Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Target: Coursing

As many regular readers will know, I hunt with coursing dogs-- in my case, Asian tazis from Kazakhstan. Being a primitive who lives deep in the boonies, not to mention an enthusiastic carnivore, I am a hunter plain and simple. We go out, we chase, we sometimes catch, we eat (a hare recipe was recently provided).


Organized Open Field Coursing is not some arena sport-- it is the same thing with rules. Out in a wild place, a "field" of people walks with their dogs on leashes. When a hare flushes, two are slipped. The dogs are then scored at their ability-- how many times the hare can be "turned", for instance. It is common that a good hare that evades the dogs is cheered. But of course if there is anyone like me there the dead hare is also prized-- and if not, they also can be cooked for dog food (cooked because of intestinal worms).



Two days ago a well known, long- time courser sent me an email.

"The [show on coursing] aired on ABC-TV last night. Investigative reporters discovered a blood sport flourishing in the Bay Area. They have already found a legislator to sponsor a bill prohibiting coursing. They have also publicly
announced the date of the Grand Course, obviously in the hope of getting a demonstration going."

As I wrote to an English hawker and dog man today: "What happened is that some IDIOTS in California invited a "friendly" film crew to a coursing meet, not knowing they had ties to the most radical Animal rights groups! The footage was aired on TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. They set up a "poll" asking whether "hunting rabbits with dogs should be banned". Amazingly, we actually won it!-- I will take some credit because my "tree" of networks is extensive and we got hundreds of fox people and hawkers to vote as well as the poor longdog folks. But ABC is planning a follow- up and I heard they were discouraging any pro - coursing commentators. Meanwhile the AR thugs have published the phone numbers and even addresses of people on the coursing list, including several over 70, one over 80 who is recovering from open heart surgery, and a woman our age recovering from cancer, and are encouraging their membership to call them through the night, go to their houses, even implying they should take their dogs."

Do I exaggerate? Here is an actual excerpt from one of their mailings, names excised to protect my friends.

"this is off craiglist
Please do forward to those who should see this but are not on this list
I am using my usual editting thing

"C**rsing Bl**d Sport - We Need Action!!!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: see below
Date: 2006-02-05, 11:07PM PST

"Look, all I know is the big yearly event takes place Feb 18-20th. It's too late
to try and get any laws passed before this event happens, so why not get as many
protesters there to either make enough commotion before the event to scare away
any wild rabbits, or just bust in and set free any caged ones they plan to use
for the "sport"?? Letter writing and petition signing isn't going to be enough
to save these rabbits in 2 weeks!!!
We must be able to snoop and find out where this thing is held.
The site's been taken down, but this link should work (found it on the abc.com
site)
***********

"Here's some email addresses of people part of this horrible event:

***********

[ Long list of dog people-- no, not me-- never been gladder I am not a "joiner", though they may ultimately be sorry they have several New Mexicans-- as I said to my English friend: "One of the guys they published the address for, over 60 years in age, jumps on feral pigs that his dogs have bayed and ties them up (and then brings them home to fatten). ]

"Some more names and wheeee! PHONE NUMBERS!!! Let's bombard these barbarians! I
am sure they're up all hours of the night, no? They should be...)"

Barbarians? I think people who destroy the peace of mind of others who are doing something perfectly legal and natural have a better claim to that title. I wonder if ABC, in the interest of "fairness", will also report on these threats....

Related thoughts here "Who wants to own your dogs" . (I may come back to this later). Hat tip SAOVA.

Let my friend have the -- very temporary-- penultimate word here:

"For many of these people, the ARs already have the physical address information. For the others they can easily get it, using the phone number. They are trying to mobilize people to harass us and get rid of the "killer dogs" ... the
hysteria is unbelievable. I didn't need telling that the ARs are vicious swine, but this is beyond belief."

And the last word?

I think this may be a bit like those cartoons of Mohammed, for all hunters. They just don't know it yet.

Tickticktickticktick.....

To be continued.

Many updates. Harassment goes national-- PETA publishes my friends' names and urges on their fanatic legions.

The blog of the Bay Area TV station defends itself for the piece. Not only is their defense at best disingenuous and at worst wilfully ignorant-- the reporter says he has a greyhound but didn't know they chase things??-- but they use photos by my friend Herb Wells, who is recovering from open heart surgery and on the anti's published hit list! Rey McGehee tells me this is legal under "Fair Use". But so is telling these people what you think of their ethics. Please let them know-- there is a box provided. No obscenity please, even if they deserve it-- we don't want our side to stoop to their tactics.

Finally, Sir Terence Clark sends some sanity from Ireland in the form of a letter to the Telegraph by a courser from Antrim:

"Everyone is entitled to their view regarding coursing but it was disappointing to see a Belfast Telegraph Viewpoint (February 4) based on a rather subjective and emotive stance which echoes the views of the League Against Cruel Sports but failed to take on board the merits of coursing, not only to the Irish economy but also in maintaining the best of traditions of field sports.

"How can anyone state with certainty that the hare is distressed when chased by greyhounds when what happens is part of the tussle between natural adversaries? If it was unduly stressed, surely the hare would not do what comes naturally, portraying all its craft and skill in avoiding the pursuer.
Hares are ideally equipped to deal with two greyhounds and the fact that so few are injured, mortally or otherwise, speaks for itself. Indeed, it is more often than not the greyhounds that end up distressed through exhaustion if having to undergo a longer-than-expected course as the hare leads them a merry dance.

"Coursing clubs have done more - and will continue to do more - than the antis have ever done in conserving and enhancing the numbers of Lepus Timidus Hibernicus as an endemic species on this island.

"Few care more about the welfare of the hare than coursing clubs. Can the same be said of modern farming which has continually destroyed habitats and left the hare vulnerable to predation? "

10 comments:

JT said...

Steve,

How are ya? We've been discussing this at length (as you may know.) I visited the ABC site, and found that with the Yes, Ban It crowd winning by 70-some percent, I wasn't able to vote.
Seems to me that falconers who want to lend their voices to the coursers would be most effective if they did so as a member of the general public, rather than as "another Blood Sport" person. The message is simple enough: Dogs chase prey animals, because they're predators. Rabbits run because they're prey. We didn't INVENT this concept, it has been Nature, and Natural Selection farther back than men have had history. Every single day, Nature plays this same scene out hundreds of thousands of times a day all across the U.S. Yet the A R crowd isn't seen protesting the way coyotes make a living. No, coyotes are cute and cuddly little fur-critters. Their own dogs (which would most certainly chase cats or rodents) are cuddly little fur-critters as well.
Demonstrating the hypocrite may help to put this whole thing to bed (if it doesn't blow over on its own.) Certainly, they can't blame human beings for Nature.

Get ahold of me, I haven't talked with John Burchard in a few years, since he moved up with JH and HW.

Anonymous said...

Many hunters can’t make the connection between something like coursing and the hunting they enjoy. Unfortunately, my guess is that most hunters really don’t care what happens to coursing, or hunting with hounds, for that matter.

I see the following attitudes among hunters as reasons why it will be difficult to mobilize the “hunting community” around coursing:

--The “sportsmen’s rights” advocates seem more focused on helping canned hunts than helping houndsmen. The sportsmen’s rights groups also seem to focus on maximum marketing. For example, they are strong advocates for allowing in-line muzzleloaders or crossbows, because such rules will sell a lot of gear to sportsmen. Coursing is not going to sell a lot of gear. It’s not going to be in the Cabela’s catalog. You don’t need designer camouflage to do it.

--Bird hunters love their dogs, but too many believe they are on a different plane of sporting achievement than houndsmen, coursers, etc. Somehow killing a hundred or more chukar, quail and pheasant a season is more ethical than killing one cougar. I know many who seem to believe that the presence of Orvis clothing, fine guns and high-priced dogs will demonstrate to the antis that they are not the same as other hunters. They would be wrong.

--The hunters dedicated to hunting ethics, wilderness and conservation too often seem to lump hunting with hounds in with the laundry list of reprehensible hunting practices. The writer David Petersen has often described hunting with hounds as “immoral” including in his latest book “On the Wild Edge.” He does not seem to have a problem with pursuing game birds with dogs. I don’t believe you can make any argument for or against bird dogs that could not be made for or against hound dogs.

--Finally, a lot of hunters are so specialized that they seem to have ceased to have cared about other forms of hunting. The outdoor magazines market to a few types of hunting for a few species of game. Again, it all seems predicated on whether a form of hunting can support a huge market for gear. Whitetail hunting is hugely popular. While I would argue that you need very little gear to hunt and kill a deer, the magazines are bursting with ads for camouflage, trail timers, feeders, rattling horns, grunt tubes, doe-in-heat scents, scent-free clothing, stands, blinds, ATV’s, and on, and on. Squirrel hunting, though, can’t be made “cool” no matter how hard you try. And squirrel hunter numbers have plummeted in the last 20 years. Coursing is even less hip than squirrel hunting, if outdoor magazines are any indication.

I think coursing can be defended but it’s unlikely to be by the “hunting community,” whatever that is. I also think all of the above are short-sighted, especially the hunting ethics/wilderness people. Shouldn’t we be working together to defend wilderness, not nit-picking about how one hunts bears?

M.L. Miller said...

Many hunters can’t make the connection between something like coursing and the hunting they enjoy. Unfortunately, my guess is that most hunters really don’t care what happens to coursing, or hunting with hounds, for that matter.

I see the following attitudes among hunters as reasons why it will be difficult to mobilize the “hunting community” around coursing:

--The “sportsmen’s rights” advocates seem more focused on helping canned hunts than helping houndsmen. The sportsmen’s rights groups also seem to focus on maximum marketing. For example, they are strong advocates for allowing in-line muzzleloaders or crossbows, because such rules will sell a lot of gear to sportsmen. Coursing is not going to sell a lot of gear. It’s not going to be in the Cabela’s catalog. You don’t need designer camouflage to do it.

--Bird hunters love their dogs, but too many believe they are on a different plane of sporting achievement than houndsmen, coursers, etc. Somehow killing a hundred or more chukar, quail and pheasant a season is more ethical than killing one cougar. I know many who seem to believe that the presence of Orvis clothing, fine guns and high-priced dogs will demonstrate to the antis that they are not the same as other hunters. They would be wrong.

--The hunters dedicated to hunting ethics, wilderness and conservation too often seem to lump hunting with hounds in with the laundry list of reprehensible hunting practices. The writer David Petersen has often described hunting with hounds as “immoral” including in his latest book “On the Wild Edge.” He does not seem to have a problem with pursuing game birds with dogs. I don’t believe you can make any argument for or against bird dogs that could not be made for or against hound dogs.

--Finally, a lot of hunters are so specialized that they seem to have ceased to have cared about other forms of hunting. The outdoor magazines market to a few types of hunting for a few species of game. Again, it all seems predicated on whether a form of hunting can support a huge market for gear. Whitetail hunting is hugely popular. While I would argue that you need very little gear to hunt and kill a deer, the magazines are bursting with ads for camouflage, trail timers, feeders, rattling horns, grunt tubes, doe-in-heat scents, scent-free clothing, stands, blinds, ATV’s, and on, and on. Squirrel hunting, though, can’t be made “cool” no matter how hard you try. And squirrel hunter numbers have plummeted in the last 20 years. Coursing is even less hip than squirrel hunting, if outdoor magazines are any indication.

I think coursing can be defended but it’s unlikely to be by the “hunting community,” whatever that is. I also think all of the above are short-sighted, especially the hunting ethics/wilderness people. Shouldn’t we be working together to defend wilderness, not nit-picking about how one hunts bears?

M.L. Miller said...

Sorry for posting this twice.

Nate said...

You know, it was only a matter of time....Why can't people ever seem to understand that "nature" is not always (or rarely) pretty. Coursing dogs aren't made to do anything unnatural, Steve you KNOW I didn't have to teach my dog how to hunt, she knew what she was doing from the word go. This is how the world works, certain animals are hunted/killed/eaten by others that are able to catch them. I love the idea of anti-coursing folk trying to harras and bully us, the idea that they should go knocking doors and taking dogs really brings a smile to my face. Any anti hunting folk that would like a real simple breakdown between predator and prey are welcome to beat on my door, if they can outrun my dog they shure as shit can't outrun bullets. Sounds like survival of the fittest to me.

Anonymous said...

Your post (Target: Coursing) was on target for hunting deer. It's interesting to know that many people don't understand hunting deer, good job. What I would like to see is more info on hunting deer and hunting deer. Any post you make on hunting deer in the future will be well received.

Dr. Robert P. Simpson said...

Of course, by definition, dogs are predators and rabbits are prey. And yes, it is only natural that dogs hunt and kill these rabbits. However, you are completely off base in claiming that coursing is simply a natural phenomenon or part of 'nature.' Nate, Its not that people dont understand nature, its that people dont agree with your ridiculous claims that your sport is natural. That is such a worn out argument. Cant you ignorant fools come up with another point of contention. I would have more respect for you if you just admitted the fact that the most thrilling part of your sport was watching the rabbits get ripped to pieces by bloodthirsty dogs. At least there would be some honesty in your arguement. If you justify your participation in coursing because its 'part of nature' then I suggest you quit now because thats simply not true. If you let your dog out your back door and it comes back with a dead rabbit, that can barely pass for nature. If you and a group of people release trained dogs into a field for the purpose of killing rabbits then that is no more a part of nature then cock fighting or dog fighting. Coursing takes advantage of and exploits nature. There is nothing natural about a bunch of bloodthirsty people releasing trained, domesticated predatory animals into a field to kill wild or farm raised prey. In fact coursing has the opposite effect. By using your domesticated dogs to hunt and kill wild animals you are effectively altering nature and disrupting a delicate balance. You people make me absolutly sick with your ignorance. If I had it my way we would gather you all up and, in the name of sport of course, drop you in a tank full of sharks so they could rip you to pieces as you writhe and scream in pain. Only then would you ignorant bastards realize how much pain and suffering you have caused in the name of sport and nature. After reading some of the pro-coursing posts I can't help but think that supporters of coursing lack the capacity to conceptualize and comprehend 'nature.' Here's an idea, instead of spending your time in a field figuring out the best ways to destroy wild animals why dont you spend some time in library learning about them.

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Darksky Alaskan Malamutes said...

Thanks for that, it's great to see a slightly different persepective on the topic.
BTW have you seen my new pup from Darksky Alaskan Malamutes? He's really a great pup.
Have a great day

George

Cincysbest said...

Man! I wish them "Bitches" would show up at my home in the middle of the night! Them "Bitches" would think they died and went to Iraq!