Today, I came across an outstanding article in The Stillwater Gazette written by veteran and former hunter/trapper, Bradley Ayers. In the article he talks about how he evolved from the senseless recreational killing that so many in Wisconsin are obsessed with and no longer finds joy in it. Mr. Ayers says in the article:
I confess. I once had an addiction. In an earlier life, I was a hunter and trapper of wildlife. Later, in the service, I extended it to humankind.
I’ve been in self-inspired recovery since being hunted, nearly trapped and shot at myself and witnessing first-hand too much bloodshed, agony and death.
I now live in semi-wilderness not far from the St. Croix River. I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s on the North Hill in Stillwater in a familial culture where hunting and trapping was an annual tradition. One learned the trade early on, imbued with the belief that one had to learn to hunt and kill as a sacred right of masculine passage. Returning home with the slain was proof of your skill, and a trophy kill a badge of personal honor and achievement.
I stopped hunting and trapping long ago. For years, I was ambivalent about speaking out because I accepted the cultural and psychological influences motivating those who grew up considering unnecessary killing a sport. I’ve come to recognize how superficial, shallow, fleeting and self-destructive is this violent indulgence.
I’ve come 180 degrees. For me, it is the senseless open seasons on wolves, bears, and in Wisconsin, even mourning doves.
Mr. Ayers goes on to describe how the area where his cabin is located is void of many kinds of life. And points out how most rabid recreational animal killers claim to be “pro-life” but take pleasure in killing other species. He also points out that most never served in the military (i.e. Ted “Poopy Pants” Nugent). The line that stood out to me the most in the article was this:
Maybe I’m on the wrong track and should be thankful and relieved when the fall is here, the harvest moon rises in the sky, frost is on the pumpkin and stalwarts with their dogs wearing radio tracking devices, cell phones, high powered weaponry and sniper and skirmish lines to defend the rest of us who apparently live in constant fear of invasion by bears, wolves and mourning doves.
This article by a fellow veteran, one with vastly more courage than myself, may be the best indictment against recreational hunting/trapping and the sadist mindset, that I have ever read. This article describes many in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota to the exact detail. Read more here: