The Mighty Hunter Returns. Empty-handed

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Anti-hunters vandalized the map and hunting regulations sign. Sod them.

As much as I would love to bring you a picture of a bunch of doves lined up across my tailgate, unfortunately I got skunked. My first opportunity to go dove hunting in years, and it rained. Blerg.

I went anyway, and it was an enjoyable 90 minute armed walk in the woods. I just didn’t bring home dinner. I will have more on my hunt in a minute, but there are some topical links I would like to share.


Sunflower field at Forks of the River WMA. (Photo from

Wes Siler, Managing Editor of Indefinitely Wild, a Gizmodo blog, has been at the forefront of bringing a pro-ethical-hunting message to a demographic that is largely ignorant of the topic. Gizmodo readers tend to be younger, more liberal, and more plugged in than the rapidly-diminishing OFWG demographic. In a lot of instances, Wes is not preaching to the choir, and consequently has received a lot of blowback, usually in blog comments, but also on a recent appearance on the Dr. Drew Show. (read the background story on his appearance here)

His latest piece  “How to Shoot, Clean and Prepare these bacon-wrapped dove breasts”  is an excellent read. Check it out.

Back to my hunt. As I mentioned in the morning, I was hunting at Forks of the River WMA, a 1000-acre public hunting preserve only a couple of miles from downtown Knoxville. Throughout most of the year it is dominated by hikers, cyclists, and other such pastoral pursuits. It is one of my favorite places to hike with the family because my Labrador, who is radio collared, is allowed off leash for training. However, from the start of dove season at the beginning of September through the end of March, the area is open for hunting for dove, deer, turkey, and geese. This shuts down some of the trails, and some people don’t play well with others.

I mentioned an incident from 2008, where someone, likely an anti-hunter, spread corn on the fields and trails, shutting down the season before it started. I couldn’t find an archived news article, but I did find this on an Upland Journal forum.

Vandalism forces closure of Knox Co. bird hunting site
Posted: Aug 28, 2008 05:49 PM
KNOX COUNTY (WATE) — The TWRA says vandalism has caused the closure of migratory bird hunting on Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Sometime in the past two weeks, vandals put agricultural grain on Forks of the River, which violates state and federal laws.

Canada goose hunting season was scheduled to begin next to WMA at 30 minutes before sunrise on Sept. 1.

Dove hunting was to open at noon the same day on the WMA.

Now, neither can be hunted on Forks of the River WMA, next door private land or public waters of the Tennessee, French Broad, or Holston rivers next to the WMA.

The TWRA asks anyone with information about the vandalism to call the poaching hotline at 1-800-831-1174.

TWRA will notifiy the public when the area reopens for migratory bird hunting.

Today I noticed the vandalism on the sign I posted above. Effing ingrates. Hunters fund conservation. Period.

As for the hunt itself. It was rainy and I only saw 6 birds (about 1000 are harvested opening day). All were flushed from trees, and all but one was completely out of range. There were no birds moving on their own to pass-shoot. The final dove was nominally within range and at a bad angle but I took a snap-shot and missed.

When you think to yourself “there is no way I make this shot” as you pull the trigger, you are doomed to miss, and miss I did. Oh well, I used to limit from a lawnchair on my back porch in Idaho. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

If it had been a month from now, I could have taken a shot at the turkey I came across when I rounded some tall scrub. He was less than 12 yards away and stood there for a good 5 seconds before flying away. Even with #7 shot I could have taken his head off from that range. Of course a month from now fate would never hand me that shot.

It was a great walk in the woods.

(Editors note: Thank you all for indulging me in this diversion. I was hoping for some doves to use for testing. Hopefully I can try again next week.)


  1. David says:

    Serious question. I am not trolling or at least not trying to.

    Why hunt?

    I am not addressing pest control, eliminating invasive species, subsistence hunting, or killing predators for defense/safety. There are legit reasons to kill an animal. I am not some pinko-hippie liberal. Killing another living being for fun, or just cuz its there, seems sadistic in the truest sense of the word.

    I am not anti-hunter and many of the pro-hunter arguments are legit. I do eat meat although I have reduced my consumption of it for various reasons. I know some great people who hunt. I am also aware that animals eat other animals and that nature is many things including vicious.

    I would not vandalize or try to stop hunters. I think what these people did is dangerous and illegal. The idea of killing for fun is repugnant. I would rather walk around the woods and take a picture of what I was tracking.

    1. You’re not asking questions here, you’re trolling. The hell of it is you seem to legitimately and honestly think that you’re not doing that by prefacing your argument (a term used loosely) with the disingenuous proclamation that you’re not trolling. You know exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to place your value system upon another and then you’re asking them to justify themselves before you based on that superimposed idea of right and wrong.

      Why hunt? The question itself is fallacious. You’re begging the question with the implication that there needs to be a reason. There may or there may not be. It might just be instinct or it might be for the sheer unadulterated hell of it.

      Your first sizable paragraph is either a pointless exercise in false dichotomy or just plain standing up of a straw man. Your definitions of what constitute legitimate reasons don’t apply to anyone else. Your assertion that killing something for fun is sadistic is flatly false. Sadists take their pleasure in knowing that the subject of their energies feel it for as long and as intensely as possible. If you’re going to spend time diagnosing peoples mental disorders, at least you should learn about them. Your litany of justifiable, to you, reasons for killing critters is irrelevant. You can’t possibly understand the driving factors in the mind of someone who finds prairie dog eradication to be a real hoot. Even if they were to explain it to you you still wouldn’t get it. You’d just have had someone tell you THEIR reasons. Reasons are not justifications.

      Your statement that nature is vicious is all that matters and you could have saved us both a lot of typing if you’d just stopped there. We’re part of nature and you seem to have forgotten that. We are an evolved species. We evolved into a particular environment and the various progenitor species that gave rise to ours throughout our evolution changed their environments whenever possible to milk it for what they wanted from it with no concern of the ramifications. We as modern humans do the same if more dramatically and effectively. We also have at least acknowledged our impact on the globe and have begun to take some small corrective actions to address the most egregious of them. Nonetheless we are still part of nature and specifically a part of nature that instinctively decides when we’re cold and hungry and happen see a critter pass by that’s unlikely to hurt us for chasing it around and that it’s made of meat and to top it all off it has a nice warm coat that we’ll have the meat and the coat off him. Best of all we try to have a good time about it because why the hell would you try to have a bad time doing so given the option.

      If killing for fun is repugnant to you then that’s on you. Perhaps you can take some self righteous self satisfaction in your own rightness before yourself. Perhaps though, you could understand that you’ve got it completely bloody backwards again. It’s not usually killing for fun, it is frequently killing during fun, an important difference. If we could eat the animal and hang the horns on the wall after taking it’s picture and do away with all the blood and guts and the packing out of heavy carcasses through rough country don’t you think the camera would have been invented many hundreds of years earlier than it was.

      There is in fact huge entertainment to be had from sitting in a farmers field or prairie and blowing rodentia to smithereens at considerable range with a scoped high velocity small calibre rifle, like an AR-15. Just because you haven’t had that particular fun and don’t think it would be much fun for you, doesn’t give you leave to go shoving your broken notion that it’s somehow wrong on anyone else. Nor does it create a situation in which you should expect them to give 2 squirts of cold piss about how you feel about it. If you feel really strongly then actually do something about it. Get involved or hush so to speak. Otherwise you’re really just tilting at internet windmills.

      I could have responded only with the next bit but the previous bits needed to be said. I’m hopeful that the foregoing will assist you in organizing your thinking. Because it’s looking pretty sloppy at the moment.

      Without further ado: Nobody needs to justify anything to you. You need to understand the world you live in and accept that there are bits about it which you do not think you’ll like but which you have not tried and which you feel so strongly that you won’t like it if you try it that you are very sure not to create a situation where you might try it. Possibly just in case. Reasons are not justifications.

      Finally, if the preceeding is taken as an attack or whatever that’s as may be. I don’t care. It’s exactly David’s sort of ham-headed sloppy thinking that’s made critical and rational debate of contentious issues into the wildly rare and dangerous thing that it is.

      1. I didn’t read it as trolling, and I believe it is the same David (I can check when I am on a PC) who is a regular commenter and reader.

        I will be writing my response tonight, but I just read it differently.

        Your response is probably right up to the line of acceptable. Not over it, but no worse please.

        I want passionate disagreement and debate. I welcome dissenting views and I don’t want people to shy away from sharing them based on the tone of the return fire.

        This has been the policy at TTAG and is what I try to maintain here as well.

        1. David says:

          No need for ISP check. You got it right.

          I knew that I was stirring the pot a little w/ that comment but not that bad. Unlike trolling I do really want to know what people think on the issue and why – not merely controversy for the sake of it.

          I know hunters catch alot of (needless) flack – especially from holier-than-thou types (cough socialist cough) who usually know zero about bushcraft & rural living. Their arguments are usually not well grounded.

          I have been hunting before (if farm pest control counts) & while I might not be in the choir for you to preach to I am in the pew and I am friends w/ most of the choir members. I am down w/ weapons & killing and people’s “why’s” for such is what I am interested in.

    2. Grindstone says:

      It’s not the act of killing that is fun. It’s everything else around it that is. Including eating that delicious meat that you obtained for yourself, not packaged by Larry-whose-hairnet-never-quite-stayed-on-while-working-in-the-back-room-of-a-Walmart.
      Being outdoors. Hiking. The challenge of shooting something that is not a stationary piece of paper. Sharing an experience with someone close. Keeping beneficial traditions alive.
      Plus, a certain percent (can’t recall exact number) of all guns and ammo sales go directly to conservation funds. Hunters are the largest, most organized, and most powerful conservation group you will ever see. They don’t grab the headlines, but they make more headway than any other non-hunting environmental group out there when it comes to legislation.

      Hunting is not at all about the killing. That is trophy hunting and only a very, very, VERY small segment of those who hunt waste good meat like that. Typically they’re also the very rich, since they can afford to waste such resources. Don’t conflate the lion-hunting dentist with every deer- and dove-hunter out there. You commit a very bad fallacy doing so.

  2. stuartb says:


  3. cmeat says:

    doves taste better than grilled halibut. so i hunt them for the challenge and the flavor.
    i hunt chipgophers because they wreck my crap and piss me off. and it’s also a challenge, especially with a cheap pellet pistol.

  4. Keep the comments coming. Great stuff and you all have summed it up great.

    I will have a hunting knife related Question of the Day in the morning.

  5. Roger says:

    I hunt to honor my ancestors, pay homage to my gods, and because I enjoy it. I’m a heathen. An actual Odin-hailing Danelaw descended HEATHEN.

    Pastor John Piper said that Christians worry about the intent of an action. And I know quite a few vegan Christians who have the same hold up.

    “Killing for fun is bad” Deer is tasty.
    “You can buy red meat” Can’t buy 2+ hours of walking around in the wilderness armed with your buddies.
    “But you’re causing pain to living creatures” You live in the greatest country during the greatest time in human recollection. Pain is life and living inevitably causes pain to other living beings. But you have made an emotional deal with yourself and society to forgive yourself of that pain. In fact hunting even lessens the pain of other animals by relieving population stressors and thinning out over populated areas.

    But overall hunting is a spiritual experience. One where I feel closer to my ancestors. One where I provide tasty food for Sumbel and Yule. An act in which very little is morally debatable and a lot of it is relaxing fun. A lot of people have problems with different ways other people have fun. Those people are not good people.

    1. cmeat says:

      roger that. do you have an aunt esther?

      1. Roger says:

        No but I do have a few drunk uncles I never see. I don’t mean to proselytize but the term “Heathen” has a direct and limited meaning.

    2. Grindstone says:

      If I had to pick a “religion” I would immediately pick the religion that has unlimited beer and bacon.

      – Sviar decendent

      1. I am pretty sure Odin would prefer Mead. Bacon is cool though.

        1. Grindstone says:

          I’m paraphrasing, but yes it is mead that comes from Heiðrún.

  6. David Said:
    “I knew that I was stirring the pot a little w/ that comment but not that bad.”
    ” I am down w/ weapons & killing and people’s “why’s” for such is what I am interested in.”

    First is an open admission of trolling and I was sure to note the first time that this sort of behaviour was pure trolling. David, redefining the word just to say you didn’t do it is dishonest. You were trolling by definition and you knew it then and you know it now. I don’t care that you were trolling, I simply pointed it out. I actually like to troll but at least I don’t try and label it something else to provide justification for doing it.

    As well, mine was not a mean spirited or even remotely aggressive reply. It was a point by point evisceration of Davids fallacious questions and statements. It was an intelligent, elegant and loquacious attempt to reframe the discussion such that any answers provided wouldn’t be instantly invalidated by the falseness of the question.

    If you want to know what people’s justifications for hunting are then asking incorrectly on an internet article’s comment section is surely not going to get you there. It’ll get you replies which almost never have anything to do with justification because they’re just reasons. One persons reasoning (and I think my first retort displayed this clearly) is not justification. If I ask someone why they smoke cigarettes and they tell me that they enjoy it, that’s a reason and it could be a good reason but it’s not sufficient to speak to the rightness of smoking itself. You see the difference? To speak to the justification of smoking would require a statement that could describe smoking as a good and acceptable thing and which would level the balance of risk vs reward in peoples heads because it made sense on the face of it. Too many people today confuse reasoning for justification.

    It’s important that people understand the difference between reason and justification. Justifications need agreement. Reasons do not. So my earlier statement that any reasons would not suffice and cannot hold any weight in the argument becomes more important because if you’re asking for an argument from personal experience or an argumentum ad populum you’re committing a fallacy and destroying any argument you might care to support with it. If David wants justification for people hunting, the only one that I think matters substantially is, “It’s something humans as a species do.”

    “Why ?” is a question which is poorly formed in that it that asks for reasoning while not asking it of anyone particularly. The question is fallacious and seeks a fallacious answer. To ask why you’re asking for reasons and reasons are subject to being arbitrarily held as unjust. You’re begging the question by assuming that there needs to be a reason when we already have a justification. Why does not address the thing David seems to be trying to get at because that’s not what the question “Why ?” is for. I think the question, “Why do you hunt?” would have avoided the fallacy because it would have addressed it to any single person that cared to respond rather than the entirety of the human hunter population and would have expected reasons and not justifications.

    When phrased as the simple “Why hunt?” it’s not being addressed to a person but to all of us. In such case that we’re expected to answer and the question isn’t simply rhetorical we’d, as a group, need to be able to provide a consistent, widely acceptable and simple statement that would do service to all hunters and non-hunters and especially those that particularly disapprove of hunting which would demonstrate the rightness of our actions without having to resort to fallacies.

    I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just being pedantic but I think that we do huge disservice to ourselves and those that we disagree with when we fail to communicate clearly because we do it incorrectly.

  7. stuartb says:

    Debate by attrition!

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The Mighty Hunter Returns. Empty-handed

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