Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility
Everyone knows by now that Ted Nugent is publicly whining about getting slapped with fines for a 2009 hunting trip to Alaska where he wounded a bear with a compound bow and then bagged another bear at a bait station with the same hunting license.
While Nugent plead guilty to the charge, he continues to argue that federal officials are out to get him and using an archaic, long-forgotten statute as their bat.
Actually the law is not archaic, nor is it long forgotten. That a local judge couldn’t list it from memory means nothing at all.
In fact, the rules are pretty clear and consistent across almost all states. If you wound a big game animal, you must do your best to put it down. And, if you can’t harvest the animal, then you’ve used your permit to no avail.
You can’t go out and use it again.
The reason is clear. Wounding a big game animal without putting it down is cruel.
If everyone could just shoot away until they hit something that dropped in its tracks, there would be a lot of painfully wounded big game wandering in the hills, trying desperately to survive and posing a threat to anyone else in the area.
Nugent just happens to be one of those guys who thinks that’s ok.
Can he claim ignorance of the statute?
Of course not. Ignorance is not a defense, anywhere.
In fact, this is the second time that Nugent has blatantly violated the law during a big game hunt.
The first time, he shot a too-young buck that had been baited into the open in California. Both the baiting and the fact that the buck was too young to harvest were illegal. That he did it on camera for a television wildlife hunting episode naturally opened the offense to public criticism and should have alerted him that future offenses would also be closely watched.
The real issue isn’t the statute at all.
The real issue is why this blatantly irresponsible hunter gets any respect for his techniques.
I don’t think any serious hunter in his right mind can pretend that baiting is an acceptable hunting technique. Over generations, most big game have learned to thrive on trash left by humans and bears are at the top of that list. Putting out a barrel with enough food to last for days is like putting the animal in a trap.
I also don’t see how any responsible hunter could not know that you should bring down a wounded animal. That’s just common sense and the humane thing to do.
If you don’t think you can track the animal if it is wounded, you shouldn‘t shoot.
Anyone who hunts with a bow should be particularly cognizant of this, because the chances of a non-lethal shot are much higher. Especially if the target is a bear.
To my mind, it’s cruel and stupid to hunt a bear with a bow, for this very reason. But that’s just my opinion.
Nugent’s wrongdoing goes way, way beyond that.
I have no doubt that the officials are using Nugent as an example in this case.
He’s a loud-mouth spokesman for the NRA and he did something stupid that a lot of Fish and Game (Federal) people see every year and they are becoming increasingly tired of it.
They needed a case like this to make people aware of the cruelty they are inflicting if they don’t make a good faith effort to put down a wounded animal.
But, that’s not a conspiracy, That’s just taking advantage of an opportunity to teach a more humane way to hunt.