Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hunting is not a Spectator Sport

Theresa Vail and her Outdoor Channel crew.
"ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former beauty queen who hosts an Outdoor Channel adventure show illegally shot an Alaska grizzly bear and conspired to cover up the violation, according to charges filed in a rural state court. Theresa Vail, 25, of Wichita, Kansas, the star of 'Limitless with Theresa Vail,' is charged with killing a grizzly bear in May without possessing a state bear tag for the animal. Investigators say she held a single bear tag and shot a male grizzly bear, attempted to kill it with a second shot, and instead fired and killed a second bear, a sow grizzly. Vail also is charged with unsworn falsification, another misdemeanor. Prosecutor Aaron Peterson in a criminal complaint said Vail signed and backdated a big game tag record to make it appear she had purchased the tag before shooting the bear." -- from U.S. News and World Report 

The Outdoor Channel describes the show as "the compelling story of a young, grass roots, red-blooded, all-American woman who is on a mission to overcome stereotypes, break barriers, and use her life story as a platform to help transform people's opinions of all the things a woman should, could and can be."

I describe the show as "the tragic story of how modern-day hunting has been grossly commercialized and turned into crass entertainment to appeal to the lowest common denominator in which a guide tells a beauty queen when and where to shoot and then attempts to cover up the illegal killing of a grizzly bear for greed, profit and ego while pretending they are 'hunters' out 'hunting'"

This is the second "har har hunting hero" celebrity from the Sportsmen Channel recently caught poaching. This is what happens when you turn hunting into commercialized entertainment, business and a huge for-profit industry.

Hunters, hunting magazines, hunting shows, the hunting industry and hunting organizations will condemn this particular incident but continue watching and promoting 'hunting' shows and 'celebrity hunters' who travel the world killing all they can -- and more than anyone could ever eat -- for mere profit and entertainment.

The only thing these types of shows do to "transform people's opinions" is to present most Americans with a very poor image of hunting that likely leads to very unsupportive views of hunting.

Hunting should not be a commercialized spectator sport. Killing animals for profit, entertainment and amusement is not hunting.

"The sportsman has no leaders to tell him what is wrong. The sporting press no longer represents sport; it has turned billboard for the gadgeteer. Wildlife administrators are too busy producing something to shoot at to worry much about the cultural value of the shooting." -- Aldo Leopold, 1949 


  1. As always, great commentary David. Hunting has become an extension of the state of politics in this country thanks to the over commercialization of it. The push for ratings continues to force hunters to make bad decisions...whether it is a blatant case of poaching as we have seen recently, or taking unethical shots do to the pressure of getting an animal shot on tape. In my opinion, the industry has manufactured a war on predators as well. Predators are the to be hated and destroyed on the spot because of two things:

    1. Money can be made by promoting it.

    2. Lower predator numbers means more prey species and easier hunting (more money again).

    The other "bogeyman" that is thrown in our faces is the hordes of anti-hunters who are "well funded" and ready to take our rights away. "We need to fight them at every step"...of course the reality is, much of what turns folks into anti-hunters can be found on the same channels they are promoting.

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