June 27, 2012
To the detriment of animals everywhere, the individuals most highly
prized by trophy hunters are always the biggest bulls, bucks, rams and billys with (you guessed it) the most impressive horns or antlers. This sort
of discriminatory culling-of-the-fittest runs counter to natural selection
and is effectively triggering a reversal of evolution by giving the unfit
and defective a better shot at passing on their genes.
phenomenon can be seen in any hunted species but is especially evident among
the antlered and horned animals, or “lordly game,” as that big
stick-carrying, big game-hunting former US President Theodore Roosevelt
dubbed them. After more than a century of Teddy-type trophy hunters messing
with natural selection, today’s elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats,
moose and caribou (whose heads are traditionally seen disgracing the walls
of empty-hearted halls) cannot boast the antler spread, horn curl, body size
or quality of genes of their ancestors.
On the other hand, the
“lordly game” protected in those national parks which remain as yet
off-limits to hunting are able to grow the kind of impressive horns and
antlers now rare in hunted populations. But that could soon change…
On April 17, the U.S. House of Representatives (including over 30
Democrats who were afraid to be seen as anti-hunting) passed the
Sportsmen’s* Heritage Act, H.R. 4089, which threatens “to protect and
enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting.”
*(A “sportsman,” for the purposes of this blog, is defined as one who is
unethical, disrespectful, unreasonable and offensive, as opposed to the
traditional, fanciful definition of a sportsman: one who is fair, courteous,
generous and clean.)
This blatant attack on our parks and wilderness
areas has not gone unnoticed, but unless the voice of wildlife and
environmental advocacy can be heard over the caterwauls of fat cat
gun-rights groups like the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association,
and other loudmouth trophy hunters backing the bill, hard-won wilderness
safeguards will lose.
S.B. 4089 would drastically change the
directive for federal agencies that oversee national parks and forest
service wilderness by prioritizing hunting and fishing and so-called
“recreational shooting” over the protection of wilderness as “an area where
the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man… ”
would call for roads to be bulldozed into designated wilderness areas for
dam building (and other offenses), which would be exempt from National
Environmental Policy Act review, thereby eliminating any opportunity for
citizen comment or participation. The “Sportsmen’s” Heritage Act would
remove restrictions against motor vehicle use in wilderness areas (for the
first time since the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act) just so hunters
could more easily haul out their trophy kills.
It’s not too late!
Urge your Senators to vote NO on S.B. 4089, the “Sportsmen’s (i.e.: one who
is unethical, disrespectful, unreasonable and offensive) Heritage Act of
Portions of this post were excerpted from the book,
the Big Game.