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The many myths from hunters

Once again, it is hunting season, time for the myths that abound regarding this blood sport.

Hunters claim that they kill the weak and starving animals, thus helping the population. In actuality, hunters want the biggest and the best, those with a huge rack for the mantle trophy. Diseased animals don’t provide much optimal meat and, of course, isn’t that what hunting is all about? Nature’s own system of balance allows the debilitated, old animals to die out in favor of “survival of the fittest.” But when hunters are killing the dominant, healthy animals, the best genes are removed from the herd’s gene pool – as are the most experienced individuals – which leaves the population weak.Here are four more hunting myths:

∎ Hunting prevents the overpopulation of animals.

Actually, hunting creates an overabundance of animals of a certain species. Nature abhors a vacuum. For example, when a given amount of deer are removed from the herd by hunting, females will have more and bigger litters to fill up the gap.

∎ Hunted animals don’t suffer.

Wild animals are terrorized by the chase and agonized by the kill. Their families, herds and flocks are disrupted. It is estimated that for every animal a hunter kills and claims, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully from blood loss, infection or starvation. Those who don’t die can suffer permanent injury. During hunting season, wild animals are more likely to get hit by a vehicle as they flee into the road when hunters walk through their territory.

∎ Hunters pay the majority of the tab for conservation.

In reality, wildlife management and conservation programs receive up to 90 percent of their funds from general tax reserves, more than 90 percent of which are paid by non-hunters. Since less than 5 percent of the U.S. population hunts, this contribution is negligible. Every year, thousands of public acres are bulldozed, burned, replanted and otherwise manipulated to kill off non-target species (including natural predators) and attract game species. Animals are also bred or captured to stock hunting and fishing areas.

∎ Hunters help feed the homeless by donating meat from their kills.

A recent interesting study by Michael Gregor at Nutritionfacts.org showed that in game meat tested, 80 percent had lead bullet fragments in the samples. Nobody, including the homeless, needs more fat and cholesterol, found in meat, in their diet. More fruits, vegetables and protein from plant sources should be consumed daily.

What can you do to stop hunting? Oppose any legislation, national or local, that establishes higher quotas of animals to be hunted, lengthens hunting seasons, allows new species to be hunted. Speak out against any bills that open more wildlife refuges to hunting. Refuges should protect, not allow animals to be killed. If you own a substantial parcel of land, post it against hunting and trapping.

It is encouraging that every year fewer people hunt in the United States. The state Fish and Game Department’s income has decreased considerably, which is why the agency is constantly reaching out to get women, youth and the handicapped to purchase hunting licenses.

Hunting today is unnecessary and is more detrimental to animals and the environment than beneficial. Enjoy wildlife by “hunting” with a camera.

(Barbara J. Bonsignore lives in Concord.)

Legacy Comments16

HMMMMMMMMMMM . . . . . . . If someone wrote a column rebutting this one . . . and the Monitor never updated their website . . . would that mean that the rebuttal column did not in fact exist???

Many of the posters are correct, but the comment in this column that made me laugh out loud is the one that suggested hunters are extremely picky about the size of the animal they take. While none that I know would take a sickly looking animal, I don't know of any who would sit out all day looking for meat for their family, and pass up several opportunities because they weren't the biggest animals. Most hunters are lucky to see a deer and will take what they can find. "I didn't see a thing" is the comment you hear, not "I saw a lot of deer, but I didn't shoot any because they just weren't big enough"!

Wow, Ms Bonsignore is so off base that I do not know where to begin. Seeing how her article is void of facts, lets start there. First no hunter claims to take out the weak or starving. However by harvesting a certain number of animals each year it keeps them from overpopulating. Case and point, Irondaquoit, NY and area where there was “no hunting” had citizens in a uproar because of the automobile accidents and deer eating all the vegetation out of their yards. Sharpshooters were brought in at night and killed hundreds of deer. Sporting you say? I think not. Now that bow hunting is allowed in that area, problem solved. FACT – The Pitman Robertson act of 1937 levies a tax on all hunting related purchases, ammo, guns, etc. That money does support the majority of conservation efforts. Feel free to follow this link on what the act does, good article. http://www.fws.gov/southeast/federalaid/pittmanrobertson.html FACT-There are more deer now, due to proper game management than at the turn of the century. FACT – Hunters do support homeless shelters with the donation of venison. Have no idea where you got the percentage of 80% of the venison donated is NG. If this was the case, I have eaten venison for the last 40 years, every year, I guess I should be dead. FACT- Venison is lean, low on cholesterol, high in protein in comparison to beef or pork. FACT- Deer are in the rut in the fall, they travel wide areas in search of a mate. This, along with hunters, hikers, bikers, 4 wheelers, horseback riders, push deer onto the highways. Do we ban all these activities? As a reporter you should be unbiased in your reporting. If this is all your opinion, you are entitled to it, however if you are reporting for the monitor, get your facts, do your homework.

This is the same poster that was encouraging her neighbors to turn in any neighbor that tied their dog up outside in the yard. I think we all reember that small island on Winni that got overpopulated with deer a few years back. It was a small island about 2 miles long that had hundreds of dear on it that the folks kept feeding like they were pets. Then the folks like this poster were up in arms about how the dying overpopulation of the deer population needed to be solved. They had bow hunters in there and folks were against the killing of the deer. Tried tranquilizing with the idea of relocating them etc. It was a mess, went on a long time and cost a lot of taxpayers money. Hunting does keep the population at a level that prevents overpopulation. They die from hunger if there are too many of them. Most folks I know who hunt do so for food for their families. And many have no trophy heads on their mantels. Obviously we are doing something right as we have had an emergence of many species of animals here in NH. Good forest mangement, and open lands helps all animals. So does hunting.

Well said Dan and Van! And I agree about the quality and quantity of the herd. They are everywhere. I got mine in Wilmot Flat. One of the biggest does I have ever seen.

Barbara J Bonsignore - For the Monitor?!?!?! FOR THE MONITOR?!?!?! This is in the "columns" section - shouldn't it be in the "letters" section? I mean - unless it's a "my turn" column - which is not clear from the way it's portrayed online.

Miss Bonsignore appears to be a very passionate woman in regards wildlife, but the obvious fact is what she states in her article is nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. Miss Bonsignore states in her article “Hunters claim that they kill the weak and starving animals, thus helping the population. In actuality, hunters want the biggest and the best, those with a huge rack for the mantle trophy.” I can easily refute the first sentence in the quote by using the Kaibab Plateau as a good example. As for the second sentence there are those who hunt for the rack to mount on the wall, but most of the hunters hunt for the meat. Miss Bosignore speaks about the “survival of the fittest” for the deer species. As every hunter knows deer are very smart and those with the very big racks have grown to be old, not be cause they are lucky, but because they are smart. They have passed on their genes. Miss Bonsignore brings to light the funding of conservation, but does not state the source of her statistics, here again another unsubstantiated opinion. She continues by stating, “Animals are also bred or captured to stock hunting and fishing areas.” This statement, although true, is not isolated to wild-game type animals, but also other types of domestic meat and fish. The only difference is that the wild-game animals have a chance to survive. To echo her earlier statement “survival of the fittest”, this cannot be said of domestic beef, their fate is certainly death. Miss Bonsignore cites a study on lead that was found in game meat. Nutritionfacts.org does highlight a study that states the fact there was lead fragments found in game meat when x-rayed. The sample-size was only 30 carcasses and does not stated how many carcasses did not contain lead fragments. Dr. Greger’s notes also reflect that protein powder supplements and other animal products also contain lead. She also continued to state, “Nobody, including the homeless, needs more fat and cholesterol, found in meat, in their diet.” This is a true statement, but consuming wild game meat is healthier for you than any type of domestically raised meat. The University of Wyoming published an article on the nutrition of game meat entitled: Nutrional Content of Game Meat. This study can be found at www.wyomingextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B920R.pdf Some may disagree with me, but I do admire Miss Bonsignore’s passion for this topic, but I is obvious that her passion is misguided. If Miss Bonsignore is reading this reply, please consider taking a Hunter Education course and attend with an open mind, you may be surprised with what your learn.

OMG, Please bring back Dan Williams and get an accurate prospective on Hunting. Today the NH deer herd couldn't be more healthy thanks to the NH sportsman and the NH Fish and Game and Wildlife Biologists. As the son of a true animal lover and a hunter this author brings out some good points about the suffering and waste of wounded deer but the rest of this article is bunk. Thanks to revenues from big game hunters the reintroduction wild turkey to NH has made a huge comeback. Seeing flock of wild turkey leaves me in awe.

The Many Myths from Anti-Hunters Mrs. Bonsignore presented an interesting argument against hunting and the myths attached to why hunting should be allowed. Unfortunately, very little of her points were based on facts, and those that had some resemblance of facts were not given full detail. • Hunting creates an overabundance of animals of a certain species. The myth stated that when hunters take a species, the female will actually give birth to larger ‘litters’ in order to fill the gap. According to biologists this statement is entirely false. Animals tend to overproduce naturally. Using figures from state biologists, the wildlife departments are capable of determining proper bag limits in order to manage the species’ population. In the case of deer, the overpopulation can create a number of issues. First, disease can strike and kill as much as 70% of a local population. Second, deer eat natural cover for other species such as quail and grouse. In the southern states quail habitat has been decimated by deer. • Hunted animals suffer. The myth here is animals suffer from people hunting them. I will acknowledge one point here; a wounded animal can suffer. As for the suffering from the ‘chase’, this is just a ridiculous claim. As far as deer, they are hunted daily from the time they are born. Not from humans, but from other predators. It is part of their lifestyle, as it is for all other creatures in nature. Predators eat other animals, meaning they hunt them. Predators do not have a ‘season’ they are allowed to hunt their prey. As for Mrs. Bonsignore’s claim that more deer are killed in traffic during the hunting season, she is only partly right. They are killed because hunting season coincides with the rut, not because people are causing them to run in the road. • Hunters do not fund the wildlife conservation programs. Again, the accusation is based on half truths. Most states (I could not check all 50 states but feel free to yourself) do not support wildlife conservation programs with the general fund as made by Mrs. Bonsignore’s claim. In fact, states are now worried about where funding will come from next year with the threat of the Pittman-Robertson funds going to the general fund with the fiscal cliff looming in front of us. Her claim was taken by a talking point by animal rights activists that states the Migratory Conservation Fund only supports 3% of the National Wildlife Refuge system. She has cherry picked one program to try to make a point. • Donated meat from hunters is unhealthy. Mrs. Bonsignore claims people do not need to eat the fat and cholesterol associated with meat and as much as 80% contained lead. Again, I will touch each claim. First, wild game is much healthier than store bought meats. The wild game lead more active lifestyles (remember, they are constantly running for their lives!) meaning they have less fat and their cholesterol levels are significantly less than raised animals. In reference to 80% of the meat containing lead, this is again a partial truth. In the testing Mrs. Bonsignore referenced, 24 of 30 deer carcasses processed contained lead fragments. The story not told is 234 packages were made from the 30 deer. Of the 234 packages, 32% (or 74 packages) contained a minimum of 1 lead fragment. In this case, deer meat taken by firearms should likely be dealt with just as fish or alligator with mercury exposure. Eat, enjoy, but limit the amounts. Now, Mrs. Bonsignore also applauded the decline in hunters as a win for anti-hunters. Unfortunately for Mrs. Bonsignore, she is once again wrong. According to the US Fish and Wildlife service, 2011 marked the most hunters in over a decade. Just another example of Mrs. Bonsignore making up her own ‘facts’. Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for several newspapers and the blog BillHowardOutdoors.com. He is also a hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) instructor.

This woman should do better research on hunting and who funds the fish and game budget. Further more wildlife meat is better for human consumption than store bought meat. There is no cholesterol in wildlife. no chemicals in there. If an animal dies the predetors wolves and others clean it up. Fish and Game get their money from us hunters who purchase licenses. I urge all womnen men and youths take up fishing, and hunting. I enjoy hunting and yes as a hunter I enjoy watching the wild life. Now Deer on;ly have 1 or 2 fawns a year. I suggest this lady do her research before she continues tomake a fool of herself.

Deer do not have litters. I am a biologist. 1-2 fawns is common, triplets are possible. They don't increase the size of their litters. Not only is the terminology incorrect, so is the entire assertion.

If you have ever purchased meat from a grocery store you have no right to criticize someone who actually allows animals a chance to escape. Free range organic meat is healthy. Have you ever thought about how animals die without human intervention? Do you think they peacefully go to sleep? No, they die being eaten alive by predators. Or, they starve to death because their teeth fall out as they age. Their natural predators, humans, are the most merciful route. Also, your statistics are wrong. Period. General fund numbers are so far off you should be ashamed. Readers, please check the stats for yourself. This lady would get an F if she were writing a class paper.

My primary quarrel with some hunters is the insistence on describing hunting as a sport. A hunter has, say, a 7mm magnum with a variable scope with range finder on it. After locating his prey with 60X binoculars, he fires a 140 grain bullet at 3100 feet per second. At 300 yards, it takes the bullet roughly .29 seconds to reach its target. This is sport? Talk to me about needing to supplement the family's pantry, but don't try to tell me that the animal has a chance in this competition. Arm the deer and moose, and then we'll talk sports.

I got one this year! However, the cost to repair the Freightliner was more that the Ground Venison was worth in my humble opinion.

ridiculous comments

This woman is completely and unbelievably wrong in her facts and comments regarding wildlife management. Did you know there is no general fund for te nh fish and game dept and that subsidies from Licenses pay for these projects. also the bigger older bucks are taken to allow for the younger deer to prevail and help with "winter Kill". if you are an anti- hunter then that is your right....but please get your facts right regarding wildlife management practices and opinions regarding the integrity of people who do hunt.

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