Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hunters are crazed, drunken, irresponsible maniacs--just ask the News Journal

With the onset of hunting season, I suppose it was time for the obligatory anti-hunting story. This year's version entailed a sympathetic look at the Delaware's Fish & Wildfire enforcement officers--who are, by the way, great guys who do a great job.

The article is something else entirely. Here are all the references to hunters in the article:

Case One: drunken bums with cell phones

A group of deer hunters from Maryland was waving weapons and harassing juveniles who were riding motorcycles around the Sandtown Landfill....

"I will warn you guys about drinking. I can smell it from here," Aydelotte said as he performed a check of their weapons.

It turned out the men could not have arrived all that recently: A third hunter, the 16-year-old son of one of the men, already was deep in the woods, and was summoned by phone to return.

The boy was likely sent into the brush to steer deer toward the others, who could then simply hop out of the truck and shoot, Aydelotte said. It's a hunting method that's as old as mankind, but aided today by cell phones.

One of the men had no hunting license, but because Aydelotte didn't actually see him hunting there was no violation.

"Five minutes later, he'd have been in the woods, and drinking," he said.


Case Two: The drug-abusing hunter

"This is one of the most dangerous times of the year for our officers," said Rhodes, who pointed out that "approaching armed strangers in the woods" is a job description unique to wildlife agents.

Those strangers are sometimes under the influence of alcohol, Aydelotte said....

Rhodes remembered an incident a few years ago when an enforcement officer came upon a man deep in the woods who was huffing paint fumes from a paper bag.

A scuffle ensued, and it took several agents to subdue the man, because "he did try to go for one of the officers' guns. It was that incident that led to field officers carrying Tasers today, he said.


Case Three: The moron with a crossbow

Being independent and working different shifts are the things Aydelotte loves about his job. A few years ago, he made an arrest at 3 a.m.

It was the night after Halloween, and he had set up a decoy deer in a farmer's field near Harrington, where illegal hunters using spotlights had been reported.

"We're waiting there in the dark, and we see a truck pull up, and see a light. Then the decoy's head falls off, but we never heard a shot fired," he said.

The driver of the truck had shot the decoy with a crossbow, firing out the passenger window, past his 12-year-old son.


That's it. No mention of the fact that accidents are actually rare in Delaware, fatalities really so [so much so that the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife didn't include any statistics in its 2007 report], or that over 35,000 people have completed the Delaware Safe Hunter program in the past three decades.

No mention of the fact that thousands of Delaware citizens hunt responsibly each year, and donate thousands of pounds of meat to charity.

No mention of the dozens of people arrested each year for harassing hunters when they are engaged in a perfectly legal sport and doing so in a safe manner.

That's what I call truly objective journalism, of the kind you can find practiced here--where at least they are honest about their objective.

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