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Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Politically Incorrrect Guide To Hunting, by Frank Miniter

Reviewed by Steve Sorensen
Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington D.C., 2007; 268 pages, 14 chapters. Paperback.

Hunters are the key piece
to the wildlife management puzzle.

A generation ago, a man would take his lever action out the back door and provide his family with a supply of healthy meat. Celebrating the event wasn’t odd or unusual. It was normal and natural, as it had been for thousands upon thousands of years.

Today, that same activity is not only frowned upon in many segments of our society, but the man who engages in it is broadly mischaracterized and aggressively opposed.

What has changed? Obviously, what has changed is the attitude of modern man. (Of course, I also mean “woman.”) Man has insulated himself from the necessity of death as an instrument to preserving his own life. Maybe he’s more comfortable if he pretends he’s not involved.

He is involved, but has found a way to avoid acknowledging it. In an industrialized society, it’s easy. Just hire others to do your killing.

How? We pay a chain of people whose end products are air-tight, virtually bloodless containers of beef, chicken, pork and fish conveniently presented when we grab our groceries. We employ lawn-care specialists who apply chemicals to our lawns to eliminate the nasty bugs that chew up the landscape. We use exterminators to rid ourselves of insects that bite us and rodents that bite our stuff.

And through our state game agencies we engage hunters to kill the animals that ravage the forest if they become overpopulated, crash into our cars while we’re humming along at 65, destroy millions of dollars in agricultural crops, and eat our expensive shrubbery.

While hunters provide many benefits, they are anathema to lots of people – at best, a necessary evil.

But hunters are good. Very good. A new book details the many benefits hunters bring to our society. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting by Frank Miniter (published by Regnery Publishing), spells it out.

Ever wonder why alligators are killing and injuring more people than ever before? Or why bear and cougar attacks are on the rise? It’s simple, and Miniter explains it.

When these animals are not hunted, they lose their fear of man and they see man as prey. When we develop the land that was once habitat for these animals, we push them into closer and more frequent contact with people. Hunters serve society by keeping these animal populations in balance with their available habitat, and with human activity.

Miniter says that hunters are the real conservationists. Yes, it’s counter-intuitive, but sport hunting never endangers animal populations; it keeps them stable and healthy.

And, hunting benefits more than just game species. Without deer hunting, songbird populations would plummet. What’s the connection? Miniter gives example after example. Ban hunting and plant diversity suffers, soil erosion increases, and habitat disappears.

Miniter says that hunters pour more money into conservation than anyone on the planet, including “environmentalists,” and he offers proof. Miniter claims that hunters have saved many species from extinction, and he provides the evidence. Miniter shows how hunters even play a role in keeping our air transportation system safe.

I discovered how serious that issue is last spring. As I sat beside a US Airways pilot on a flight to Alaska, he told me that colliding with animals is one of the greatest dangers during take-offs and landings. He said that few pilots haven’t hit a deer or a goose.

Think it’s bad when you hit one with your car? When they are sucked into the engine or go through the windshield of an aircraft, they cause millions of dollars in damage. One goose can crash a plane and kill a whole flock of people.

I’ll say it again. Hunters are good, and we need them. They are the key piece to the wildlife management puzzle. Don’t get your information about wildlife management from Animal Planet and the Disney Channel, where wild animals stay hermetically sealed behind the TV screen. Get it from the real world. A good place to start is The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting by Frank Miniter. Read it, and support your local hunters with the truth.