethics. I think most of us know that.
An irrelevant postscript: Mr. Assassin’s Rifle did his hunting clad in a big warm-looking flannel shirt and hiking boots. For a while that appeared to be all he was wearing, as his legs between the bottom of the long shirt and the tops of his socks and boots were bare. He actually appeared to be pantsless! Luckily for all concerned, he did eventually prove to be wearing fairly short shorts under his shirt.

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10 Responses to “The Sporting Life?”

  1. Antoine Says:

    I’d only watch if the tahr were armed with an assault rifle to even things a bit. The human hunter could then cry out, “Why, what in tahr-nation?”, right before a burst of gunfire made his fairly short shorts even shorter.

  2. Walt Says:

    Hmmmm. . . well I didn’t see the show but I do know that some hunting preserves import animals. The preserves will offer hunters the chance to hunt exotic animals without the travel expense or the regulations of a foreign government. Of course the reserves have to get approval through the appropriate governing body here in the U. S. The reserves control the herd size through breeding and harvesting programs. Oh and yes they do turn a dollar on the deal I am sure.

    • ghostscribe Says:

      Oh, of course. I doubt very much they’d go through it if they couldn’t turn a profit on it, large herd or no large herd.

      • Walt Says:

        They do make hunting look way to easy on television but they do have to get the hunt over in 30 minutes and keep the consumers interest. . . not good for business if the hunter leaves the reserve without getting a trophy. This type of hunting is like going to walmart, hard not to come home with meat.

      • ghostscribe Says:

        I have a terrific idea for a hunting reality show: “Forest Farce,” a collection of hunting-related mishaps. Poison ivy! Uncooperative hunting dogs! Skunks! Friendly fire! Wouldn’t that be great?!

      • Walt Says:

        hmmm, poison oak, chiggers, snakes, getting lost, broken compass, falling in the marsh etc. . . . .the friendly fire may be a little to much. . . . oh and of course the potty humor episodes. Of course I would think you would incorporate fishing mishaps as well. . .

      • ghostscribe Says:

        But of course! Fish-hook impalement, shocking encounters with electric eels, aggressive birds who steal the catch…

      • Walt Says:

        . . . are you getting your production crew together?

      • ghostscribe Says:

        Negotiations are in the works.

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