While the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is getting tons of publicity and is adding to their $100 million bankroll during the Michael Vick mess, don’t forget that those people feel the same way about hunting as they do about dog fighting.
Next year, HSUS could be on Good Morning America or picketing the Falcons training camp because Keith Brooking shot a deer that was in a food plot.
HSUS has successfully picked off several specific types of hunting that they spin as unethical, unsporting or inhumane. Bear hunting in New Jersey and cougar hunting in several western states are history, dove hunting is illegal in Michigan and could soon be in Minnesota.
HSUS is now going after hunters who have food plots. The HSUS spin to the non-hunting public is that hunting over food plots is a type of “canned hunting.” They’ve already done the groundwork with the term canned hunting — applying it to high-fence hunting, which is opposed by most hunters and state wildlife agencies, something that HSUS points out in every press release and TV interview they do about high-fence hunting.
Now, HSUS is adding food plots to the canned-hunting spin. A recent article from HSUS says, “Food plots are small patches of land planted in a crop, such as corn, that the targeted species enjoys… Surrounded by woods or scattered trees that give the hunter cover, food plots turn the animals they attract into standing targets at close range… the animals never have a chance.”
HSUS sees no distinction between food plots and feeders.
“Animals lured to food plots, feeding stations and bait piles are as hard to find and easy to shoot as animals in a pen. Like everything else in canned hunts, the notion that an animal shot over a food plot, a feeding station or a bait pile is free-roaming is an illusion,” the HSUS literature states.
The majority of hunters, meanwhile, continue to do nothing unless a threat directly affects them. Case in point — local ordinances in Georgia are squeezing out hunting camps and making it impossible to shoot a firearm unless you have a huge tract of land.
Four years ago the GONetwork was formed after a GON editor attended a commission meeting in Talbot County where they were about to “ban” hunt camps. Yeah, I call it a ban when the cost of a permit, cost of a septic system, cost of planting vegetation screens, cost of running power to the campsite and cost of required garbage pickup total 20 times the amount of the lease fee. The 80 hunters who showed up at the county courthouse considered it a hunt-camp ban, too. They were fighting for their right to hunt in Talbot County without unfair, arbitrary taxation and code requirements that would have made it impossible for them to continue hunting there.
Not a single hunting group attended that meeting to fight for hunters. No one from WRD was there. Just a group of hunters who got very lucky that GON magazine heard about the proposed hunt-camp ordinance exactly one day before the next magazine went to the printing press. The hunters read about the meeting, showed up, killed the ordinance and were able to hunt Talbot County that fall. But the writing was on the wall. No one was there for hunters. The GONetwork was formed to give hunters the ability to help themselves.
You can be prepared and stop HSUS and local ordinances before they get started. Or you can wait until your ability to shoot a gun, have a hunting camp or hunt a food plot is regulated away.