Today’s upward trend in deer (and elk) breeding and shooting operations is reaching critical mass, compromising traditional hunting and conservation, and fueling a strong new response from America’s first conservation and hunter advocacy organization, the Boone and Crockett Club.
The Club today published a new position statement outlining its concerns.
“We encourage every hunter to read this position in its entirety,” said Morrie Stevens Sr., president of the Club. “The core topic – privatizing a public resource for individual profits – has the power to change the foundations of hunting and its historic ties to conservation. And crossing the line from wildlife to agricultural commodity represents a fundamental shift in American culture. We think the ramifications are worth considering carefully.”
The position statement also addresses:
- Selective breeding, artificial insemination, regimented feeding and pharmaceutical drugs to achieve unnaturally large antlers in deer and elk.
- Commercial values based on artificial trophy size.
- Ethics of altering native wildlife and then shooting these animals in escape-proof, fenced enclosures.
- Breeding operations’ potential for transmitting diseases to wild herds.
- Risk of weakened public support for hunting. In a democracy, hunting exists only at the pleasure of voters. Hunting’s public image matters more than ever.