Whether the deer is harvested or killed, it's still dead


Mar 11, 2001
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June 26, 2002

Politically correct writers, editors confuse terms
When you harvest a deer, it's still dead, Fenton Roskelley says.

Fenton Roskelley, The Spokane Spokesman-Review

Veteran hunters must gag a little when they read in their favorite fishing and hunting magazines that a hunter has "harvested" a limit of pheasants or "harvested" 10 quail.

Or that a fish and game agency says in a news release that hunters "harvested" a record number of deer and elk.

And how about the angler who "harvested" his limit of walleyes?

What the region's hunters and fishers are realizing but not accepting is that the word kill is no longer politically correct in many publications and in fish and game news releases. Of course, nearly all hunters will continue to say, when they are relating their experiences, that they killed a turkey or a quail or a four-point whitetail.

Animal rights activists are targeting anglers as killers, not people who harvest fish and game. The Humane Society of the United States, (HSUS) the leading animal rights organization, uses kill when it refers to activities of hunters.

Anglers likely will continue to say that they caught fish or got skunked, never that they harvested fish.

However, some newspapers and magazines, in order to be politically correct, eventually may adopt harvest to replace "kill a fish."

To hunters and fishers, the word harvest still means what Webster's Dictionary says is "the gathering of crops," and "the season when ripened crops are gathered," and a "supply of anything gathered at maturity and stored: a harvest of nuts."

So when did kill become a prohibited word, and who decided that harvest should be substituted for kill?

The word harvest began creeping into stories and reports in the Northwest soon after the animal rights activists began their campaigns to discredit hunters and fishers. The anti-hunters have tried with some success to paint hunters as killers of "innocent" animals.

Some fish and game agencies began dropping the word kill and replacing it with harvest soon after animal rights activists sponsored initiatives that were meant to curtail or end the use of bait for the hunting of bears and the use of dogs to hunt cougars.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been using harvest for several years.

Editors of numerous magazines, especially those whose subscribers included advocates of political correctness, were among the first publications to skew the traditional definition of harvest and link it with the killing of game and fish. Gradually, even hunting and fishing magazines began using harvest.

For example, John Barsness says in the current issue of Field & Stream magazine that "I try to harvest antlerless deer whenever I can" and Lawrence Pyne in the same issue uses the words "harvesting a deer" after quoting a farmer who carries a .30-30 on his tractor as commenting that "there's more than one way to harvest corn."

To be fair, several other writers in the same magazine use the word kill in the issue.

One by one, outdoors writers and the people who manage fish and game programs are surrendering to the pressure of being politically correct.

The activists for animal rights never say in their Web sites that a hunter had harvested too many doves or elk. Even they don't avoid the use of the word kill. In fact, they use it a lot.

Although the animal rightists are targeting anglers now, newspapers and magazines only occasionally use harvest in conjunction with catching a fish. There's no need to use kill. Anglers use several different words to describe their success, such as "I hooked four," or "I caught my limit," or "They took 15 trout" and "the fishermen `killed' two salmon and released three"

At least, those who condone or promote the use of harvest as a substitute for kill haven't gone as far as some school boards who have succeeded in changing some words in the great classics before accepting them for use in schools. Or even banning those books.

Anyway, so much for the word harvest. I've got to leave for Loon Lake now to harvest 10 of those tasty kokanee.

•You can contact Fenton Roskelley by voice mail at 459-5577, extension 3814.

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