6 hrs September 28, 2014 Wendy Harris
Also on the agenda for the county council meeting: appointment of applicants for the wildlife advisory committee.
First the good news. The county received two applications from the Lummi Business Council (one as an alternative) to make sure that Lummi values and concerns are being addressed.
Now for the bad news. The county received an application from someone who is a general contractor and a state certified master hunter (trophy hunting), and founder of Cascadia Naturalist Association, which as far as I can tell, involves tracking animals for great distances in remote areas, allegedly to learn more about ecology. (Alternatively, they could read up on ecosystems functions and critical area protection.) There appears to be a connection between this person and the Whatcom Land Trust. The applicant wants to serve as a link between the scientific community and the hunting and non-hunting community.
This committee is about wildlife management and conservation. Hunting is incompatible with conservation, and the fact that this is not commonly understood is one of the worst sell-outs committed by our government and many members of the conservation community, primarily the larger and better funded organizations that do not want to lose donors.
However, as part of the CAO review, I cited numerous studies that reflected the extensive impacts of outdoor recreation on wildlife and biodiversity. Among all outdoor forms of recreation, hunting had the most devastating impacts. How hard is it to understand that the same activities that have led to extinction of hundreds of species is not the gold standard of conservation?
Anyone with even a remedial understanding of how ecosystems function understands that nature balances the size of species populations without any help from the human species. In fact, it did so for millions of years before we evolved on this planet. The truth about wildlife management is that it is a scam to promote the interests of trophy hunters, or business profits (as seen in the recent killings of Columbia river cormorants who eat salmon.) There is a reason that these wildlife agencies were originally called what they really are.. the Department of game and hunting.
I think that a recreational hunter should be working with an outdoor recreation committee, rather than with a wildlife conservation committee. However, I do not think that is the view shared by members of the county council. Nor is it coincidence that the County CAO exempts hunting as a “low impact activity.”
This has got to stop. We need to restore healthy ecosystem functions, which includes predators currently missing from our community. And we need to expose the truth about hunters. How does such a small (5% of population and declining) exert so much power? And no, it is not because it pays its own way. That is a myth, among the many myths surrounding hunting.
Because I am an applicant, I am not really at liberty to weigh in on this matter to the county council, but I am not going to stop educating the public on the truth, whether or not it costs me a position on the committee.
One thought on “Hunting And Conservation Are NOT Compatible Activities / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk, Wendy Harris”
You are grossly mistaken on the Master Hunter program. Master Hunters are not trophy hunters. In fact, Washington is probably the worst state in the country in which to be a trophy hunter as big, mature elk are consistently protected and a big Washington deer is middling to small in most other states. Wasting wildlife can result in a prison sentence. Traditional trophy animals like bighorn sheep or moose aren’t even huntable here except for a small handful of raffle winners once in their lifetime. Master Hunters have to pass a written exam regarding hunting laws, ecological trends, conservation among other things and the first attempt failure rate is astronomical. Master Hunters also have to do community service projects aimed at enhancing wildlife order to become certified. They must also pass a shooting test. Any informed conservationist should be overjoyed by the Master Hunter program. Hunting is no more at odds with conservation than any other human activity. If there is a nuisance population in a given area Perhaps it has the biggest negative impact on ecology out of most forms of outdoor recreation but it is also the most heavily regulated, as it should be. Master Hunters are the most skilled, ethical, and conservation-focused of all hunters. Let’s also not forget that statewide hunters pay a lot of money to hunt even though on average they take home a deer once every four years or an elk once every eight years. Master Hunters are called upon to reduce animal populations during targeted periods in areas where the carrying capacity of the environment is exceeded or when the impact to human life is excessive. These campaigns are authorized by the state, not just the department of Fish and Wildlife, and require approval from the governor. Take for example the borderline extinction of the Island Marble Butterfly. A butterfly that was once native to all of the San Juans and is now hanging by a thread in one park on Lopez Island because the ridiculous deer population is destroying the mustard plants they depend on. There are so many deer on those islands that it is not uncommon to find one dead on the side of the road from starvation. I realize that this article is 5 years old, and I hope you have done a cursory google search at least once since then. You don’t have to like hunting but hunters pay far more money into conservation than hikers and bird watchers. Discover Passes, licenses, and tags amount to hundreds of dollars and when we are successful we eat the meat. You will never be able to convince me that slash and burn farming and big agribusiness is better for the environment than field-to-table meat consumption. Hunters aren’t just going to go away. Ignoring our voices in conservation conversations is stupid, elitist, unduly exclusionary, ineffective, and creates enemies out of people that want the same thing you do. What difference does it make what we most enjoy about healthy animal populations, healthy forests, and clean water?