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Writing style assessment
Environmental Science
1) In 1 sentence each, summarize the 3 articles.
2) Compare the writing style and point of view for the three articles. To
what extent does the author’s point of view influence their style.
Discuss concepts such as word choice, citing sources, statements of
opinion versus statements of fact, and use of statistics.
3) From the readings, give some (at least 4) examples of emotionally laden
or vivid wording.
4) From all of the readings, find 8 (8 total not 24) statements of fact. Of
these, comment on how believable the author’s claims are. Does the author
cite their sources? What information might help to make the claims more
believable?
5) Write a thoughtful statement of your philosophy of hunting. Include ideas
from the readings and from other sources as you deem necessary. Focus on
distinctions such as subsistence vs. trophy hunting, bow hunting vs. gun
hunting, deer hunting vs. dove hunting, etc. Does the hunter’s mindset
affect your support of the activity? Do you agree with the first article that
hunting can be a spiritual activity on the level of religion? Why or why not.
Comment on most ideas from the articles. Identify which of your
arguments is the strongest and which is weakest.
HUNTING AS A RELIGION
"Hunting may lead people to have peak experiences. All the elements are there, from
spectacular environmental settings to intense emotional excitement, to encounters with
the deepest issues of life and death. Many hunters I know feel that ultimately hunting is
their religion, but often do not admit this because of criticism from those who do not
understand the hunter's soul.
And what about the poor animals? the critics of hunting scream. Anyone can declare an
animal to be special, even sacred. But a thing can become truly sacred only if a person
knows in his or her heart that the object or creature can somehow serve as a conduit to a
realm of existence that transcends the temporal. If hunting can be a path to spirit,
unhindered by guilt, then nature has a way of making sure hunters feel compassion. "For
those who have a religious experience all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmic
sacrality", concludes religion historian Mircea Eliade in his monumental review of
spirituality, The Sacred and the Profane. It is precisely for this reason the Theodore
Roosevelt, one of the greatest hunters and friends of wildlife in the twentieth century,
often proclaimed that "all hunters should be nature lovers". [p. 35]
"Nature hunters - 17 percent of the hunters Dr. Kellert interviewed said that they enjoy
being outside and have a deep "affection, respect, and reverence" for nature. When asked,
most will admit that hunting is much more than a sport. To them, ultimately it is a sacred
act with as much as or more meaning than participation in organized religion.
The first two types of hunters [meat hunters and recreational hunters] are understandable
to most people. Their hunting motives are up-front and pragmatic. But nature hunters are
a paradoxical mystery to many people. The nature hunter is someone whose deep,
reverential feelings for nature are best described, ultimately, as love, and then they turn
around and kill what they love. Many people interpret such behavior as sadistic or even
pyschopathological. Dr. Karl Menninger, the noted humanistic psychologist, once
declared hunters to be sadists. As a hunter and pychologist, I think he was dead wrong. In
his later years Menninger came to agree with me, as we will learn later. In these times,
when nature suffers from our indifference to it, and when countless humans suffer
alienation from self and from nature, we need to better understand anyone who claims a
deep, abiding love for nature and is willing to commit time, money and energy to
conservation. Even if you are not a hunter, if you can read this book with an open mind
you will come to know why nature hunters can say that for them, hunting is a spiritual act
of love." [p. 19]
"In modern times, invariably those fortunate hunters who come to know their animal kin
are the ones who go on to found organizations to support the preservation of the species
they hunt. In the final analysis, the emotion that drives these people is not guilt, as some
might like you to believe, but love. At the root of any true feelings of sacredness there
must be love, for it is the core emotion of self-value, which is the ultimate survival
motivation of our species." [pp. 38-39]
"The modern hunter, on the other hand, is challenged not so much by fear as by
overcoming guilt. Most animals killed by hunters are not taken for protection or selfdefense, but for food, and perhaps a trophy. There is a special fondness in our hearts for
wild things, and a hunter must work through guilt feelings to be successful. The more one
learns about wild animals, the more one develops a fondness for them. Hunters also enjoy
the overall act of hunting; being out in nature itself is a pleasure. When they are not
successful; it is customary for hunters to share their kill with others, whether a tribal
society or modern big-game dinner. And when the season is over, hunters often spend
many hours helping to preserve habitats and restore species. The emotions that good
hunters need to cultivate are love and service more than courage. The sentiments of the
hunt then become translated into art, as much or more than trophies. Even the trophies of
the hunter are art, for good taxidermy requires extraordinary artistic skill." [p. 29]
TYPES OF HUNTERS
Many wildlife managers feel that Yale professor Dr. Stephen Kellert's 1978 study of U.S.
hunters and their attitudes and characteristics still mostly applies today in North America.
He found three categories of hunters:
- Utilitarian/Meat Hunters (43.8%)
- Nature Hunters
(17.7%)
- Dominionistic/Sport Hunters (38.5%)
The dominionistic/sport group is the one that the non- and anti-hunting public particularly
dislike and often use to stereotype or negatively portray ALL hunters and hunting.
UTILITARIAN/MEAT HUNTERS
"Hunting to obtain meat was the most frequently cited primary reason, accounting for
43.8 percent of persons who hunted..." [p.413] Utilitarian/meat hunters were
significantly more likey to have been
raised or presently living in rural, open-country areas. Relatedly, utilitarian/meat hunters
reported much greater experience with raising animals for either slaughter or
nonslaugher purposes, and fathers
employed in farm-related occupations. This hunting group included a disproportionate
number of persons over 65 years of age and significantly more respondents earning less
than $6,000." [p.414]
"Utilitarian/meat hunters appeared to perceive animals largely from the perspective of
their practical usefulness... The utilitarian/meat hunter viewed hunting as a harvesting
activity and wild animals as a
harvestable crop not unlike other renewable natural resources." [p.414]
NATURE HUNTERS
"Hunting for the purpose of close contact with nature was the... cited primary reason for
hunting, accounting for some 17.7 percent of those who hunted... Demographically,
nature hunters included significantly more persons under 30 years of age and far fewer
over 65. These age characteristics may suggest possible trends in motivation for hunting.
Nature hunters were also of higher socioeconomic status, as indicated by more collegeeducated respondents and more fathers employed in professional and business-executive
occupations.
Nature hunters reported by far the most adult and childhood wildlife interest, more
backpacking and camping-out experience, and more birdwatching activity. Importantly,
nature hunters had far higher
knowledge-of-animals scale scores particularly in comparison to dominionistic/sport
hunters." [p.414]
[Nature hunters also] "...indicated strong concern and affection for all animals...
[However this affection is] ...somewhat generalized and not specifically directed at pet
animals or manifest in the feeling of "loving" animals. The desire for an active,
participatory role in nature was perhaps the most significant aspect of the nature hunter's
approach to hunting. The goal was the intense involvement with wild animals in their
natural habitats. Participation as a predator was valued for the opportunities it provided to
regard oneself as an integral part of nature. The hunt was appreciated for its forcing of
awareness of natural phenomena organized into a coherent, goal-directed framework."
[p. 415]
DOMINIONISTIC/SPORT HUNTERS
"Dominionistic/sport hunters constitute 38.5 percent of all those who hunted... They
were significantly more likely to reside in cities, and to have been in the armed forces.
Additionally, they differed from
utilitarian/meat hunters in reporting far less experience raising animals for a product, and
from nature hunters in reporting significantly less backpacking and birdwatching
activities. One outstanding characteristic was their low scores on the knowledge-ofanimals scale. Interestingly, only anti-hunters, of all animal activity groups studied, had
equally low knowledge scores."
"...It appeared that competition and mastery over animals, in the context of a sporting
contest, were the most salient aspects of the dominionistic/sport hunter's interest in the
hunting activity. This group did not reveal strong affections for animals." [p.416]
"The hunted animal was valued largely for the opportunities it provided to engage in a
sporting activity involving mastery, competition, shooting skill and expressions of
prowness. ...They were not items of food but trophies, something to get and display to
fellow hunters. For the dominionistic/sport hunter, hunting was appreciated more as a
human social than as an animal-oriented activity." [p.416-417]
------Stephen Kellert, "Attitudes and Characteristics of Hunters and
Antihunters" (Transactions of the Forty-third North American Wildlife
and Natural Resources Conference, 1978). pp.412-423.
Learn the Facts about Hunting
society---
--------Humane
Fall is the time when forest greens begin to blaze orange, as hunting seasons open around
the country. Each year, hunters kill more than 100 million animals, and while individual
reasons for hunting vary, the industry that promotes and sustains hunting has just one
motive: profit. According to the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies,
America's 14 million hunters spend $22.1 billion each year for guns, ammunition,
clothing, travel, and other related expenses.
To justify hunting to a society ever more concerned about wildlife—including its
conservation and humane treatment—the industry intensively promotes a set of tired
myths. Learn the facts behind these myths.
Isn't hunting a worthy tradition because it teaches people about nature?
There are many ways to learn about nature and the "great outdoors." At its best, hunting
teaches people that it is acceptable to kill wildlife while learning about some aspects of
nature. However, the very essence of sport hunting is the implicit message that it's
acceptable recreation to kill and to tolerate the maiming of wildlife. Even those who
claim that wounding and maiming is not the intent of hunting cannot deny that it happens.
It is folly to suggest that we can teach love, respect, and appreciation for nature and the
environment through such needless destruction of wildlife. One can learn about nature by
venturing into the woods with binoculars, a camera, a walking stick, or simply with our
eyes and ears open to the world around us.
Does hunting help create a bond between father and son?
We do not know, but there are countless recreational and other activities that can
strengthen the parent/child bond. Generally speaking, bonding has less to do with the
activity and more to do with whether the parent and child spend significant, concentrated,
and loving time together. Yet the particular recreational activity is also important,
because it can send a moral message to the child about what constitutes acceptable
recreation.
Hunting as a form of family entertainment is destructive not only to the animals involved,
but also to the morals and ethics of children who are shown or taught that needless killing
is acceptable recreation. The HSUS rejects the notion that a relationship of love and
companionship should be based on the needless killing of innocent creatures. Killing for
fun teaches callousness, disrespect for life, and the notion that "might makes right."
Isn't hunting a popular and growing form of recreation?
No. The number of hunters has been steadily declining for decades. According to the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, there were 15 million licensed hunters in the U.S. in 2000,
compared with 15.6 million in 1993, 15.8 million in 1990, and 16.3 million in 1980. This
drop has occurred even while the general population has been growing. Currently only
5.4% of Americans hold hunting licenses. Hunters claim their numbers are growing to
give the impression that recreational killing is acceptable. The facts are that more and
more hunters are giving up hunting because it is no longer a socially acceptable activity.
What are state wildlife agencies doing to maintain interest in hunting?
Most states actively recruit children into hunting, through special youth hunts. Sometimes
these youth hunts are held on National Wildlife Refuges. Some states have carried this
concept even further, and hold special hunter education classes to recruit parents and their
children. In addition to encouraging children to buy licenses and kill animals, the states
are reaching out to women as well. If enough women and children can be converted into
hunters, the state agencies can continue business as usual.
Isn't hunting a well-regulated activity?
No. While there are many rules which regulate hunting activities, enforcing the
regulations is difficult, and many hunters do not abide by the rules. It has been estimated
that twice as many deer are killed illegally as are killed legally. Hunters will sometimes
kill a second deer because it has bigger antlers or "rack" than the first. In addition, duck
hunters often exceed their bag limits or kill protected species because most hunters
cannot identify the species of ducks that they shoot—especially not at a half hour before
sunrise, when shooting begins. Secret observations revealed by ex-duck hunters
demonstrate that illegal practices and killing permeate this activity at all levels.
Aren't animals protected through "bag limits" imposed by each state?
Those species favored by hunters are given certain protection from over-killing—killing
so many as to severely limit the population—through what are known as "bag limits."
However, hunting of some species is completely unregulated, and in fact, wanton killing
is encouraged. Animals such as skunks, coyotes, porcupines, crows and prairie dogs are
considered "varmints," and unlimited hunting of these species is permitted year-round in
many states. At the base of this is the notion that these animals are simply "vermin" and
do not deserve to live. Hunters frequently write and speak of the pleasure in "misting"
prairie dogs—by which they mean shooting the animals with hollow-point bullets that
cause them to literally explode in a mist of blood.
Moreover, hunters' influence on state and federal wildlife agencies is so strong that even
bag limits on "game" species are influenced as much by politics as by biology. Many
states, with the sanction of the federal government, allow hunters to kill large numbers
(20–40 per day) of coots and waterfowl such as sea ducks and mergansers, for example,
despite the fact that little is known about their populations and their ability to withstand
hunting pressure, and the fact that these ducks are certainly not killed for food. This
killing is encouraged to maintain hunter interest, thereby sustaining license sales, because
the decline in other duck species has resulted in some limitations on numbers that can be
killed.
Isn't it more humane to kill wildlife by hunting than to allow animals to starve?
This question is based on a false premise. Hunters kill opossums, squirrels, ravens, and
numerous other plentiful species without any notion of shooting them so that they do not
starve or freeze to death. Many species are killed year round in unlimited numbers. In
addition, many animals that are not hunted die of natural starvation, but hunters do not
suggest killing them. While it is true that any animal killed by a hunter cannot die of
starvation, hunters do not kill animals based on which ones are weak and likely to
succumb to starvation. Hunters who claim they prevent animals from suffering starvation
are simply trying to divert attention from an analysis of the propriety of killing wildlife
for fun.
Aren't most hunts to limit overpopulation and not truly for recreation?
No. Most hunted species are not considered to be overpopulated even by the wildlife
agencies that set seasons and bag limits. Black ducks, for instance, face continued legal
hunting—even on National Wildlife Refuges—despite the fact that their populations are
at or near all-time lows. If hunters claim that they hunt to prevent overpopulation, then
they should be prepared to forgo hunting except when it really is necessary to manage
overpopulated species. This would mean no hunting of doves, ducks, geese, raccoons,
bears, cougars, turkeys, quail, chuckar, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, and many other
species.
What's more, hunters are usually the first to protest when wolves, coyotes, and other
predators move into an area and begin to take over the job of controlling game
populations. The State of Alaska, for example, has instituted wolf-control (trapping and
shooting) on the grounds that wolf predation may bring caribou populations down to a
level that would limit the sport-hunting of caribou. Finally, hunters kill opossums, foxes,
ravens, and numerous other plentiful species without the pretension of shooting them so
that they do not starve or freeze to death.
Is hunting to prevent wildlife overpopulation usually effective?
No. Wildlife, to a large degree, will naturally regulate its own populations if permitted,
eliminating any need for hunting as a means of population control. Discussions about
supposed wildlife overpopulation problems apply primarily to deer. Hunters often claim
that hunting is necessary to control deer populations. As practiced, however, hunting
often contributes to the growth of deer herds. Heavily hunted states like Pennsylvania and
Ohio, for instance, are among those experiencing higher deer densities than perhaps ever
before. When an area's deer population is reduced by hunting, the remaining animals
respond by having more young, which survive because the competition for food and
habitat is reduced. Since one buck can impregnate many does, policies which permit the
killing of bucks contribute to high deer populations. If population control were the
primary purpose for conducting deer hunts, hunters would only be permitted to kill does.
This is not the case, however, because hunters demand that they be allowed to kill bucks
for their antlers.
Does hunting ensure stable, healthy wildlife populations?
No. The hunting community's idea of a "healthy" wildlife population is a population
managed like domestic livestock, for maximum productivity. In heavily hunted and
"managed" populations, young animals feed on artificially enhanced food sources, grow
and reproduce rapidly, then fall quickly to the guns and arrows of hunters. Few animals
achieve full adulthood. After 20 years of heavy deer hunting at the Great Swamp
National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, for example, only one percent of the deer
population lived longer than four years, and fewer than ten percent lived longer than three
years. In a naturally regulated population, deer often live twelve years or longer.
Though hunting clearly kills individual animals, can hunting actually hurt wildlife
populations?
Yes. Hunters continue to kill many species of birds and mammals (e.g., cougars, wolves,
black ducks, swans) that are at dangerously low population levels. While hunting may not
be the prime cause of the decline of these species, it must contribute to their decline and,
at a minimum, frustrate efforts to restore them.
Even deer populations may be damaged by hunting pressure. Unlike natural predators
and the forces of natural selection, hunters do not target the weaker individuals in
populations of deer or other animals.
Rather, deer hunters seek out the bucks that have the largest rack. This desire for "trophy
sized" bucks can and has had detrimental effects on the health of deer herds. First,
hunting can impact the social structure of a herd because hunters kill the mature males of
a herd and create a disproportionate ratio of females to males. It is not uncommon to find
a herd that has no bucks over the age of three. Second, genetically inferior bucks may be
left to propagate the species, thereby weakening the overall health of the herd.
Because hunters largely want to shoot only bucks, hunting may cause artificial inflation
of deer populations. When these populations reach levels that available habitat cannot
support, increased disease and starvation may be the result.
We don't understand the full effect of hunting on wildlife behavior or health because
wildlife agencies will not conduct the studies necessary to find the answers (e.g., "spyblind" observations of duck hunting, in which undercover authorities secretly observe
hunters).
Is hunting for food a good way to save money on grocery bills?
Almost never. When all costs are considered (i.e., license fees, equipment, food, lodging
and transportation), hunting is not an economical way to provide food. Statistics gathered
by the University of Maryland's Extension Service revealed that hunters spent more than
$51 million to kill 46,317 deer in Maryland in 1990, approximately $1,100 for each deer
killed. Assuming that the meat of each deer killed was preserved and eaten, and that each
deer provided 45 lbs. of meat, the cost of venison in 1990 in Maryland was $24.44 per
pound. For most hunted animals, such as ducks, doves, rabbits, squirrels, and crows,
among others, use for food is now minimal, and the expense of equipment far outweighs
the value of any food that is obtained. For the vast majority of hunters, hunting is
recreation, not a means of gathering food.