A Christian shooting party
September 9, 2012 8:16 PM   Subscribe

"A shot cracks through the silence and the little flames go out, extinguished forever."

I stopped reading the article at this statement, about shooting a fox.

Every morning at 6:30 am I take the dog for a walk, we typically do about three miles. Midway through the route the Husky wants to turn up a road that leads to the fox den. Every few days we see two or three fox. I stop, the Husky watches, the fox watch us, fluffy tails erect on both ends...eventually they run into the woods.

Nope, can't read this.
posted by HuronBob at 8:30 PM on September 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Sorry, HuronBob. I posted this because I thought it would be interesting, particularly for Americans, to read about an aspect of Australia's gun and hunting culture.

Feral foxes are vermin here, a major problem for primary producers and small farm owners. I apologise if it unsettled you, that was certainly not my intention.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Oh, Australia, home of Bacon Busters magazine (warning: dead pig).

"Registration of guns is ridiculous," says 45-year-old musician, pyrotechnics expert and contract shooter Steve Lee.

A man apparently unfamiliar with Australia's relatively low rate of gun deaths and mass shootings. If Howard did one thing right, it was his response to Port Arthur, although I gather that has been wound back by attrition.

Thanks for posting this. I'd have missed it otherwise. It both disgusts me, and reminds me that things out in the bush are different, and makes me conflicted.

It is sad truth, but shooting foxes probably is better than 1080 baiting.
And at least this is the more "professional" end of the business. Not the good old boys who get boozed and go shootin'.
posted by Mezentian at 9:29 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've lost many chickens, geese, and ducks (one of which was the best 'buddy' animal a guy could ever have) to a particularly nasty family of foxes, so I have no qualms about them being hunted. In fairness though, I have encountered 'vaguely domesticated' foxes that were rambunctious and funny furballs, so upbringing counts for something.

It is sad truth, but shooting foxes probably is better than 1080 baiting.

Indeed. Poisoning is by far the cruelest way to control a population. At least any hunter worth anything wants a quick end for their prey - poisoning could take hours to complete it's job in the most agonizing way possible.
posted by chambers at 9:40 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a veryo odd article for the SMH to run. I don't get if it's written for australians, or USians or what. It assumes total ignorance of the gun debates in Australia, introduces a completely different culture's views (and laws), I don't know where to start.

Oh and hunting with licensed (non-automatic) firearms in Australia to control feral animals has been happening for a very long time and will continue to happen for a long time yet. But it's nothing to do with (US ideas about) FREEDOM! or so-called "rights". It's about using the tool for the job. Speaking as someone who's managed to shoot a few rabbits and foxes in my time.
posted by wilful at 10:05 PM on September 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

We in America do tend to forget the very different invasive species in Australia.

I too prefer seeing a clean shot to seeing poison. Even if the body of the dead animal doesn't get eaten by whoever shot the animal, at least it won't poison whatever comes along next to eat the remains.
I am fond of many of the animals which are invasive in Australia, but by the same token, Australia is home to plants and animals which simply don't exist elsewhere.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:45 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nope, can't read this.

HuronBob, I understand your distress. I find it very upsetting to read of Australia's unique wild animals such as sugar gliders being kept as pets in other countries.
posted by Kerasia at 1:58 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was reading right along and then came to this:

""A lot of people might find it ironic that we're Christians who like killing animals," says Lee, "but there's not really any conflict there at all. As Christians, we believe that man is above the animal, that God gave us authority over all other creatures. A great responsibility comes with that ...""

Wait. Wait just a minute. You'll get no argument from me about the destructive nature of certain feral animals, or about the effectiveness of shooting them as opposed to poison. The rifle is a tool in that sense: it does the job efficiently and quickly.

But liking killing animals? In the context of a dominionist belief system? That's wading into murky waters, and coming into the company of men who get a bang (pardon the pun) out of doing something necessary, and the hunting becomes more like an excuse for the exercise of power, and for the delight of being able to deliver death. And as one who has done so to put a dinner on the table, yes, I have a problem with that. The ability to deal death should not be taken lightly or for anything other than what it is, and goddammit, it's not about liking the job or proving that you can enact your theology.

Disclaimer: Looking forward to this year's venison. Have encouraged child to live-trap rodents. Still worried about government programs to eradicate feral pigs.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:03 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, MonkeyToes, I love the logic there. It helps to see the ridiculousness if you replace some of the words with others:

"A lot of people might find it ironic that we're Christian[ parents] who like killing [our children]," says Lee, "but there's not really any conflict there at all. As Christians, we believe that [parents are] above [our children], that God gave us authority over [our children]. A great responsibility comes with that ..."

The logical connection between "authority" and "it's ok to kill them" is never made. The idea that "A has authority over B implies that A has the right to kill B" is more than a little problematic...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:02 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's these clowns that helped the NSW Libs slash compo in exchange for being allowed to shoot bushwalkers.
posted by Joe Chip at 4:22 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm back, in the light of day, to apologize for my comment. You are right, the situation is different and I let my personal experience get in the way of my participation.
posted by HuronBob at 4:28 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

No apology necessary, HuronBob, I (for one) understand your viewpoint.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:41 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There was a pretty nasty piece on 7:30 report a few weeks back (No not Abbott and Olympic Dam) - hunting pigs with dogs. Nasty stuff. Using dogs to find pigs and holding them until they can be dispatched quickly is one thing - dogs as a tool. But these people were using the dogs as sport. Quite horrible.

Also on foxes - definately not welcome in Tasmania
posted by mattoxic at 5:06 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Moreover, Lee says, it is believed by some that pigs get a "sexual thrill" from drilling their snouts into the earth - another good reason to put the beasts out of their perverted misery.
posted by fistynuts at 5:20 AM on September 10, 2012

Metafilter: 24 hours in pursuit of feral pigs.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:43 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I live in a small country town, with our fair share of young men who go 'pigging'. They park in our supermarket carpark, with their dogs in a cage on the back of their utes, and the poor things go berserk if you walk past them (the dogs, not the 'men'). It makes my blood run cold, much like when you see a dog deliberately mistreated to toughen it up (hello, Rebels, I'm looking at you).

That said, I've also seen a man break down and cry when a feral boar had ripped the guts out of his favourite dog. I was dying to ask, "so, WHY DO IT?" but it wasn't the time or place. (And vale Rusty the dog, who was so very gentle and sweet with my kids but apparently was more valuable as a feral pig killing machine.)

Conflicted on so many levels. I hate feral animals who do so much damage to our land and native wildlife... and I hate people who use the word 'feral' as an excuse to be bloodthirsty.

Do NOT start me on myxomatosis.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:43 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do NOT start me on myxomatosis.

If I could find it, there would be a Meet The Feebles clip here, celebrating your lack of myxomatosis. But YouTube fails me.

Your country town experience mirrors mine, but goes further. And it's sad. Feral pigs, domestic rats. I think the most important thing is: if death is considered needed, please let it be painless.
posted by Mezentian at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

See also, the movie Razorback.
posted by asfuller at 9:37 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

So, all of you who are offended by this--- you're all vegetarians?
posted by wuwei at 4:34 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm quite pro-gun-restrictions, but as I understand it feral pigs, and foxes, and rabbits, need shooting. Sitting here, swilling a latte/chardonnay cocktail, all I really know is that sometimes, if you know the right people, it results in some nice home-made salami.
posted by pompomtom at 8:26 PM on September 10, 2012

I've got no problem with shooting feral animals - as mentioned above, if done correctly it's a more humane method than poisoning or the horrors of dogging.

But these guys are so weird about it. Their ignorance of the animals they're hunting (there aren't enough eye-rolls in the world for people who think pigs get a sexual thrill from using their nose to find things to eat) and the religious aspect to it make me very uncomfortable.

Are the guys in this article associated with the Shooters and Fishers party that's springing up around the place and won a few seats in NSW?
posted by harriet vane at 9:43 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I drove past a dead feral pig in the outback once. I presume it had hit a road train and come off second best. Large, hairy, ferocious when they need to be. Scary animals, and not cute in any sense when adult size. I don't have a problem with feral animals being hunted in Oz - not feral cats in Western Australia, pigs or foxes.

The outback can be a dull place at the best of times, and my experience over several months was that as one went further off the tarmac roads, the percentage of kooks, loners, men who grew long beards and washed infrequently and revelled in the luxury of being able to retreat into themselves - in the knowledge that their sexual lives were on hold or at an end - increased. I don't wish to tar them all - I met a much larger number of people who were much better adjusted than I would be to weeks and months spent isolated by torrential rainwater and bogged dirt roads. But still, there is a reason why they advise you not to drive outback roads at night. It's not just the chance of hitting wildlife with your vehicle. It's.. because. They don't elaborate.

But the sense I still get is that these guys are compensating for some loss or deficiency in their lives. The sexual thrill isn't with the pig snouting in the ground - it's the thrill of the hunter and the sexual thrill of killing a large animal. And I get the sexual analogy - a few years back I went on safari and saw a lion pride catch and kill an antelope 3 yards from my vehicle. It wasn't sexual at all. But it was incredibly visceral - the sound, the smell, the way it made everyone pump adrenaline like it was our last moments alive. The antelope's legs and torso were dragged off in every direction and when it was done - weird as it sounds - but we sat there with flushed faces and it felt like we should all be having a post coital cigarette.

Actually, these guys sound a lot more ethical, organised and straight up than many hunters I heard about. The Christian angle is just more displacement - a way of displacing the acknowledgment that these guys really like hunting. And that, as the article acknowledges ("But I struggle with the idea of shooting a person") hunting is a way of processing darker thoughts.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:33 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

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