This Web page was created by Ivana Marinkovic peregrina@altavista.net dec 1999 <-------------------------------------------->

Read this

before you flame me:

Once upon a time... all biologists and all who loved nature were hunters. People did not have enough leisure time to go out just to enjoy looking at nice critters that could extinguish hunger (= be eaten) anyway. The arystocracy had time enough, but they wanted to show the sub-classes what they were up to if they disobey; the totalitarian rulers of today do the same. (Say, Russian leaders, and our own President Tito did.) As on the scientific side, the only way to find out what or which creature you were dealing with was to shoot it, net it, or otherwise capture it, and then eat it, but first cut it up to see what it was made of anyhow. As time went by the tools and instruments were perfected and killing animals for identification became obsolete, as one had optical instruments (binoculars and telescopes and photographic cameras) to study animals from afar, and x-rays and such to see what's inside without killing them. Also the main food source for say today's tropical rainforest expedition is brought to them by helicopter at worst, and nobody relies on hunting for survival any more. However, we can not and do not forget that we are a predatory species. We have the instinct - not for killing, but for hunting. People can wait patiently in silence for hours on end to catch a fish, or shoot at a deer, or to spot through binoculars a certain elusive bird. Nothing can make people do this and love it, but instinct. We also love to chase animals, and stash things like stamps collectors, and commune with others that do the same, and what's all that but hunter's instincts. Now if you live in a part of the world where it is customary to eat what you catch and where the traditional hunting practices are alive and well, you will probably join your local hunting club or something and go out in the bush and get your deer or whatever. But if you have been raised away from all this, say in a big city, you will either go find some substitute and idulge in hunting for rare stamps or something, or the desire to return back to nature will prevail and you will buy yourself a pair of binoculars and a book and go birdwatching, or you might buy yourself a beagle pupy and follow it across land (and water). After a while you might desire to indulge in some form of competition relating to the art of hunting, like tracking and field trials, and it's been said that more and more people in Western Europe do these kind of exercises, which are not the hunting proper but are very much related, and whatsmore provide the competition which the traditional thing does not. (Don't say that you have shot more birds than your mate. You only were in the more populated area. Don't tell me that you shoot the prize deer. As I see it, he should have been left to improve the population, and another and smaller deer culled instead; but you have poor eyesight and shouldn't have been issued firearms anyway, so you shot the bigger target because it was easier to hit.) Well, the sport of shooting seems competitive enough, but believe me I found it the most boring of all the boring activities. Can't compare with waiting-in-hiding as I mentioned above. So after all you will not see hunting die out. Change, perhaps, but not die.
There is another very good reason for which hunting must not die out, not yet at least. That is because of civilisation's own influence on natural environment. Many wish that it isn't so, that wilderness be left to itself, but let's set things straight: there is not any wilderness left. The ecological balance is so askew that it would take millenia to repair by itself even if human population dissapears overnight. Go read about the mathematics of Chaos. The predators are gone gone gone. Look at the Vermont deer - beloved cute critters have ultimately become a pest. In future, perhaps, it will be possible to create viable ecosystems on order, but not for now and the only practical method is hunting. Thankfully there are people who are willing to do this job without pay and with reasonable amount of discipline, the cost would be overhelming otherwise. Mind you, as there is no real wilderness, one cannot talk about real hunting. All we have left is simulations of ancient customs.
A word on boar-hunting here. Not ranch-boar-hunting USA style, that's butchery pure and simple, but real traditional European thing. Many think that this is the last real hunting left in the world, as all other game needs carefull management, while boars do well by themselves and the only problem with them is that they have to be culled heavily (they do a lot of crop damage otherwise). One is also in danger of geting hurt in such hunts, and many dogs get killed by the boars. One way to cut down on dog deaths is to train dogs on captive-bred wild pigs (say, tame wild pigs?) usually kept in an couple of acres sized enclosure. Training is done by releasing dogs into the pig's enclosure one at a time. Pigs chase dog, dog barks at pigs, dog learns something. Competitions are held in a similar way. It is usually one dog to one or two male boars, spacious place preferably with undergrowth, and the dog has to find the pigs (some don't, some try to get out instead) and bark and the best searcher and barker is pronounced the winner. Sometimes, a dog is badly hurt, or dies, and the general opinion that such a dog ir either too agressive or not agile enough and would have perished while hunting anyway and perhaps endanger other dogs and humans at the occasion. Sometimes a dog pinches a boar, but such breeds as are used for this (scenthounds, some terriers and (yes!) dachhounds) can't do any damage. Apart from that, these pigs have much better life than any other captive pig (bar some lucky pets) and some seem to like having dogs to play around with. So yes, althought I do not hunt I do take my dogs to boar trials and we all enjoy it. This is entirely different from badger- and fox-baiting that still goes on... untill fairly recently it was even obligatory for hunting terriers and dachunds (FCI regulations for litter registration)...
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Last revised: 9. dec. 1999.