Lies and Damn Lies. Jim Matthews on Mojave NP  Antis

spectr17

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LIES AND DAMN LIES -- Jim Matthews-ons 3jul02

Anti-hunters spouting lies about hunting

The outright lying and misinformation campaign about hunters and desert tortoises is starting.

Peter Burke, president of a group called the Citizens for a Mojave National Park, one of the three groups that recently petitioned Gail Norton to stop hunting in the Mojave National Preserve part of the year and to eliminate hunting of some game species, was quoted in a recent story as saying he wants to see all hunting stopped in the national preserve.

"We are trying to eliminate hunting, grazing and mining on the preserve," Burke was quoted as saying. "We feel that those activities are wrong. Hunters are big bullies that chase people away. We want to give people the thrill of being in a pristine desert. We have hunters who shoot everything they see. They put bullets in tortoises."

If Burke can call me a bully, I can call him a prejudiced blowhole who doesn't have a clue about the facts. Hunters are hardly bullies. In fact, we generally give non-hunters a wide berth when we're in the field because they scare game away. Calling us bullies is bull. Burke doesn't like us.

If Burke was ever chased away by a hunter, it was because he lied and told someone they couldn't be hunting in a legal hunting area or decided to harass them and try to force his anti-hunting view down a hunter's throat somewhere. The truth is that zealots like Burke harass hunters; they're the bullies.

Hunter's don't shoot everything they see, and we don't put bullet holes in tortoises. In fact, we are the best stewards of the environmental this country has ever had, funding the lion's share of all the conservation work done on-the-ground today -- and all of it in the past. This is a fact, not a Burkian lie.

I have personally moved a tortoise more than a 1/2-mile off a busy paved road (Highway 395), so it wouldn't get run over. Two of us almost wrecked our vehicles one spring avoiding the thing. What I did would be illegal today, but it saved the critter's life. No hunter I know would ever shoot a tortoise, not even the few slob-hunters I've run across.

Burke and his prejudiced ilk are so out of touch with reality they somehow think hunters are the only ones with guns. We actually represent a small percent of gun owners, and certainly one of the most responsible segments. But people like Burke are using the tortoise-shooting issue as a way they can try to leverage their view on the world. I've no doubt we can find tortoise shells with bullet holes in them. But that doesn't mean hunters are the culprits.

Burke will show a tortoise shell with a bullet hole or two (assume the holes were made while the tortoise was alive, which may or may not be the case). Then he'll say hunters have guns, so hunters must be shooting tortoises. If that makes sense to you, so does this: There are rapes, and since all men have the equipment to commit a rape, all men must be rapists.

Their logic is whacko. They have prejudiced beliefs. They don't understand the law that created the preserve specifically allowed for hunting and trapping. They have zero evidence that legal hunters have ever shot a tortoise any more than they have evidence a Sierra Club member shot a tortoise. They ignore the very thorough biological opinion that says hunting of other species has no affect on tortoise populations. Mostly they lie and spout rhetoric, much like a racist.

How do people like Burke get quoted in newspapers as authorities. I guess every crackpot gets his five minutes of fame, too.
 

sportyg

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Well said Jesse, my hat is off to you !!
 

spectr17

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sportyg,

Those are not my words. Jim Matthews wrote that piece, you can see name right after the title.
 

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