About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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July 11, 2008

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Strange Bedfellows

     This opinion piece in today's Bismark Tribune got me thinking about a question I ponder from time to time. I realize I'm drifting into perilous waters, but the question is, is it possible to find any common ground between hunters and certain animals rights activists?
     I've long wondered if the issue of canned hunts is a rare area where these typically opposing groups could potentially agree. And that's the point the director of the Northern Rockies regional office for The Humane Society makes in this piece.
     "Some North Dakota sportsmen might be skeptical of the Humane Society..." he says of those who oppose canned hunts, "But we applaud the North Dakota hunters who aim to put the 'hunt' back in hunting and the 'wild' back in wildlife."
    Of course, I'm by no means suggesting that all animal activists are approachable. As we all know, many are beyond reason, radical, and sometimes criminal.
     But I'd like to think there's the occasional person or group chapter here and there -- as I hope we can trust opinions such as this to indicate -- who are able to recognize a common cause.
     Based on your own sense of animal rights activists, do you think there's room for dialog on issues such as canned hunting, or are the differences too great? -K.H.


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NorCal Cazadora

There may be some specific issues where we can agree, but the root of our respective beliefs are that we, as hunters, believe it is right that we should kill and eat animals, and the animal rights activists believe it is wrong.

HSUS opposes hunting for all but subsistence, and its goal is to chip away at various hunting practices one at a time. When the HSUS goes into North Dakota and talks about what's "sporting" and "ethical" and "fair" in a practice that it utterly opposes (hunting), it is being completely disingenuous. HSUS doesn't give a hoot about what's sporting - it cares only that public support for high-fence hunting is low, and therefore, this is a battle it thinks it can win.

Personally, I can find common ground with lots of people and groups, but make no mistake: Field & Stream would be an underground publication about criminals and their crimes if HSUS had its way. I don't think it's in my best interest to collaborate with that group in any way.


No, I don't believe for a minute that there's any room for discussion with this group. I agree with Holly that they think this is a battle they can win, so they're jumping on that band-wagon. As for my personal feelings about "canned hunts"...I've never been on one unless you would call 86,000 hectares all under high fence in Southern Zimbabwe a "canned" hunt. But I turned down a free pheasant hunt because the birds were all pen raised and released only hours before the hunt. That just didn't "feel right" to me.

Laura Bell

Hunters and Anti Hunters...
The hunters want to end "High fenced" hunts because it's not 100% wild and fair chase. Anti's want to end it becuase it's Hunting, period. I would not call that joining forces.

Jackson Landers

There is a great deal of common ground between hunters and animal rights activists. What I tell people who express shock at the fact that I hunt is that this is, ethically, the next best thing to being a vegetarian.

By obtaining most of my family's animal protein through hunting for deer, I am avoiding supporting factory farms that effectively torture pigs and chickens for their entire lives in unnatural conditions. All of our meat is free-range, organic and has zero food miles (shot in our own backyard usually). The animals that we eat had good, healthy, normal lives in the wild and then experienced one bad afternoon. This is ethically superior to holding a pig in a cage without seeing the sun from birth to execution.

Once you start putting it that way, you will absolutely find that many animal rights activists become quite sympathetic. They know that I'm not 100% with them in the sense that I do eat meat. But technically I am more of an ally than the typical cheeseburger-eating non-hunter on the street. And I do happen to agree with them that a great deal of animal testing is both unnecessary and wrong.

It's all a matter of having the right attitude and not ranting against PETA or liberals or animal lovers. Be polite, speak their language and understand ecology and ethics well enough to discuss those things in depth. You will win hearts and minds.


A big NO! I have dealt with anti-hunters and I find them liars, devious and violent. Let us NEVER confuse an anti-hunter with a non-hunter. I know allot of non-hunters who may not support hunting, BUT do not seek to ban hunting. They have the same attitude of most ethical hunters. That is to hunt safely, respect the outdoors for all and respect wildlife.


I wouldn't be caught dead, sleeping in the same bed as HSUS........they would be writting the Mr. and Mrs. BOBBIT story all over again....