Friday, June 05, 2015

Three Types of Hunters

Bjorn van der Veen and friends roam the fog-covered fields of Holland looking for pheasant.

Van der Veen is a naturalist hunter. 

According to Yale University behavioral scientist Stephen Kellert who wrote "Attitudes and Characteristics of Hunters and Antihunters" back in 1978, naturalist hunters represent less than 18 percent of all hunters in the U.S.

This group tends to be younger, more educated, and with higher levels of education and income than the other groups. This category also includes more women hunters.

Nature hunters tend to backpack, bird watch and camp, as well as hunt.

Nature hunters have far and away the highest level of knowledge about wildlife and seek an intense involvement with wildlife and do not fear it.

This group also spends more time actually hunting than any other of the other two groups of hunters identified.

The second group of hunters identified by Kellert are utilitarian-meat hunters. These folks represent about 44 percent of all American hunters.

This group tends to talk of "harvesting" game as a renewable resource and many have a "pioneer spirit" forged in self-sufficiency.

As a group, utilitarian-meat hunters tend to be older, more rural and less educated, but test pretty well when it came to knowledge about wildlife. Few Americans oppose them.

The third group identified by Kellert are the domination-hunters. They comprise about 38 percent of all hunters.

Most domination-hunters are urban men, have served in the military, and see hunting as a way of expressing their manly prowess.

Domination hunters know very little about wildlife, and many actually fear it, having an exaggerated "dangerous game" mindset of the kind we often see in pulp hunting magazines ("Mauled by a Grizzly," "When Sharks Attack", "Stalked by a Killer Moose").

Domination hunters showed little interest in wildlife in their youth, and as adults tend to see wild animals as uncontrolled and therefore as "bad" or nuisance animals.

The domination hunter is the group non-hunters dislike, and which antihunters try to use to negatively portray ALL hunters.

Kellert also goes on to analyze anti-hunters as a group and finds, not surprisingly, that about 80 percent are women. Most are urban women living on one coast or another.

Antis have very little actual experience with wildlife and, along with domination hunters, have "among the lowest knowledge-of-animals scores of any group included in the study."

In another ironic parallel with domination hunters, "it appeared that antihunters manifested more fear and lack of interest in wildlife" than average Americans.

What is striking about Kellert's research is how it explains much of the silliness and stupidity we see in the arena of wildlife management today, where antihunters who have never walked a hedgerow clash with macho-men domination-hunters who would never consider going into the woods without a Bowie Knife.

Neither group seems to have very much knowledge about wildlife.

One group does not hunt at all, and the other does not seem to hunt very much.

Left out of the debate -- and too often ignoring it -- are utilitarian-meat hunters and nature-naturalistic hunters which form a majority of the people who actually spend any time in forest or field.

The good news is that in America, unlike in much of Europe, wildlife management decisions tend to be left to an increasingly well-educated groups of professional wildlife managers with degrees in biology, zoology, resource management, forestry, population dynamics, law enforcement and even economics.

The watchword in the U.S. is not knee-jerk emotionalism, but sustainability and habitat protection.

As a consequence, we have more deer, elk, moose, bear, wolf, fox, alligator, whales, peregrine falcons, bald eagle, osprey, groundhog, raccoon, possum, coyote, bison, beaver and mountain lion today than we have ever had in the last 100 years, and the numbers for all of these species is growing.


jeffrey thurston said...

it's funny- your last picture (of the forest) reminds me of a weird controversy we have here in the Bay Area. The picture looks to me to be of a eucalyptus forest- similar to ones we have here in the hills. FEMA , the Sierra Club and various radical "native plants" groups want to cut all the trees down (500,000 or so) to make way for "native plants" which in real life is an impossible thing to define. On the other side are people like me who actually run around those hills, local UC Berkeley scientists and foresters who say that the deforestation and poisoning of "non-native' plants and returning the hills to pristine pre-Spanish oak/grassland is a silly fantasy- made worse by the 20 or so years the hills would be bare and covered with eucaplyptus chips. I never thought i'd see the Sierra Club advocating environmental destruction... Those who use and know vs. the idealist...

PBurns said...

If the Sierra Club wants to get rid of the non-natives, ask them to sterilize themselves, kill their dogs and cats, shoot all the wild horses, spray 500 trillion gallons of herbicide to get rid of the dandelions, English ivy, sage brush, honesuckle. None of it is native.

jeff hays said...

Just an example of intractable rigid thought processes, no doubt.
There is a compelling reason to exterminate non natives, Snakeheads, jumping carp, Purple loosestrife, and on and on, IF IT IS STILL POSSIBLE.

What one NEEDS to do is pick your battles. For instance it is perfectly feasible to wipe out pigs on pacific islands, it is a different story in the everglades dealing with constrictors. A question of money and potential results. In the everglades, I always thought $10 bounty would entice an army of shotgun toting rednecks to reduce the population at a reasonable cost to taxpayers, but if you waited too long the problem would be out of control. They waited too long I think.
The list is nearly endless now, green crabs wiping out hardshell clams in the eastern Seaboard, non native clams taking over Lake Champlain in Vermont.

I don't know if there is a real solution to this, or whether there will be a natural equilibrium at some point.

PipedreamFarm said...

Better get rid of all the cows too.