There have been a lot of events creating controversy in recent years relating to the humanity of various types of varmint hinting. This issue has been "spun" by the media and the animal rights groups in various ways.The following is a series of conversations between John-Henry, a new web friend, and myself. I was so impressed with the topic that I made it into an article.
Nice page you built. It has a really clean look to it, and the writing is first-rate as well (I've got a VT, and I couldn't agree more with what you say).
I want to mention one thing to you, and I hope that you don't take it the wrong way, although I'm becoming resigned to people calling me bad little kitty-cat names whenever I broach this subject. I've got some severe reservations about the whole "Red Mist" thing, and a title like "Exploding Groundhog Productions" is really jarring, especially since your page doesn't glorify the "chunks" thing like some of the dogging pages.
I'm a strong advocate of justifying our "harvest" of furbearers or predators or nuisance animals, whether for pelts and skulls and claws and whatnot, or as a means of damage control, or what have you.
Here in AZ they are holding public meetings statewide to discuss a rule change prohibiting "contest hunting" for predators, and the whole hysteria arose over a proposed "Predator Hunt Extreme" that never got off the ground.
It's all Politically Correct bullshit, by and large, but when being politically correct means avoiding a law that may well ultimately shut down calling I can pick and choose my words with the best of them. You are probably familiar with the recent broadcast that ran on one of the Turner stations concerning the prairie dog, and you probably know that the slant was "cute, cuddly, intelligent, family-oriented animal." I live in ranching country, and I know first-hand how those cute little things tear up range-land. I don't shed a tear over the thought that fellas set up on the edge of dog towns and send the little devils to hell by the hundreds, but I DON'T ADVERTISE "RED MIST" SENTIMENTS, EITHER.
When I speak to someone I highlight the damage that they do, the various alternatives to control their numbers (toxins that spread through the ecosystem, etc) and I try to cast control shooting in the most positive light that I can. This doesn't include graphic utterances like "He's draggin’ his guts."
Hunting, in general, is under full-scale attack from the Animal Rights crowd, and I think that it behooves us to accentuate the good things in our sport, and leave the negatively perceived stuff unmentioned. A groundhog recipe that serves four goes lots further toward mollifying the uncommitted voters in our body politic than the picture of a rifleman out there blowing hogs up and leaving the pieces scattered through the alfalfa. Make no mistake; the Animal Rights folks are coming for us, and a "fuck them" attitude is not going to prevent more ballot initiatives and more curbs on our rights to hunt and fish. The only defense against them is the same kind of political action that they so successfully engage in. I'd rather try to present a front that people can accept than I would spend jail time because the urban population of AZ responded to television ads and criminalized something that I've done all of my life.
I hope that you'll take this e-mail in the spirit that it was written, and not as a personal attack.
No, I do not take that opinion wrong at all. I have had the same conversations about the "Red Mist" thing myself. One of my favorite sites is "Varmint Vapor Vestry". I love it, but I also think is a serious potential for harm (in regards to content)<---pay attention here. I do not think it is in good taste to show pictures of exploded varmints on the web, and I will never do it! My name and logo are a cartoon. I call myself Godzilla for gosh sakes! It is a joke, an alter ego, not reality-like the RoadRunner and Coyote cartoons. That is as far as it will ever go. EGP is obnoxious, not offensive. The name is meant to catch your attention, not lead you to pages filled with gopher guts. I have never taken a picture of any trophy I have taken, ever. The worst displays of mass killings are in the "Varmint Hunters" magazine.
The City Smasher (not really)
You bet it's all right with me. If I write it, it's because I believe it, and I think that it's a debate that needs to be aired amongst us. I was up in PX this past weekend to address the Mesa Varmint Callers Club, and while I was there I had the pleasure of meeting a fella who skins and tans his own pelts (the right way, and he ends up with beautiful, soft furs). He has developed a market for his hides.
To me that's a benefit, not only for him economically, but to the entire sport, and I'm anxious to learn myself (and God knows that I'm prepared, seeing that I have a chest freezer with about 100 coyote hides in it). I think that lots of people would be willing to put in the time and effort to tan, if they only knew how, and if they could justify the work by making a few dollars.
I was raised to use what I killed, and the early lessons are the ones that stick, I suppose, but it rankles me that so many of my peers consider the coyote beneath respect. They kill them and let them lay and never think twice, and it just doesn't sit well with me.
Anyhow, feel free to use this or the other e-mail in any way that you see fit. It's high time that we begin to present a more united front, and the only way that we can do that is to iron out our differences and build a platform that we can all be comfortable with.
With that said:
As much as I've wrestled with this issue, I'm still not sure that I've articulated the thing that troubles me accurately. It has something to do with the arrogance of the "shoot and let 'em lay" crowd, as well as a Great Depression-era philosophy instilled in me by my father; a "waste not, want not" philosophy.
Chairman Mao, in his "Little Red Book," wrote:
"Power comes from the barrel of a gun."
Which he meant in a political and revolutionary context, but it holds true in some ways for the hunter as well. A firearm confers power on the shooter and not a lightly considered powers either. The movement of a trigger finger and the incremental travel of a sear control the life of the hunter’s target. Make no mistake; I'm not some New Age crystal-gazer, and I don't share any mystical bond with coyotes or any other animal, but I'm not a "slay 'em and lay 'em" guy either. I grew up on a rifle and a fishing rod and traps, and I can still remember the first fur check that I got from the buyer when I was 12 or 13 years old.
I don't know if there is any meaningful correlation between drive-by shootings in the cities and the casual shooting of signs and windmills and jackrabbits, but there is something going on with people wielding firearms without a proper appreciation of the dynamics involved. Traditional hunter-gatherer societies evolved elaborate rituals surrounding the hunt and the kill, thanking the spirit of the animal for surrendering it's life to feed the tribe or what have you, and implicit in those rituals and ceremonies was the stark reality that without that meat starvation was a real possibility.
In our contemporary, high-tech, packaged, processed, coddled society, not too many people hunt on a naked subsistence level; you miss a deer, you stop at Wendy's or McD's. No harm, no foul. There is no looming, oppressive drive to harvest your dinner for the next couple of weeks. That doesn't mean that hunters ought not to approach their sport and their quarry with some respect, though. That's what Ethics are all about; in the same fashion that there are no atheists in the trenches. There are no "ethical" considerations when you are hungry; you torch the prairie, drive animals over cliffs, take baby birds from nests, shoot elephants with poisoned arrows under the tail and trail them for two days; you do whatever it is that you have to do to eat.
Ethics are the product of civilization and leisure, a philosophical expression, if you will. The contemporary "ethos" is inexorably moving away from what PETA and it's ilk characterize as "blood sport," but you might as well try to explain quantum mechanics to an illiterate, or God to a pagan, as try to convey to those folks why it is that you hunt.
I know why I hunt; it's an expression of an instinct that got me here to begin with, an extension of a behavior that man practiced since he came down from the trees. I have a family tree that stretches back hundreds of thousands of years, filled with successful hunters (because the unsuccessful ones died, and didn't breed).
This is the thing, though; the "rules" are such that ballot initiatives, carefully slanted television commercials, emotional appeals, and focused manipulations of urban populations are tolling the death knell of my right to hunt in a responsible manner. Unless my fellows and I craft a platform and present a united front the days are numbered when we can hunt with the countenance of our society and the law.
To come full circle, that's why I so strongly advocate utilization and benefit arguments. I call coyotes in order to harvest fur, or I call coyotes in a targeted situation to alleviate predation. I call when coyotes have prime pelts. I don't attempt to don the mantle of "suppression" that even the Federal Animal Damage Control boys have abandoned. I recognize the role of predators in the eco-system, while at the same time recognizing the role of the hunter in keeping predator populations from spiraling out of control. The resulting devastating impact on prey populations and the ultimate arbitration of Nature through disease vectors and die-offs brought about by starvation.
I don't call and kill coyotes because I consider them to be "vermin," I don't call coyotes because I love to hear the "splat" of the bullet, I don't call coyotes as a simple expression of my power to take life.
It's first and foremost a personal thing, but I also think that it's an argument that plays better than the "Red Mist" philosophy. There is an implicit callousness in the "chunks" paradigm that is difficult to justify. I've already seen enough behavior, that I consider to be private, criminalized that I don't fancy watching the brush with one eye and the sky with another, hoping to surreptitiously shoot a coyote before the helicopter discovers me.
One of our earlier Chief Justices wrote an opinion that said in part;
Unfortunately, the dominant paradigm has shifted a long ways away from the philosophy that the Framers of the Constitution held, and like my ancestors who burned the prairie, I'm willing to be somewhat flexible in my approach to combating the threat to my right to hunt. If it takes a logical, reasoned, defensible presentation, as opposed to a "I'll do any goddamned thing I want to" stance, I'm willing to be P.C. to that extent (Even though I really just want to be left the hell alone.)
First of all, let me just say that it is rare, I mean rare, to hear thoughts so succinctly expressed. I am in awe of your writing ability. I can see this going to be interesting...
I had a conversation with my sister-in-law the other day. She was telling me about one of her girlfriends who is a vegetarian. This friend was a political vegetarian, she chose not to eat meat based on the fact that it was cruel to kill an animal and eat it. She did not choose this lifestyle based on the fact that being a vegetarian was beneficial to ones health, or that meat just tasted bad. This woman believes that it is evil to eat animals. Not only does she believe it is evil for her to eat animals, but it is also evil that I eat animals.
Here is the defining difference. Read that again if you need to…
If I kill and eat my own, or go to McD's, it would not make any difference. I am a twisted meat eater who conflicts with the ideals of her lifestyle. This is the point of political correctness that I would argue. In this person's mind, the only remedy to the situation of animal cruelty I that I become a vegetarian. Well, screw that. If God had intended for man to be a vegetarian he would not have made the cheeseburger.Ignorance, brother, ignorance. I only have so much effect on it....
These people of which you speak (the PETA type), will never be satisfied with anything less than the total eradication of the animal killing culture-in all of its forms. These people don't care if you harvest furs, kill for meat, etc. It is all taboo…
Have you ever heard of a heavy metal band called "The Chainsaw Kittens"? Well, maybe not, they were hot for about two minutes in the 80's. Animal rights groups never protested their gigs based on the fact that their name implied cruelty to cats. It would be equally ridiculous to say that a web site is cruel to animals based on a shocking name.
I digress... (By the way, I am keeping the name and the logo).
Let's talk about groundhogs for a minute shall we?
I live in Ohio. Ohio is a very rural farm state. Corn, beans, hay, you name it, they got it. Five minutes from the city will get you right in the middle of "farm-o-rama". I shoot groundhogs. I shot 55 this year and worked my ass off for every one of them. Everyone that allows me to hunt in their fields considers groundhogs "vermin". I have hunted in bean fields that were absolutely torn to hell by groundhog colonies. I have seen hole so big that a full-grown man could crawl into them. I have seen crop circles 50' feet across, cut out in the baby beans, surrounding a hog hole. I don't have to get PETA's permission to kill a mouse under my stove. Even most squeamish types will put a mousetrap in their kitchen to get rid of the occasional guest. I see no difference in my services.
Nobody hates the Orkin man...
"Raid kills bugs dead."
Ever hear that before?
"Godzilla kills groundhogs dead"
"Just doin' mah job, ma'am..."
Don't even get me started on prairie dogs... Not one single rancher that I met in South Dakota wanted to see his p-dogs disappear. They love their p-dogs in South Dakota. These ranchers did not want to poison their dogs because the poisons kill everything. Everything... Smart dogs, dumb dogs, old dogs, young dogs. Poison is not a good thing for the living. Trust me, I looked it up... The ranchers can only tolerate so many square miles of our fine-barking friends. Shooting is the only way to control the rate of population. Shooting only gets the dumb and the young. The breeders rarely show themselves to the shooter.
I have no patience for the wackos who claim the p-dogs are endangered. I see no possibility of this assertion, at least anywhere I have been where dog towns are common.
There are enough p-dogs in one town to equal the entire world population of some species of big game animals.
These people are pissed that we don't have p-dogs running around in all of our back yards. I have heard numbers relating to dog population, they relate to numbers from the 19th century. Hello! The one thing missing here is the insertion of all of these damn humans. It has just ruined the p-dog population! Let's all get bison for house pets, so we can the population back up.
This is insane... have you ever had a conversation with someone who is truly insane? I have. I used to work in a hospital. Insane people are "in-sane". They are not sane. Their sanity has left them. They are bereft of sanity. Sanity has left the building! They make no sense.
Why waste your breath, they will not get it. Ever!
"Takeoff?" he said. "Can we handle that much torque?"
We need to be concerned about something I call "Legislation by Lawsuit". What is happening is that the P.C., largely Liberal, Democrat Lawyers are achieving in court what they have not been able to achieve in Congress, which operates theoretically on the will of the people. If they can not pass laws to protect us from ourselves, then they sue the manufacturers and sellers of the products they deem to be evil. As applied to guns, you may still be legally able to buy a gun, it will just cost you a lot more as gun manufacturers spend more money on lawsuits, instead of trying to build a better product for a lesser amount of money. Even if the anti-gun people lose in court, they still win, because they cause prices to go up.What we need to consider is that there is a widespread movement out there to save all of us from ourselves.
I do not smoke, in fact I am a rabid non-smoker, but anyone who picked up a cigarette after 1965, knows what they are getting into. It may be cruel, but if you smoke for 40 years and die from lung cancer, well if you started after 1965, you knew the risks, ignored them, and now you pay. It is not pretty, but it is how life works. The cigarette companies, and now the gun companies are being sued for the way they market their products. No one is saying that Ruger, Colt, Beretta, or Smith and Wesson is making an inherently unsafe gun, the anti gun people sued them and won for "irresponsible marketing". The argument is that these companies dumped product on distributors in Virginia, and that the gun manufacturers knew that the guns would end up used to commit crimes by criminals in New York City, Baltimore and other large cities in the northeast which have restrictions on handguns. What is next, do we sue Chevrolet the next time somebody kills themselves in a truck by rolling it down an embankment because Chevy truck ads are rife with images of off-road fun? Or how about we get a consortium together and sue Penthouse because the pictures inside inspire 16 year old boys to want to have sex with 16 year old girls which results in unwanted pregnancies and disease.Better yet, KFC still has those bones in chicken, we could all choke on a chicken bone and die.
KFC needs to be sued out of existence. When that happens, I have a plan to get filthy rich. I plan to buy up all of the surplus KFC sporks when KFC goes under and resell them to the public at a huge premium when the metal eating utensil companies go out of business because steak knives and metal forks can be used as offensive weapons, and in a pinch as shrapnel for bomb building material. You will all be begging me for my sporks, you know why? Because you can’t eat bean curd with your hands, and bean curd will be the only food left that doesn’t offend the PETA people, or any other less than 1% group that yells like they are a majority, or bean curd also does not cause heart disease in computer generated models of lab rats.
I have not hunted deer since I was a kid. I think I will kill and eat one this year just to piss off a liberal. While I am at it, I am going to ride my motorcycle past a Gay-Lesbian love day rally on one wheel, with the throttle bouncing off the rev limiter, at over 100 miles per hour, with a banner that says "kiss my straight white ass!"
Come to think of it,
I think I also need a case or three of ammunition for both of my High Powers and my shotgun, and the AR-15 variant I will own soon, just in case some queer, long haired, dope-smokin’, talking bad about his country PETA member comes snooping around my house on Jan 1, 2000, looking for something to eat because his ATM card won’t give him any cash to allow him to go to the supermarket and buy some bean curd. Or maybe I will just hit him upside the head with the frozen deer head I will have, just for that occasion.
"PETA member found with deer antler imbedded in nostril, story at ten".
Yeah, hit him with a frozen deer head, I like the sound of that....GZ