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Killing Tatanka ... Bufflo ...
November 16, 2005 3:30 PM   Subscribe

The hunting of American Bison got a renewal today. The first hunt of the buffalo, in 15 years, began with a Belgrade, MT, boy killing a bull with 4 shots, shortly after the hunt began. The 15 year hiatus on hunting Bison in Montana was contentious, if not downright nasty, but that's over now. Montana has allowed Bison hunting outside Yellowstone park, and it's been a media show. Of course, this really pisses some folks off, to which hunters claim, "It's like the hunter's become the hunted". The mountain west of the US has become a battle ground of flowing ideas, with man against nature, and man against man. The Endangered Species Act, the very thing that has lead us to this event, is under siege. People begin to notice when critters die. Welcome to Bison Hunt, 101.
posted by Wulfgar! (64 comments total)

 
I'd personally like to see a lifting of the restriction on hunting hunters. They're clearly in no danger of extinction now. It would make things more sporting to reinstate the more natural life-and-death element to the affair.

As for the bison, well, they're going to get blown up when the supervolcano erupts, along with the hunters. I'm pretty fatalistic on the whole thing.
posted by mullingitover at 3:52 PM on November 16, 2005


Congratulations! You just hunted and killed a stationary animal.

Deer I can understand. Bears I can understand. Rabbits and squirrels I can understand. But bison? These asswipes might as well go "hunt" some cows.
posted by billysumday at 3:54 PM on November 16, 2005


So how is it fun to shoot cows?
posted by selfnoise at 3:55 PM on November 16, 2005


Ah, you dirty little bastard. :)
posted by selfnoise at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2005


Intelligently ? designed ape kills way dumber animal with an instrument that doesn't kill, ape kills. Film at 12 o'clock
posted by elpapacito at 3:57 PM on November 16, 2005


Clearly the bison need lasers. Someone get on this.
posted by selfnoise at 4:01 PM on November 16, 2005


This is well on the way to a mature, reasonable discussion.
posted by MrZero at 4:06 PM on November 16, 2005


Not a hunter myself, but I'm friends with some. In my completely statistically meaningless sample, it seems to be a large group of hunters that would not hunt bison because, as some of you have already mentioned, it would be like shooting a cow. There is, however, another group of hunters in my area who would shoot Bison because, you know, they think shooting and killing stuff is fun and cool. A small percentage of that group would like to be able to hunt with dynamite or some other high ordinance.

At this point, I would argue that they weren't hunting, merely killing. I suspect they would argue back "po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to."

Mind you, I recognize that not all hunters think that way.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:07 PM on November 16, 2005


Whither the elk problem?
posted by Staggering Jack at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2005


Presumably this is being done due to the bison's much more desirable hide.
posted by IronLizard at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2005


"After the bull was shot and dying, the remaining bulls approached their fallen herd member, and the four hunters attempted to frighten the bison away by throwing rocks at them. This went on for approximately 30 minutes before the bison moved away. While the hunters began gutting the carcass, the four bulls returned to the dead bison and the hunters resumed throwing rocks."

Is there video of the rock throwing?
posted by homunculus at 4:26 PM on November 16, 2005


Yes that video would support my ape theory
posted by elpapacito at 4:32 PM on November 16, 2005


By most accounts, homunculus, the rock throwing seems to be myth.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:36 PM on November 16, 2005


My friend just got back from Thailand where for $100 you can shoot a shoulder fired rocket at a cow.

As for the bison, how about an "authentic" hunting tour where you shoot antique Winchester rifles at the bison from passing trains?
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:37 PM on November 16, 2005


HOLY CRAP
(buys plane tickets)
posted by selfnoise at 4:44 PM on November 16, 2005


Video of the hunt here.
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on November 16, 2005


If you eat meat and are concerned about issues such as factory farming, then skilled hunting is about as 'free-range' as you can get.
posted by jsonic at 4:54 PM on November 16, 2005


Hmmm. The rock throwing is not a myth. However, the presentataon of such is still way overblown.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:03 PM on November 16, 2005


About the "downright nasty" link: Um, how does throwing buckets of rotting entrails on people advance the debate? Please, tell me, how did this person think such an act would help change anything?
posted by longsleeves at 5:09 PM on November 16, 2005


Hunting for food is all well and good. It's part of our genetic and cultural heritage. Hunting a herd animal with modern weapons for "sport" is despicable; although that instinct is also part of our heritage.

Sad, really.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:11 PM on November 16, 2005


I don't understand why they let it die so slowly. Why didn't they put it out of its misery sooner?
posted by homunculus at 5:15 PM on November 16, 2005


They should try it with these.
posted by IronLizard at 5:19 PM on November 16, 2005


Clearly the bison need lasers.

All I ask is some bison with some FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS on their head!!!
posted by jonp72 at 5:19 PM on November 16, 2005


There are certain things people do which are very handy in that they give me a real shortcut to knowing it's OK to despise those people completely. I don't have to waste time getting to know them or discussing things at length with them: if they do that, they're loathsome filth.

People who kill animals for fun are a particularly easy example of this.
posted by Decani at 5:29 PM on November 16, 2005


from dictionary
hunter:
1. someone who hunts game
2. a person who searches for something

from wiki:
"Hunting is, in its most general sense, the pursuit of a target. "

I've got a few words to describe the men in that video but not one of them is hunter.
posted by freudianslipper at 5:46 PM on November 16, 2005


People who kill animals for fun are a particularly easy example of this.

That would only be true if the hunters simply killed the animal and let it rot. However, if they hunt for meat, then they are no worse than someone who enjoys eating a well-cooked steak at Morton's.
posted by jsonic at 5:47 PM on November 16, 2005


Decani -- do you eat meat?

On preview: What jsonic said.
posted by event at 5:49 PM on November 16, 2005


"Out of 135 criminals, including robbers and rapists, 118 admitted that when they were children they burned, hanged and stabbed domestic animals."

Ogonyok (1979) (Soviet anti-cruelty magazine)
posted by basicchannel at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2005


The thrill in the killing, regardless of their "noble" use of the meat, is what is perverse... not that they made belts out of the intestines.
posted by basicchannel at 5:56 PM on November 16, 2005


The thrill in the killing, regardless of their "noble" use of the meat, is what is perverse

It's only bad because they enjoy it? Next time I eat a steak I'll be sure to feel sad about it.
posted by jsonic at 6:05 PM on November 16, 2005


You feel a bloodlust when eating a steak? Then yea, you're creepy too.
posted by basicchannel at 6:08 PM on November 16, 2005


I eat bison meat about 4 times a week (1lb a week), much better than other red meats. Cooks fast, less fat than chicken, more nutrients that cow beef, grass fed and chemical free (safe). The "gamey" taste depends where you buy it from, this place in Kansas the meat is almost the same as cow beef, taste wise (except for noted differences above)
posted by stbalbach at 6:20 PM on November 16, 2005


"Out of 135 criminals, including robbers and rapists, 118 admitted that when they were children they burned, hanged and stabbed domestic animals."

Are you somehow trying to imply that 118 out of every 135 hunters are going to be robbers or rapists?
posted by event at 6:29 PM on November 16, 2005


You feel a bloodlust when eating a steak? Then yea, you're creepy too.

Yes, because the real feeling hunters have when hunting is bloodlust.

You're just like those you despise. The end result is the same, an animal is killed for meat. The only difference is that you pay someone else to kill your meat for you.
posted by jsonic at 6:30 PM on November 16, 2005


Incidentally, the 17-year-old kid who killed the first bison -- he's from Belgrade, MT, where the per capita income is $15,266. I image that animal is going to feed him and his family for the better part of a year.
posted by event at 6:41 PM on November 16, 2005


"Move, you goddamn useless dings! MOVE!"
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:48 PM on November 16, 2005


Speaking as a Montanan, no one here considers this a hunt, other than you have to find the bison. Which isn't that difficult.

Most people describe shooting buffalo as being like shooting a couch. They are big, slow moving and in open country.

It's about getting meat. But the butcher costs are quite large.
posted by Whistlepig at 6:54 PM on November 16, 2005


Yea, I reckon that bison will feed the village for many moons. The argument that hunting is, by and large, performed for practical rather than recreational (yes, read: bloodlust) reasons, is intellectually dishonest at best.
posted by basicchannel at 7:15 PM on November 16, 2005


Don't be silly, basicchannel. The recreating is in getting the target, not in destroying it--like in video games. Get off your high horse already.
posted by Firas at 7:52 PM on November 16, 2005 [1 favorite]


I think hunting can provide valuable insight into what food is and where it come from, not to mention instilling a deep connection to the land (as can farming, ranching, or otherwise raising your own food). Basicchannl is correct when they say that hunting is recreation but is also incorrect if that's all they think that it is. As Whistlepig stated, though, buffalo hunting is not considered hunting by most hunters I know.
posted by Staggering Jack at 8:06 PM on November 16, 2005


The argument that hunting is, by and large, performed for practical rather than recreational (yes, read: bloodlust) reasons, is intellectually dishonest at best.

Please elaborate.
posted by event at 8:17 PM on November 16, 2005


From the sixth link ...

Jaqueth doesn't have any romantic delusions about the hunt. He sees it in blunt, practical terms.

“I’m not going down there with visions of a big exotic hunt,” he says. “The reward of this hunt isn't so much the backcountry experience as it is the meat. This is a meat hunt.”


The quaint notion that there is any real recreational aspect to this particular undertaking is pretty much dispensed with in that article. He is driving 400 miles cross state with a team of mules and horses to haul the meat out from the kill. He describes it as a chore, and can be seen loading a chain-saw, as he gears up.

Being led by a Montana Department of Livestock Agent to a herd animal placidly chewing its cud, and then blowing it away with a high-powered rifle is hardly a recreational sport. It belies the stereotypical NRA image of the intrepid hunter stalking and outwitting his prey in a healthy commune with nature. This is fully acknowledged by the refreshingly candid Jaqueth ...

I’m not going to shoot one standing there and grazing right in front of 25 cameras. I’ll just pass it up. And if it’s not an option, then we’ll come back later.”

Other than the issue of human occupation destroying a biome, and then ironically classifying the once-native fauna as a nuisance; I personally see nothing wrong with his blatant self-interest and exploitation. But let's not dress it up as some romantic endeavour it clearly isn't.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:07 PM on November 16, 2005


All I have to say, is that all of you being judgmental on the hunters better be vegetarians. If your a vegetarian, then I respect the argument. I don't agree with it, but I respect that your consistent and have reasonable point of view. I may even be swayed by it at some point.

However, if you pick up a pound of factory fresh ground chuck at the Stop-N-Shop, and a 12 pack of Steakums, and then come on metafilter and be all high and mighty about people at the poverty line harvesting an animal that we have systemically eliminated all the natural predators for, then your a fucking hypocrite.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 10:13 PM on November 16, 2005


I have no problem with hunters. I don't hunt but I come from a family of hunters. What I don't get about this is why they stood around and watched it die slowly for 45 minutes. There's no sense in that.
posted by homunculus at 10:35 PM on November 16, 2005


I agree, homunculus, that is weird -- especially with the camera crew and state officials right there.

Perhaps they did not want to shoot it too many times (each shot is going to ruin more meat) and they definitely couldn't get close enough to finish it off with the rest of the herd right there.
posted by event at 11:13 PM on November 16, 2005


Yea if it wasn't clear, I'm a vegetarian.

To event: I think Firas actually made my point quite well with his video game comment. It's one thing to play GTA, it's another to want an analog to the real thing. This isn't about subsistence hunting or the co-opting of some hippy claptrap about communing with nature... it's pure, debasing bloodlust.

Goodnight :).
posted by basicchannel at 11:50 PM on November 16, 2005


"This isn't about subsistence hunting"

Are you sure? I'm not.

I do reject the argument that a non-vegetarian can't take a moral objection to this practice because it is a massively complex issue. It is possible to buy meat that has had an existance wandering round fields and eating nice food, and then undergone a very quick relatively painless (if stomach-churningly industrial) death. I think it might be consistent to eat meat like this and take a moral objection to eating a cow that was wounded and left to die for goodness knows how long, while the hunters stand around and throw rocks at his friends.

Sure, if you ignore the finer points, it's fun to call meat eatersa hypocrites; but you're not doing this distinctly complex human issue the justice it requires by doing so.

Not that *I* personally subscribe to the above argument necessarily.
posted by nthdegx at 1:40 AM on November 17, 2005


Most people describe shooting buffalo as being like shooting a couch

Now that is a sport I could get behind! Take that! You naugahide piece of shit! Blam Blam Blam Die you plaid motherfucker!

(can you tell I have ugly-ass furniture?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:21 AM on November 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


However, if you pick up a pound of factory fresh ground chuck at the Stop-N-Shop, and a 12 pack of Steakums, and then come on metafilter and be all high and mighty about people at the poverty line harvesting an animal that we have systemically eliminated all the natural predators for, then your a fucking hypocrite.

Are you a sophomore or a junior in college?
posted by billysumday at 9:40 AM on November 17, 2005


Sorry, that might've been vague. My point was basically: grow up, and you're an idiot.

A lot of people in this thread are stating that they have no problem with hunting or with hunters, but rather with the notion that some people would actually consider this hunting. There are buffalo farms where buffalo are killed in a manner similar to other kinds of domestic livestock. Yet you don't see the proprietors of these farms taking their rifles out and "hunting" the buffalo.

Or is it your contention that no person who eats meat can discuss animal rights? Or perhaps that no person who eats meat can call a hunter a douche? The "oh my god, the meat I'm eating used to be an animal!!" revelation is not profound but rather juvenile. Used as a value system, it leads predictably to absolutes. The world is more complicated than that. Get used to it.
posted by billysumday at 9:52 AM on November 17, 2005


I hate to say this but that mention of steakums really makes me want to go get a Philly Cheesestake for lunch.

It'd be a bonus if I could shoot it a few times beforehand.

Is there a place I can do this?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:10 AM on November 17, 2005


If my wife and I ate more meat, I'd have no problem going out and hunting it up. There is a great amount of enjoyment to be had in purposefully searching the wilderness, in practicing the skills necessary to succeed in the task, and if one can get out of a mindset of squeamishness -- surely the biggest challenge for most of us! -- there must certainly be enjoyment in doing a good job of gutting, bleeding, and packing-out the animal.

The end product is surely going to be healthier than commercial meats and will also probably taste better. The environmental cost is lower, too. All around, it's can be a Good Thing.

In our case, however, the cost of doing it that way is so exorbitant that we stick to purchasing our dead animals wrapped in plastic. A couple hundred for the firearms training and ownership license, a couple dozen bucks or more for the hunting license, a few thousand bucks in gear, a few days of unpaid vacation, a few hundred bucks for butchering -- that's probably a decade's worth of meat expenses for us!

Still, as a fellow who dropped over fifteen thousand bucks on motorcycles, licensing, safety equipment, and a helluva vacation... I can understand why a person would be willing to pay the price for hunting.

Done right, it's one helluva well-rounded experience.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:52 PM on November 17, 2005


We can do better.

see: here.
posted by basicchannel at 1:59 PM on November 17, 2005


I’d kill/eat/use skin - of buffalo if I could. Nowhere around me to get ahold of them. I wouldn’t call that hunting though. But I’m of a mystical bent when it comes to hunting. If I could I’d just run a deer down. You can’t really do that anymore because of roads and such. (Well, that and my large deer gut) But I like taking pics too. Very amateurish, but if I have enough venison, why shoot ‘em?

Hmmm... would photographing a bison be like photographing a couch?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:45 PM on November 17, 2005


I'm not overly surprised. The Bush Administration clearly finds it infuriating that while it can torture enemy combatants at will, it still can't legally allow its supporters to shoot various animals on some silly "endangered" list. I guess similar minded politicians have been also gnashing their teeth for the same reasons.

What the articles failed to inform was that the cost for an out of state hunter was $750 and $75 for in state. Surely, there are people out there who'd pay more than the in-state fee for a bison of their own, for whatever purposes (pet vs dinner)?

As for any out of staters, throw in the cost of transportation and lodging, seeing the butcher, and you could probably feed your family on more locally bought food items than the meat garnered from Mr. Buffalo.

It just amazes me that these bison presented such a threat, that we had to kill an extreme number like...50. The heck? Deer season occurs because there is a very large deer population, just look at the side of the road. I haven't seen any buffalo carcasses on the roadside, recently.

The truth is, a lot of those ranchers up there are just paranoid as sin over threats to their livestock, from wolves to grizzlies to bison. I'm sure if a songbird posed a minimal threat, they'd be seeking permission to kill them en masse.
Death to Tweety.
posted by Atreides at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2005


“ The Bush Administration clearly finds it infuriating that while it can torture enemy combatants at will, it still can't legally allow its supporters to shoot various animals on some silly "endangered" list. ”

Yeah, I blame the Bush administration for the registration requirement on the Mercury news site. Conservatives just want to kill animals and hurt people. Damn NRA shot up my couch last week. Bush put his feet up on my desk.

“[There is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment. . . The bulldozer mentality of the past is a luxury we can no longer afford. Our roads and other public projects must be planned to prevent the destruction of scenic resources and to avoid needlessly upsetting the ecological balance."
- Al Gore?
- Barbra Streisand?

No, Ronald Reagan.

"If [corporations] do not stop [polluting] we must find ways to compel them in some way to do so. . . important people must be interfered with before notice will be taken of disagreeable facts. Instead of demonstrating on Fifth Avenue on behalf of baby seals, the saviors of the environment would get far better results picketing the country clubs of Nassau, Fairfield, and Morris counties."

- from an article in:
The Nation? The Progressive? In These Times?

No, the National Review.

C’mon man, shooting buffalo has nothing to do with Gitmo and it’s not a partisan issue. If we’re going to go Dem/Repub on this Nixon signed the ESA into law.
Barry Goldwater was member of the Sierra Club. Senator James Buckley - William Buckley’s brother - was a co-sponsor of the ESA.
(William F. Buckley - guy who made the statement for modern conservatism: "To stand athwart history yelling ‘Stop’, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.") - ahoy?

I’m not saying there aren’t goofballs who aren’t trying to gut the ESA that aren’t republicans - (both sides in fact have a history:
http://www.caria.org/esa.html)
but why cast needless aspersions that derail the point here?

That said, Atreides, I do agree with your final point - there’s usually something going on with the bottom line.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:46 PM on November 17, 2005


However, if they hunt for meat, then they are no worse than someone who enjoys eating a well-cooked steak at Morton's

Ah yes, the usual attention-span problem. Hello? Did you miss the bit with those words for fun in there? It would seem so. Try not to be so knee-jerk if you wish to defend a position.
posted by Decani at 8:41 PM on November 17, 2005


Smedleyman,

There certainly was a cynical aspect to my post, but I did purposefully avoid specifically referencing Republicans. And while, I doubt Dick Cheney stopped over in Montana to punch a buffalo in the kidney, I do think that the Bush Administration takes the "use it or lose it" type position on conservation. I then did want to imply that there were probably officials in Montana who had similiar attitudes.

My aim was not to derail the topic, but to expand it to the wider problem. I consider myself an average person, no Green Peace or E.L.F. member, but someone with an increasing worry that what we enjoy and appreciate today, will not be here tomorrow. Then it is with frustration where I see movement on the state or Federal level to ignore this possibility.
posted by Atreides at 7:37 AM on November 18, 2005


"My aim was not to derail the topic, but to expand it to the wider problem."

I see. My misunderstanding then. Sorry.
Rereading it I can appreciate your point more fully.
I do concede the Bushites seem to have diverged from what was the conservative line.

Cheney throwing a hook into bovine flanks is a funny image. I’m picturing that scene from Rocky.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2005


Did you miss the bit with those words for fun in there?

Decani, what you said only applies if you saw the words 'for fun' in the article. Did you?
posted by event at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2005


Er, what's the matter with "for fun" as long as the meat ends up in someone's freezer? And, I suppose, that "fun" doesn't involve letting the poor thing bleed to death over the course of an hour.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2005


I just went back up and re-read the initial exchange between Decani and jsonic:

Decani: ... People who kill animals for fun are a particularly easy example of this.

jsonic: That would only be true if the hunters simply killed the animal and let it rot. However, if they hunt for meat, then they are no worse than someone who enjoys eating a well-cooked steak at Morton's.

Based on that, the aggression in Decani's latest comment really seems out of place. Where do you see "attention span problems" or "[missing] the bit with for fun?" It looks to me like the first sentence in jsonic's reply (which Decani did not quote) addresses exactly that.
posted by event at 1:13 PM on November 18, 2005


Decani, what you said only applies if you saw the words 'for fun' in the article. Did you?

I wasn't talking about the article. I was talking about people who kill animals for fun, rather than for food. I was making a comment that did not directly refer to the article but which was related to it. Do you see? Has that made it clearer for you? Would you like me to run that by you again? I'd be happy to do so if you're still struggling with the concept.
posted by Decani at 10:06 PM on November 22, 2005


Do you see? Has that made it clearer for you? Would you like me to run that by you again?

Oh. You were being a dick? Yes, I did see that.
posted by event at 10:05 AM on November 24, 2005


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