Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wild Sounds

Unless you're in a national park where the animals have become accustomed to throngs of people, getting a photo of a truly wild animal can be quite challenging. I can't speak for other states but here in Oklahoma, the sight of a coyote or bobcat throws the locals into a state of blood lust whereupon they grab their weapons from the gun rack or behind the seat of their pickups and blast away. No surprise then, that our wildlife avoids the presence of humans if at all possible, running for their very lives at the sight of one. The animals seldom stop to look to see if its a camera lens or a gun barrel that's being aimed at them.

I started thinking about using a predator call to bring in some of the critters. There's dozens of them on the market, mostly designed for hunters of course, but no reason they couldn't just as well be used for photography. And although I would use it only for photos, there is still a bit of an ethical problem. Wild animals, in order to survive, must take in as much energy as they burn. For them to use that energy to find the source of what they think is potential game and then find nothing but a piece of plastic with a speaker on one end, is troublesome. The national wildlife refuges do not permit electronic callers to be used on refuge property for that very reason.

 However, I'm trying to justify using one, if only in my head, based on the conditions of plentiful food and mild weather. To lure a coyote through waist deep snow for instance, would be much more stressful than calling him in across an Oklahoma plain, or so it seems to me. Then there's always the hope, though remote, that a good photo of say, a bobcat, would make some potential shooters think twice and maybe even consider taking up a camera instead of a rifle. Their "trophy" could be a beautiful photo on the wall rather than a bloody carcass or a mount that eventually gets ratty and moth eaten only to eventually be thrown in some attic.

With all that in mind, I began shopping the Internet for a caller. Finding one in my price range, I studied the reviews to check on the quality of the product. That turned out to be a little disturbing. Dozens of users told of calling in the "yotes" (coyotes) and dropping them within minutes of turning the caller on. Another young man related how two raccoons and a skunk showed up on his first night out which he promptly shot and killed, proudly displaying their corpses on the tailgate of his pickup. I don't get it. Hunting for the dinner table or for survival or to control over-population or to protect livestock is one thing, but killing a coon or skunk just to watch it fall? What's up with that?

Maybe I'm getting soft and sentimental in my old age, but in my opinion, calling in a wild animal, in season or not, for no other reason than using it for target practice is not only unethical, it's just plain disgusting. Again, I don't get it.

1 comment:

  1. Agree wholeheartedly. Can understand hunting can be necessary for overpopulation....a lot of deer would die much worse deaths of starvation without it...but just shooting a living, breathing wild animal for target practice? It's beyond me too. YD


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