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No surprise when animals attack hunters

CATHY SORBO

It had to happen sooner or later.

We were due for another "marauding bear" killing and this time the poor furry fellow happened to be on a food run in a neighborhood near Key Center, about a 60-mile crow flight from Olympic National Park.

The bear had been seen around the neighborhood for a few days and finally tried to enter a house, mistaking it for a large trash bin.

On a KIROTV.com video, a Key Center resident said, "Wow. I'm kind of surprised. I didn't think bears bothered anybody out here."

This is another story of one rogue bear who was simply trying to survive -- one bear who when confronted reared up, an act interpreted as "aggressive" giving authorities adequate reason to shoot to kill.

I'll bet the Krispy Kreme people are super-miffed that they didn't get any free press from supplying bait for a trap.

Surely we humans should be able to figure out how to navigate around our inevitable encounters with wildlife in a way that doesn't end with firing 16 bullets into a living creature.

Why not implement a neighborhood bear alarm, similar to the concept of a tsunami or lahar warning? Well, not to worry. Bear-hunting season starts in August, so that should make all the bear killers happy.

Speaking of happiness, there are many things that make me happy: visits from out-of-town friends, unsolicited hugs from my daughter, Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding. But one thing stands out from all those warm and fuzzies, and that's when hunters are attacked by the animals they hunt.

In fact, a lot of people don't know this, but the TV show "When Animals Attack" was originally titled, "When Animals Attack It Makes Me Giggle."

Call me callous and hard-hearted, but I can't help but cheer on the animal that defends its life against the human dressed up in clothes that resemble shrubbery armed with the high-powered rifle, night-vision scope, GPS unit, tree-stand, animal scents and alcohol-fueled macho bravado.

Recent headlines that have given me great pleasure include:

"Hunter injured by rhino," "Mountain lion pounces on local hunter" and "Swedish hunter attacked by elk."

What compounds the wrongness of killing animals is the notion that sneaking up on a wild animal and putting a bullet through its head is a sport.

If anything qualifies as a nonsport, it is the carefree killing (or injuring and abandonment) of the lovely wild species that peacefully roam our forests and mountains. I don't care if you eat what you kill, in my opinion there is absolutely nothing at all sportsmanlike to this pastime.

In Washington, there has been a dreadful incline in cougar slaughter. The reason lies within the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's greed and lack of foresight while attempting to placate hunters.

This passage can be found in an April '08 article on the Web site of High Country News:

"The spike in cougar deaths resulted in part from a radical change in the state's game-management plan. After the hound-hunting ban passed, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials quickly liberalized hunting regulations in order to control the cougar population and maintain the revenue from cougar licenses.

"They extended the hunting season by six months, doubled the legal bag limit, and rolled half-price cougar tags (traditionally sold to just 1,000 hunters a year) into big-game hunting packages."

And you know how hunters are. Once they get the big green light to overhunt, they are eager and more than willing to do so. Hey, bring the kids! Junior's old enough for his first kill.

Hunting is not a sport. It is simple-minded blood lust that cheapens life and creates a revenue stream for a chosen few.

Cathy Sorbo is a Seattle-based comedian; cathysorbo.com.


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