The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

View Poll Results: is it poaching?
this is a case of poaching, pure and simple. 68 91.89%
this is a case of doing what's right. 6 8.11%
Voters: 74. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 13, 2012, 08:54 PM   #1
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,570
hypothetical ethics discussion

hello all.
recent discussions regarding population controls and local events have come together to create a interesting topic that I felt like addressing. allow me to pose a hypothetical scenario.

let's say that we have a certain game animal in the area. the local hunting laws restrict harvest to only mature males, making females and immature males illegal to hunt. as a result over generations the female population rises and since all of the healthy, larger males are being harvested while the smaller sickly ones are left in the gene pool all of the male offspring are also smaller and harder to distinguish from juveniles. with none of these animals being harvested the population explodes and the animals begin to starve. the local authorities refuse to bring the population down to healthy numbers and refuse to lighten the restrictions on harvest requirements, meanwhile the animals suffer.

so say a group of outdoorsmen take it into their own hands to thin the population and take some of the strain off both the animals and the land. even though there is no malice, they do not take trophies, and they only want to help the game even when the authorities won't, they are labeled as poachers and face serious charges if apprehended.

so my question to the internet is
are these men justified or are they simply poachers with no regard for the law?
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.

Last edited by tahunua001; July 15, 2012 at 01:09 AM. Reason: poor choice of words
tahunua001 is offline  
Old July 13, 2012, 09:16 PM   #2
Tickling
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2011
Posts: 181
It's poaching.

Those animals will die one way or another anyway. It's only speeding up the process a bit. It could be argued to be more humane, but why do it?
Tickling is offline  
Old July 13, 2012, 09:22 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
They're poachers.

If you want the law changed, work to get it changed.

We are a society of laws. Within normal reason, we do not get to decide which are just/right/proper and which are not.

That's anarchy.

They're poachers, and the situation is an excuse. No small group of people could possibly affect the population of an entire regional species and do so "under the radar". It won't work and it's an excuse to be criminals.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old July 13, 2012, 09:45 PM   #4
phil mcwilliam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2007
Posts: 573
Is it OK to break the law because you feel you can justify your actions??, The answer is no. Any poacher will try to justify their actions, being it putting food on the table, or "just trying to keep the population in check".
If it is a major problem, start a petition, form a lobby group, & try & get the law changed, even if for a one off cull managed by game wardens.
phil mcwilliam is offline  
Old July 13, 2012, 09:52 PM   #5
Hansam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2012
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 763
Its poaching. No matter how good the intentions behind it you're still breaking the law and you're still poaching.

If you're truly not happy with the situation then work to get the situation changed legally. By going about it outside the law and taking things into their own hands the sportsmen are no longer sportsmen - they've become poachers and law breakers.
__________________
This is who we are, what we do.
Hansam is offline  
Old July 13, 2012, 10:15 PM   #6
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,570
Quote:
Is it OK to break the law because you feel you can justify your actions?
not that I'm condoning these actions I think I would be remiss if I did not point out that that the founding fathers of the U.S. were in just such a place. they were commiting treason and breaking the law of the land for reasons which they felt justified. they lobbied and potitioned their government to change it's laws before war broke out. at what point does anarchy become justifiable defiance?

granted that there is a major difference between wildlife management and revolution but are not all Americans obliged to challenge laws which they consider unjust, unethical or just obsolete?
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.

Last edited by tahunua001; July 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM.
tahunua001 is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 12:19 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
You're talking about different universes. There is no comparison. The one is irrelevent to the other.

The same argument could be made about seatbelt laws, fishing limits, car mufflers, marijuana...

We are a nation of laws, within any normal circumstance, we do not choose which laws we follow and which we don't.

When they start burning people at the stake because they *insert action here*, we can start talking about disobeying laws.

Until then, it's nothing more than justification for criminal behavior, a way to appease one's conscience.

While we're at it, anyone posting in this thread ought to keep the forum rules in mind....

5. Topics and conduct that will not be tolerated:
Drive-by cut and paste posting
Puerile bickering
Political Advocacy posts, or any purely political topic. However, some very few exceptions may be made.
Conspiracy threads or posts
Posts or threads on Race, Religion, and Sexuality
The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI), AKA: SHTF or Doomsday threads and Zombie threads
Knowingly and willfully advocating violation of a standing federal or state law (any state)
Violating our Copyrighted Material Policy
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 12:25 AM   #8
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 2,013
It's a definite lack of ethical behavior. Poaching, however justified, is a crime. Wanton kiling of game animals is also a serious felony. The Margaret Sanger eugenics defense will not go very far in court, for good reason.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 01:34 AM   #9
Pond, James Pond
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 12, 2011
Location: Top of the Baltic stack
Posts: 3,243
If the law says "no" and they do it, it is poaching.

Your poll makes two statements: one about the law and so a statement of fact, other other a question of ethics and so opinion, so already while a person may feel it is right to do, it will still be poaching....

Aside from that, there is an aspect to the scenario that I don't fully agree with.

Quote:
as a result over generations the female population rises and natural selection takes hold and since all of the healthy, larger males are being harvested while the smaller sickly ones are left in the gene pool all of the male offspring are also smaller and harder to distinguish from juveniles.
Firstly, "juvenile" and "small and sickly" are not the same thing.

There is nothing to say that the juveniles of today will not grow into fully developed, strong males in their time...

IMO, if there are small and sickly bucks, that has nothing to do with the law: a rifle bullet is not drawn to only healthy bucks, but whatever you sight in the crosshairs.

If, in hunting, people target the biggest buck they can find, then that is the cause of the dwindling gene pool. They are the ones being shot, when in fact, in the wild they'd be the most likely to survive.

If only "sickly" bucks are left around to breed, then the healthy male population is being over-hunted. Otherwise those smaller bucks wouldn't get to see any "action" with the big guys still around....

Seems to me that there are two plausible solutions to this scenario:
1. Allow for hunting of some of the female population, rather than the males. As one male can impregnate multiple females, then the females are the ones to control.

Or

2. Reintroduce the region's and the deers' natural predator; presumably the wolf. That would ensure that only the strongest bucks and does are available for breeding, because even with option 1, hunters are likely to go for the fine specimens (strong genes) as opposed to the weaker ones (which is what the wolves would target).

For me that seems to be one disadvantage of rifle hunting as a means of pop control: it does not seem to target the weak, but the strong, given that the range and speed of a bullet is such an advantage for the hunter. A big prize is more appealing than a small one, a big target easier to shoot than a small one etc

So, ultimately, there probably will be a weakening of the gene pool, unless hunters actively look for deer that are not prime examples of the species...
__________________
You cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep. Stop pretending. Wake up.
Freedom: Please enjoy responsibly.
Pond, James Pond is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 05:24 AM   #10
BIG P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2010
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 1,623
Yes its poaching.Ethics discussions come in many ways.How about this your the game officer for the area,You come up on a man that you know that has lost his job, Has 4 kids and is just down & out by no fault of his own.The man has never been in trouble of anykind, you know a good guy.But he has a illegal deer in his truck.He tells you the kids are hungry & he has no money You know this to be true.

This is poaching too,What would you do? I know some would say this is the USA,just go get food stamps let someone else pay for it.There are still some Americans that really dont like that chain of thought.So witch is the less of the 2 evils?
BIG P is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 06:39 AM   #11
Kreyzhorse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2006
Location: NKY
Posts: 11,523
You can't justify those actions, it is clearly poaching.

Like Peetza said, work to change the law and make an impact for the good of the entire state's herd, not just a local population.
__________________
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
Kreyzhorse is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 08:26 AM   #12
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,604
The original premise is flawed. The makeup of a population of whitetail has had this same argument applied.

It is just not possible to clean a pasture/woods of mature bucks. Even so, the genes are passed on during the rut. If not by Ol' Biggie, then by his son, Ol' Biggie-to-be, who has the same genes.

That said, harvesting only the bucks can create a surplus of does and a population which grows beyond the carrying capacity of the land. That leads to a reduction in average body size of the entire herd. (Gee, sounds like central Texas, to me, Martha. )

When I moved back to the old family place outside Austin in 1967, there were way too many deer on the place. In those days, I could get one doe permit for each fifty acres. Yuck. I ignored the law and went on a culling campaign. Does, mature spikes, and scraggle-horn bucks. Gutting a deer in August in Texas ain't no fun. But, all were eaten.

After three years the average body weight was up 20 to 30 percent. The bucks had decent horns. What I'd done was reduce the herd back toward the carrying capacity of the land. Just like my grandfather had explained to me some twenty-five years before.

Poaching? No. Call it jury nullification. Rational agricultural practice in ranching--for deer instead of cows, sheep or goats.

A few years and many tax dollars later, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission publicized that they had also learned about carrying capacity after controlling the numbers in one high-fence pasture and not controlling the numbers in another high-fence pasture.

I have no problems with obeying rational law. But when a law contradicts known and sound agricultural practice, I go with reality. I'm not going to plant row crops up and down a hillside, either. The land comes first.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is online now  
Old July 14, 2012, 09:28 AM   #13
BigMikey76
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 3, 2011
Location: Bellevue, NE
Posts: 437
Poaching, plain and simple.

I give this the same response I give to my high school students when they try to justify breaking the rules: If you know and understand the rules, there is no excuse for breaking them. If you don't know the rules, then you need to learn them, because ignorance is not a valid excuse.

The rules are there for a reason. Whether we agree with the reason, or even know what the reason is doesn't make a difference. If we disagree with the rule or the reason behind it, there are ways to try to get it changed, but the first step in any legitimate attempt to change a rule should be to OBEY THE RULE. By doing so, we demonstrate that we are law abiding citizens whose requests should receive due consideration. Breaking the rule demonstrates the opposite, and will only serve to strengthen the resolve of the people on the other side of the argument.

Quote:
are not all Americans obliged to challenge laws which they consider unjust, unethical or just obsolete?
Absolutely. It is not only the right, but the responsibility of each citizen to question our leaders when we think they are wrong. Challenging a law and breaking it, however, are two different things. Your comparison to the American Revolution is really no comparison at all. Our founding fathers were British citizens who felt they were being denied the rights that their citizenship should have guaranteed. They tried for many years to go through proper channels in order to achieve the change they were after, and they eventually concluded that the actions of the British government were, by its own standards, criminal. I don't think the same concept applies to game regulations, no matter how you twist it.
__________________
“Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.”

A gun should be a tool in the hands of a deadly weapon, not a deadly weapon in the hands of a tool.

Last edited by BigMikey76; July 14, 2012 at 02:05 PM.
BigMikey76 is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 09:50 AM   #14
rgrundy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 29, 2012
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 188
If the law is not Unconstitutional obey it. Hunting is a privilege not a right in most states so yes it is poaching. The Bible even says to submit yourself to rulers so there is no justification there either.
rgrundy is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 10:44 AM   #15
buck460XVR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 2,289
Quote:
are these men justified or are they simply poachers with no regard for the law?
Pretty simple question deserving of a simple answer........Dirtball Poachers. Sorry, but every poacher comes up with a personal justification of why they poach. Truth is, they are criminals with criminal intent.

Quote:
not that I'm condoning these actions I think I would be remiss if I did not point out that that the founding fathers of the U.S. were in just such a place. they were commiting treason and breaking the law of the land for reasons which they felt justified. they lobbied and potitioned their government to change it's laws before war broke out. at what point does anarchy become justifiable defiance?
There's a 'ell of a difference between poaching animals in today's modern society and the fight of a people 230 years ago against Tyranny. This is grasping at straws in a most ridiculous way.
buck460XVR is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 11:29 AM   #16
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,585
Quote:
let's say that we have a certain game animal in the area. the local hunting laws restrict harvest to only mature males, making females and immature males illegal to hunt. as a result over generations the female population rises and natural selection takes hold and since all of the healthy, larger males are being harvested while the smaller sickly ones are left in the gene pool all of the male offspring are also smaller and harder to distinguish from juveniles. with none of these animals being harvested the population explodes and the animals begin to starve. the local authorities refuse to bring the population down to healthy numbers and refuse to lighten the restrictions on harvest requirements, meanwhile the animals suffer.
Regardless of the illegal aspect of poaching in the "hypothetical' query which as Art has pointed out is not a new query/argument, what I find most troubling is the clear lack of understanding of what is going on or the overly creative justification for killing. Either way, it is pretty ludicrous.

If natural selection is taking over (which is a blatantly stupid notion since hunters have culled the population heavily and so isn't natural and in response to whatever impacts that there are on the population, natural selection is always in operation amongst the remaining population), why would you think you need to have hunters go in and cull the population? What is it that you think "natural selection" means? So the animals are starving for a few years. Yes, it is a horrible tragedy, but you know what, natural selection will take care of that if allowed to proceed. Going in to artificially cull the population isn't letting natural selection do its job just like the over cull of large males didn't.

Natural selection is not a kind process. It never has been. Nature is not kind at all. Every few years we see jackrabbit and prairie dog population explosions followed by population crashes that happen quite naturally, but nobody is worried about the jackrabbits and prairie dogs. So long as there is habitat, the population will adjust accordingly.

The notion that hunters taking all the big healthy males has left a population of smaller sickly individuals is naive at best. The trend may be for a reduction in the size of the individuals within the population which is a perfectly natural result, but being smaller does not indicate that they are sickly. In fact, the smaller individuals may be much more healthy. If the population explodes relative to the food supply, as with populations of large animals that end up on small island such that over time, the species actually reduces in overall size on that island in a process called insular dwarfism. The classic example of insular dwarfism that has been repeated in different parts of the world is with the dwarf mammoth elephants (rather silly terminology like jumbo shrimp).

In short, when a selective process acts on a population, the population will respond naturally. So when large males are selected against, in this case by hunters, the population will respond naturally. The overall size of individuals in the population may be reduced, but that is not an indication of poor health. So ethically, it would be wrong to go out and to try to kill off a bunch of this alledged smaller sickly population because you are not letting natural selection respond appropriately. All it really sounds like is a way to come up with a faux scientific justification to go out and shoot animals in the name of helping them. That doesn't wash. Also, human hunters being what they are, you can bet that the hunters are not going to just cull the "sickly" undersized adults. As already noted, males are hard to distinguish from females and and both from juveniles. So what your hunters are going to likely do is end up shooting the biggest individuals they see, further damaging the potrential for the desired larger sized individuals.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 12:47 PM   #17
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,162
Quote:
are these men justified or are they simply poachers with no regard for the law?
Good thing this is a hypothetical ethics discussion. Otherwise those men would stand trial and be adjudicated as being guilty of poaching. In most States I believe deer in the wild are considered a Natural Resource. Thus a States deer herd falls under State restrictions and laws set by those elected officials holding office. In that States Legislative Branches. One option a resident has to perhaps change his or her's current law. Is their Vote at election time.
__________________
Watch it!!! their both out to get us.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 12:58 PM   #18
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,604
In a way, this is much like the argument between Arizona and the DOJ.

Police powers are delegated by the people to the State. If the State refuses to act, who's left?

For deer, all you have to do is look for a browse line in the trees, where the deer have to eat tree leaves instead of herbs and forbs. (Same as in goat pastures.) You can drive down a highway at 70mph and tell whether or not the land is overloaded. (Lotsa "ruint" land between Phoenix, AZ, and Uvalde or Sonora, TX.)

When a pasture is over-goated with deer and the State doesn't act? "You take care of the land and it will take care of you." -- My grandfather, circa 1942.

By and large I have no resentment at following game laws. Easy to obey, since most of them are quite sensible. But the land itself is far more important. Ruined land doesn't feed many people.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is online now  
Old July 14, 2012, 01:18 PM   #19
jmr40
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 6,180
There is want is legal, and what is right. We have a tradition in this country of doing the sensible thing. I'm not a drinking man, but the 18th amendment which banned "intoxicating liquors" from 1920-1933 was one of the dumbest laws ever conceived and was largely ignored by everyone. It lead to greater crime, corruption in LE and politics, destroyed faith in Law enforcement and elected officials that is still a problem to this day. Many other laws were only changed because a group of people refused to obey them. Think of the civil rights movement. The 1994 AWB was largely ignored and unenforced in the majority of the country.

Quote:
I think I would be remiss if I did not point out that that the founding fathers of the U.S. were in just such a place. they were commiting treason and breaking the law of the land
This is a valid point and anyone who does not understand this needs a refresher course in American history. Civil disobedience is an American tradition that has been used since the beginning of this country and is often necessary to make positive changes.

The same is true of game laws. Baiting has been illegal here in GA forever, but that law was ignored and unenforceable for so long that the GA legislature finally conceded to make it legal in the southern half of the state. There was more opposition in the north so this is the compromise they came up with.

I will not advise someone to break a law, but would not call anyone a poacher who did this.
jmr40 is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 01:32 PM   #20
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,651
If a dozen voters walk into a state representative's office things tend to happen.
That is especially true if there is no cost to the rep or to government giving them what they want. More so when government could get some revenue.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 02:33 PM   #21
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,604
"If a dozen voters walk into a state representative's office things tend to happen."

Before passage, 67% of the American people opposed Obamacare.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is online now  
Old July 14, 2012, 03:48 PM   #22
JerryM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,884
I suppose one can think of a scenario to justify in his own mind whatever he might desire, but we are a nation of law, albeit poorly executed sometimes. I am not aware that any state does not have a game department that is dedicated to proper game management.

If you do not agree with the way they do it then go to the legislature, but the thought that you should break the law just because you think you know best is the height of nonsense. It will also get you convicted of a rather serious crime.

Let the state game management people handle it. I do not think such a scenario as posed by the OP can be reasonably possible today.

Jerry
__________________
Ecclesiastes 12:13 *¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 *For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
JerryM is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 06:53 PM   #23
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,604
Jerry, in general I can agree. But a goodly number of people understood "carrying capacity" long before anybody ever heard of a game department. For that matter, even TP&WD didn't understand it until the 1970s. Such knowledge was commonplace in my family in the 1800s.

It's not always a matter of "thinking" about knowing best--or at the least, better.

Based on sixteen years of employment in government, I guarantee you that such employment does not create wisdom.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is online now  
Old July 14, 2012, 07:12 PM   #24
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,764
All that we do or don't do, has consequences !!

The foundation in any hunter's code of ethics, is to obey "all" state's DNR laws. That is what we teach to young hunters during our hunter safety classes. ....

That is not to say that they don't make mistakes that we have to live with but that's life. Iowa has made it's share of mistakes and hunters and game are now paying the price. ....

Quote:
so say a group of outdoorsmen take it into their own hands to thin the population and take some of the strain off both the animals and the land.
Perhaps totally uninformed and somewhat self serving and they know better than the state's DNR. There are town meeting where these concerns can be addressed and prefered to breaking the law.

Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old July 14, 2012, 07:14 PM   #25
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,585
Quote:
We have a tradition in this country of doing the sensible thing.
Wow, to say that and then follow it up with Prohibition and treason sort of kills the argument. You can just as well argue that in this country, we have the tradition of doing stupid things. This is a valid point and anyone who does not understand this needs a refresher course in American history.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14849 seconds with 10 queries