Hunters as sportsmen

I’ve never been opposed on principle to hunting or hunters, and back in the day I have dispatched some small game. A squirrel is a small target and doesn’t sit still for long, so it requires marksmanship, but nothing about hunting signals courage when you have a firearm…maybe going after wild hogs the old fashioned way, with a spear. Taking game in the wild requires knowing something about their habits and ecology, and there is such a thing as a sustainable harvest. Deer in suburbs without their predators are a serious problem, maybe worse as the predators (coyotes and mountain lions in CA) follow them in from the woods and acquire a taste for poodles.

Every now and then, though, an episode like this comes out that makes hunters look really bad–it’s so great when a boy learns sportsmanship, honesty, outdoor skills, and character from his dad, right?–and your government is at work to encourage behavior that cannot be called sport or, except for someone with a real pathology, recreation.

A proposed rule published by the National Park Service in the Federal Register would let Alaskan game officials decide whether bear cubs can be killed alongside their mothers, caribou can be shot from a boat while swimming, wolves, including pups, can be hunted in their dens and other animals can be targeted from airplanes and snowmobiles. Animals could also be baited with sweets and killed or poisoned.

The Park Service said its proposal is consistent with an order by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to accede to states’ wishes to expand recreational [sic] hunting. 

Did these people start out pulling the wings off flies? Pouring kerosene on cats and lighting it? Pups and cubs, recreational baiting and poisoning, yup.

Republicans have seriously degraded since Teddy Roosevelt, and maybe a lot of Alaskans have gone through too many long, dark, cold winters.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

3 thoughts on “Hunters as sportsmen”

  1. When he was 8 years old,, left home alone, the young Abe Lincoln saw wild turkeys outside his family's cabin. Painstakingly, he loaded his father's musket & shot one. No doubt he had provided a family dinner, but the death throes of the turkey awakened something in Abe. Henceforth he abjured hunting as a pastime, and even tried to persuade his friends to abandon it also. The Party of Lincoln departed a long ago from his legacy.

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