Deer Hunting, the First Amendment and Connecticut

Jessica Kordas

The first amendment issues in the news sparked my interest, I headed for the internet to see how U.S. v. Stevens was impacting Connecticut.  Big Game Hunting, a website with a Connecticut news page, has posted an article about US v. Stevens. The article shows particular concern that educational hunting videos will be banded:

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation and its over 4,500 member companies oppose animal cruelty, which is illegal in every state, and stress that hunting scenes are not representative of criminal behavior. Hunting is a legitimate, licensed activity, and responsible hunters respect the animals they pursue and utilize,” said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF. “Such images assist novices with basic hunting and field dressing techniques and provide education about wildlife conservation and safe and ethical hunting.”  Article available in it’s entirety here .

The hunting community is afraid that people will not have access to educational hunting videos?  In order to ban hunting videos the footage in the videos must be considered to be animal cruelty.  Chances are that is their real concern, besides, there is an exception for truly educational videos.

Reminders that it is hunting season have been part of the local news broadcasts lately.  A warning to hikers and other outdoors types to stay away from the deer reduction zones.  Connecticut has taken the stance that the hunting of white tail deer can resume so long as it is closely monitored in order to keep the population to a sustainable number.  Signs are posted at the entrance to the local state parks notifying visitors that the park is closed, to all non-hunters that is.  To the hunters a warning; wear bright clothing or run the risk of being mistaken as prey.

I live in Wilton, CT; we have deer, coyote, foxes, hawks, all kinds of rodents, and I’m sure a number of other creepy crawlies I’d prefer not to know live in the woods close to my back door.  While I do not appreciate the deer stealing the next night’s dinner from my garden, I dislike hunting much more.

It is disturbing to me that people are hunting in places open to the public, places where people take their children to enjoy nature.  While the parks are closed during hunting season, they are still public parks.  Should they not be open to the public during one of the most beautiful times of year in New England?  Even more disturbing is the fact that some of these hunting zones back up to residential areas.  Can you imagine a hunter with his gun or bow appearing in your back yard, or accidentally killing your dog? In a neighboring town a hunter knocked on the door of a couple to ask if he could retrieve his kill from their back yard, see story here.  The nerve!

Allowing hunters so close to our homes is outrageous, but what bothered me more was that I could not find any information on the governmental or town websites listing or exploring alternative, non-lethal ways to decrease the deer populations.  The explosion of the deer population is why hunting of white tailed deer is allowed and tracked so carefully.  There is a department set up to evaluate the new hunting standards and tracking procedures, online forms hunters use to register their kills, there is even an earn-a-buck program; a program where a hunter brings his kill to the kill station to document the killing of three non-antlered deer and then gets special permission to kill a buck.  There is something wrong with this picture. We are the reason the deer population is out of control, we have done our best to rid the area of predators, and have built into the deer’s home.  As a community Connecticut’s response is to create an earn-a-buck program? See, antlerless deer and replacement tags.

I’m not sure that there are effective approved ways to limit the population of deer in a non-lethal way(this may be because I’m not looking in the right places). I’ve done a bit of reading and none of the non-lethal options seem to be very effective.  Brings me back to my first thought, if animal cruelty is determined to be a compelling governmental interest could hunting be on the chopping block?  Killing for sport does not appear to be necessary, the killing is typically not for sustenance, the kills are said to be done for the greater good of the deer population.

At the end of the day hunters hunt for sport, the thrill of the case and power rush that comes from playing god.

5 Responses

  1. […] See more here:  Deer Hunting, the First Amendment and Connecticut « Animal Blawg […]

  2. Better to hunt themself!!

  3. The Court will not uphold the content-based criminalization of videos that may well be brought to trial by arbitrary and capricious prosecutorial decisions.

    And I have to say that I never thought of a Human Sacrifice Channel until a justice raced the possibility and I have contacted my cable provider to see if it is possible. Might be a good alternative to the drivel currently on offer.

  4. […] Animalblawg on deer hunting and the first amendment […]

  5. How is this for cruelty… female deer breeding with their own male offspring for 1 or 2 generations, creating a very abnormal gene pool which results in disease and degenerate animals.This is what happens when the deer population is too high in any given area. Now these weak animals have over browsed all typical deer food sources.They resort to eating the bark off of trees destroying the forest and local watershed. Now the winter comes. These under nourished animals are too weak to survive, freezing and or starving to death. Worse than this (if you have the stomach to read this).. they are torn apart alive by a group of wild dogs usually starting with their genitalia and throats. According to you.. the cruel thing to do is dispatch these animals quickly for food ( many hunters donating the meat to food shelters to feed hungry less fortunate humans).By doing this “cruel” act they are creating a more even buck to doe ratio which causes more competition for larger, healthy and stronger mature males to service the females. This resulting in a more vibrant and robust deer herd.If any of you have seen the pictures from Quabin resevoir before the “controlled” hunts showing dozens and dozens of deer lying dead on they forest floor. What a wonderful sight that would be for you hikers. Then you could say “oh thank God these weren’t killed by those cruel hunters”)These deer weren’t the ones ripped apart by wild dogs because the prefer the chase and killing for fresh warm meat.Hunters donate more money each year than anyone else. How much money have you donated to help the deer population? Hypocrites.

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