Kill nothing but time on trips to the outdoors


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When I was a child, my dad took us fishing one evening. I never caught anything and joined him sleeping in the car while my sister and cousin fished at the lake.

 They caught some fish, which later they released in the pool — yes, in my aunt’s chlorinated pool — to try to catch again. Needless to say, the two of them were not successful and all the fish died. That was the only time and my only fishing experience growing up.

When my daughter was younger, a couple of times I took her to the Hook Kids on Fishing program organized by Anglers for Conservation. She showed some interest in learning about it — techniques, hooks, lure and casting. But, that was it. She never caught anything either. I think the skill runs in the family.

Besides not being cut out for it, would that be the type of activity that I would enjoy? After reading about hunting season in Florida, which starts this month, that got me thinking.

I never hunted and do not understand how the activity can be considered a sport. Killing is not a sport in my view. It is hard for me to understand the fun in shooting at defenseless animals, especially when it is not out of necessity or for survival. 

Words surrounding the activity, like game (who’s playing?), which “Britannica” defines as “the flesh of any wild animal or bird,” and harvesting and crop (they are living sentient beings, not a bushel of corn!), serve to probably make the activity easier by objectifying animals to feel that it is OK to take their life. 

“Hunting has a devastating effect on animal populations — and the impact could worsen as development spreads in the future, according to research done in developing countries.

Researchers found that hunting on average leads to an 83 percent reduction in mammal populations within 25 miles of hunter access points such as roads and towns. The findings, published in the journal Science, come as researchers in the developing world expect hunters to gain access to new areas. According to Time magazine, this will be true thanks to millions of miles of roads expected to open in the coming decades. In the study, researchers call for expanded legal protection for animal habitats and increased law enforcement focus on illegal hunting.’’ 

Overhunting and overfishing, right behind habitat loss, are some of the main reasons species are going extinct. 

According to the WVCA, season and bag limits are set at either the state or federal level to “provide balance between the biological needs of the resource and the public desire to use the resource.” So, how can anyone tell if those activities are being overdone or not? 

According to The Scientist, “Government agencies tasked with the guardianship of natural resources often claim to use scientific data in their policy decisions, such as determining how many game animals may be killed in a season, said biologist Kyle Artelle of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.”

However, the article “Science Behind Hunting Quotas Unavailable” said the study reveals that, from the 11 criteria selected by the authors of the study, which included “measurable objectives, an estimation of the number of killed animals, techniques for determining hunting quotas, and information about any form of independent review, […] a little more than 10 percent (of 667 management programs analyzed) contained eight or more of the criteria, while most (60 percent) had fewer than five.” 

Based on that, could one be confident that the way to determine bag limits and quotas is solid? Also, how are bag limits and quotas enforced? 

Well, this will be another fall season with no hunting for me. My idea of fun follows the Baltimore Grotto’s motto: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.’’

 Learning about different species and finding out curious and peculiar facts about them helps me understand and appreciate what they are as well as their importance for the ecosystem. 

In that process, soon we realize that every species has a role to play in this world and other species have as much right to be on this planet as we do.