Hunting on the internets!
November 17, 2004 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Texas officials wary of plan to hunt by Internet. Hunters soon may be able to sit at their computers and blast away at animals on a Texas ranch via the Internet, a prospect that has state wildlife officials up in arms. "We were looking at a beautiful white-tail buck and my friend said 'If you just had a gun for that.' A little light bulb went off in my head,"
posted by KevinSkomsvold (57 comments total)
That's hilarious, and inevitable.
posted by mathowie at 12:13 AM on November 17, 2004

Yeah, talk about your "first person shooters". This is taking it to the next level. Liability insurance has got to be a bitch on this, though.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:24 AM on November 17, 2004

I saw this earlier on CNN. Sad, pathetic, and disgusting.
posted by dobbs at 12:27 AM on November 17, 2004

PASSWORD: 43rules

*click* BLAM!
*click* BLAM!
*click* BLAM!
*click* BLAM!

"Hasta la vista, range attendant."
posted by planetkyoto at 12:29 AM on November 17, 2004

I'd shoot at targets online. Not critters, though. I'm certainly not going to pay for it, either.

I got to shoot at stuff with one of SRL's tele-obliteration projects ages ago. That was fun. "...grapefruit juice cans fulla concrete!"
posted by loquacious at 12:46 AM on November 17, 2004

That quote in the FPP pretty much perfectly sums up everything I've found unsettling about the game-hunter mindset.
posted by neckro23 at 12:59 AM on November 17, 2004

One for Cheney, perhaps?
posted by bwerdmuller at 1:37 AM on November 17, 2004

Wow. What an idea. What happens when one of the ranch huntin' hounds wanders into range and gets blasted to doggie heaven. Do they send its head (and meat) to the 'hunter'?

But if someone could carry this concept over to golf, at say Pebble Beach, I'd go for it!
posted by Cedric at 1:41 AM on November 17, 2004

Is there I way I can shoot Texans from the comfort of my own home?
posted by Down10 at 1:47 AM on November 17, 2004

If you are going to kill something, it seems to me the very least you can do is get up out of your desk chair or off your couch and actually go kill it ... but then you might have to dress warmly, leave your house, and put down your Monster Burger, and we can't have that now can we?

"First it was rocks and clubs, then we sharpened it and put it on a stick. Then there was the bow and arrow, black powder, smokeless power and optics," Berger said. "Maybe this is the next technological step out there."

No, it's just one more way for people to kill something without actually having to be involved in the ugly death and dying aspect of it. Really, this just disgusts me, and I say that as someone who used to go hunting to put food on the table for my family. Nothing wrong with hunting so long as you are using what you are bagging, and only bagging what you can use, but damn ... the least you could do is involve yourself in the activity beyond clicking a mouse button. Get up before dawn, put on several layers of clothing, grab your preferred weapon, and go walk through the woods and hunt an animal down. None of this putting out feed to attract them for a month in advance either, and you know they will be feeding the animals in the area in front of the camera(s) ... how else can they guarantee there will be something to shoot at? Sorry, but this is just insanely stupid. If you want to go hunting, go hunting. How lazy can humans get?

And what the hell does an "animal orphanage" want with donated dead animal meat? Just wondering.

Hey, Down10, not all Texans please. I'm a Texan, and I think this is the stupidist thing ever.
posted by Orb at 1:56 AM on November 17, 2004

As a hunter I find this offensive. This isn’t hunting – it’s bloodsport. If you want to shoot animals from the comfort/safety of your home computer buy this.
posted by Tenuki at 2:19 AM on November 17, 2004

I smell a Bambi Hunt.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:23 AM on November 17, 2004

I smell big $$ in something like Subservient Chicken here.
posted by mwhybark at 6:08 AM on November 17, 2004

I'm with you, bashos_frog. The paper targets I can believe, but the enormous and complex liability issues on this - sending mammal-lethal ammo into the environment triggered by someone who's not there - make it at the very least something that these folks could not yet be offering as though it were ready to go.

However, it stands as a cute apotheosis of what hunting is all about.
posted by soyjoy at 6:44 AM on November 17, 2004

The idea came last year while viewing another Web site on which cameras posted in the wild are used to snap photos of animals.

I love it! How perfectly Texan to take an idea like aiming cameras at animals and turn it into aiming guns at animals

So I have a sure-fire money maker.

On-line execution of death row inmates.

It would be like the Utah firing squad idea-- one gun shoots blanks, everybody else gets live ammo. Only in this case, you could allow thousands of on-line shooters with only 10 real bullets (or 50 or 100-- too many more and the body would be shredded. Oh man think of the possibilities!
Bucks galore. Pretend the proceeds would go to education and everybody would be happy!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:48 AM on November 17, 2004

No one has mentioned the disabled people angle mentioned in the article...while I think that this practice is pretty nauseating, I could see the benefit for disabled people who used to or who want to hunt. Of course, since I know the majority of people who will use this will be lazies, I don't like it.
posted by agregoli at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2004

He has proposed a rule that will come up for public discussion in January that anyone hunting animals covered by state law must be physically on site when they shoot.
How about a federal law that says you have to physically be in control of your weapon instead? That'd stop me from spending a few hundred bucks on stepper motors, webcams and solenoid to mount a semiautomatic rifle on a wheeled platform and php interface.
posted by substrate at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2004

Y'know, I pretty sure this violates the telerobotics patent I hadn't bothered to file yet.
I'd better call my lawyer about this, as I'm sure sure to make millions kerpillions off this technology!
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:02 AM on November 17, 2004

I'm just surprised at "Texas officials wary."
posted by fungible at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2004

Or a whole new way to shoot unarmed, injured Iraqis.
posted by at 8:23 AM on November 17, 2004

I'm sure a lot of diasbled people want to drive a car, too. Many can, but if they're physically incapable of doing it, they're not allowed to.

Not a really good example, considering that devices that allow disabled people to drive a car are allowed - which would make that little different than this.
posted by agregoli at 8:27 AM on November 17, 2004

And what the hell does an "animal orphanage" want with donated dead animal meat? Just wondering.

Big cats (and probably other carnivores) require lots of raw meat.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 AM on November 17, 2004

Another generation or two of graphic cards from now and you won't know if you're really shooting something or not.

(*Note Remote-Control Deer Hunter requires 5 GHz Pentium VII and a graphics card with 2 GB Video Memory or better.)

I should start working on my Remote-Control Deer Hunter Simulation game. Acurately simulates controlling a remote-controlled Texas Hunting Robot! No internet connection required (except for multiplayer version).

And you know that when our grandkids play America's Army, the top-tier players will actually be controlling robots in China and Pakistan. Ender's Game, anyone?
posted by straight at 8:40 AM on November 17, 2004

take an idea like aiming cameras at animals and turn it into aiming guns at animals
You could call it a snapshot.
posted by seanyboy at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2004

"According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word snapshot was first used in 1808 by an English sportsman by the name of Sir Andrew Hocker. He noted in his diary that almost every bird that day was taken by snapshot. Snapshot then was originally a hunting term."
posted by seanyboy at 8:45 AM on November 17, 2004

This makes me think of the deer lick hunters. You know those hunters who place a deer lick that can be seen from the kitchen window for easy sport & poaching.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2004

Actually, Straight, this more immediately evokes Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace."
posted by mojohand at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2004

Ender's Game?
posted by Foosnark at 9:42 AM on November 17, 2004

Wow, SLoG, I ended up having the exact same idea.

They could sell $100 lottery tickets, and the winner gets an IP connection to the lethal injection machine.
posted by Vidiot at 10:01 AM on November 17, 2004

And if disabled people want to hunt, let 'em.
posted by Vidiot at 10:06 AM on November 17, 2004

It would take a very small network of parallel machines to accurately and photo-realistically render a real-time video feed simulating "remote hunting." And none would be any the wiser.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 AM on November 17, 2004

jeez, i'm a vegetarian opposed to hunting in general, but i don't see much problem with this, assuming safeguards will be taken to ensure that the weapons don't hurt any people or protected animals. maybe i'm missing something obvious?

what's the difference whether or not you have to leave your house to kill an animal? isn't it like watching the opera on TV? what's the reason for outlawing it?

(2nd link didn't respond for me. google cache.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:24 AM on November 17, 2004

Shouldn't hunters have a responsibility to dispose of what they kill? To use it? To not just drop a deer and leave it to rot?
posted by Vidiot at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2004

Who's liable for the shooting? In other words, if someone were to say, mount a rifle with a scope on the top of a tall building in a city and connect to the internet...?

/movie plot
posted by iamck at 11:04 AM on November 17, 2004

Ender's Game?

I was just riffing on the idea that, with slightly better graphics technology, people wouldn't be able to tell if they were playing a video game or remotely controlling real weapons. You could cheat people who thought they were remote-robo-hunting or use uber-gamers to fight a war for you.
posted by straight at 11:06 AM on November 17, 2004

what's the difference whether or not you have to leave your house to kill an animal?

Well, morality of hunting aside, it's more sporting. There are other skills involved in hunting besides merely good aim: tracking, stealth, patience, etc. In the woods, and with natural stealth the animals are at an advantage, I'd guess, otherwise every hunter would be coming home with truckloads of bucks every time.

Or to put it another way, getting the high score at Pole Position dosen't make you Mario Andretti.
This is the same thing.
posted by jonmc at 11:14 AM on November 17, 2004

Shouldn't hunters have a responsibility to dispose of what they kill? To use it? To not just drop a deer and leave it to rot?

It's disposed of by a service who will save the meat and the head for mounting for you. Seems responsible to me.

And yeah, I was aware that disabled people hunt - but not everyone may have the ability to rig special equipment for the woods.
posted by agregoli at 11:25 AM on November 17, 2004

So if "disabled" means the inability to hunt, then if I am "enabled" I should kill things?
posted by iamck at 11:27 AM on November 17, 2004

Replace "gun" with "paintball gun" and "woods" with "college campus" and you've got yourself a subscriber.

Heck, with some more robotics, we could make Grand Theft Auto: Old Detroit. You drive your robotic, gun armed car around the ruins of Old Detroit from the comfort of your home in Delta City. I'd buy that for a dollar!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2004

Why not just play a video tape of someone else killing a deer at a half mile?

And isn't it hard to get the bloodlust going when you're sitting at a computer in your skivvies?

I think robocop is bleeding has a damned fine twist. I'd pay to plink college students with a paintball gun. And the students could earn some extra cash being moving targets.
posted by fenriq at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2004

Is there I way I can shoot Texans from the comfort of my own home?

1) Move to Texas.
2) Open front door.
3) Let 'er rip.

Be prepared for return fire.
posted by joaquim at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2004

I agree with jonmc on this. There is more to hunting than aiming and pulling the trigger (or hitting a mouse button). Let's carry the "why should it matter whether or not you have to leave your house" to include anything a person might leave their house to do. Let's just all plug into the intarweb thingy, hook up some feeding and disposal tubes, and we'd never have to leave our house again for anything ... it'd be just like the SIMs. Wouldn't that be fun?

There's something to be said about really experiencing the "doing" of something. I love to fish, for example. Knowing this, one of my well-meaning friends gave me a video game so I could "fish" in the comfort of my own living room. I found it to be entertaining for about an hour, because there's a good deal more to fishing than waiting for the bobber to go under the surface ... like actually having to properly bait a hook, knowing how reel in the fish, being able to properly remove the hook from the fish, not to mention the killing and cleaning aspect of it. And let's not forget the "being in the great outdoors" aspect of it. It's just not the same when you are doing it on screen with no external feedback of any sort.

I guess I'm just an old fogy who thinks if someone wants to do something they should get up off their butts and go do it. Somehow, shooting an animal which will undoubtedly be "trained" to know food will be in a certain location (say in front of a camera) from 100 miles away by clicking a mouse button at the right moment doesn't seem like much of an experience at all. If you want game meat that badly, you can get it pretty cheaply at stores, and if you want to go hunting, then damn well go hunting. One thing's for certain, anyone who uses this service will not have hunting stories as good as mine, because they aren't actually hunting.
posted by Orb at 12:43 PM on November 17, 2004

jonmc and Orb, i'm not a hunter, but i agree with you. yes, hunting is more than pointing and shooting. so don't call this "hunting" - call it "shooting animals."

should it be outlawed? pole position is still legal, afaik. i haven't heard a single compelling argument for outlawing this thing.

sure, make fun of the people who use it all you want, but why make it illegal? do you hate our freedoms?

i can understand why hunters are offended by it, but to non-hunters it sounds like this: "these people aren't hunting b/c they're not doing it my way. waah."

to me, this method of hunting seems much worse than virtual target practice on real animals.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:08 PM on November 17, 2004

it's fucking repulsive. smells like tom delay to me.
posted by moonbird at 2:10 PM on November 17, 2004

Thinking a bit more about it, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to simulate real human beings instead of mere deer.

You could make a mint marketing it as the Ultimate Hunt. Really hunting real people using real robots. (Real simulated people, but you wouldn't ever, evah reveal the secret.)
posted by five fresh fish at 2:48 PM on November 17, 2004

I have a feeling that I have just read the plot synopses for the next couple of years' worth of Hollywood megablockbusters.

Ooooh-- okay, so it's like, a super high-tech prison, and the convicts on death row get a chance for escape: the catch? They have to make their way through the deadly terrain of 'The Game', avoiding remote interweb connected killing devices. The cast includes a lovable nerd computer genius who manages in the final plot twist to hack into the system. The leader of the group is a wrongfully convicted upstanding guy (Russel Crowe?) who is fighting for his freedom! There's also a tough black guy, a gangsta, who's out for revenge but has a change of heart during the course of the movie. Round out the cast of characters with a couple of expendable types, to provide death and drama, and the kind of evil Mastermind who invented the whole concept of 'The Game' and is drawn into a battle of wits with the unarmed heroes-- who look like they just might be the first convicts to survive and get the reward of their freedom! Or will they? The whole thing is televised, and the world holds its breath as Hero Guy's lawyer girlfriend, who has been fighting all this time to get his case reviewed, runs around with the New Evidence which will exonerate him! Who will win? Will the convicts actually be allowd to escape? Is it all rigged? Will the lawyer girlfriend expose the corruption behind the whole thing?

Contact my agent. I'm going to Hollywood!
posted by jokeefe at 3:10 PM on November 17, 2004

Ice-T for the gangsta guy. Vin Diesel also has a role in this somewhere.

I can't quite get a fix on the lawyer girlfriend but I'm thinking Jamie Lyn Seigler, or whatever her name is.
posted by jokeefe at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2004

And the working title will be "Running Man", right?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:55 PM on November 17, 2004

mrgrimm: So you are a vegetarian who is "opposed to hunting in general" and yet you have no problem with "virtual target practice on real animals"? Interesting.

i haven't heard a single compelling argument for outlawing this thing.

Licensing. You have to have a license in order to hunt in Texas (and most likely everywhere by now), and said license doesn't allow you to just go out and shoot as much of anything as you want ... i.e. if the owners of this "animal shooting" site get a license, it's not going to cover everyone who wants to "virtually" shoot animals at their location.

A hunting license is required of any person, regardless of age, who hunts any animal or bird in this state. - from the Fish and Wildlife Regulations

That's the loophole that needs to be closed. Fine you say, then everyone has to get a license before they can start clicking their mouse buttons. For a Texas resident, it's not too expensive ... $23. For a non-resident, it's going to be $300, which might make the people thinking of using this new form of hunting think twice about it. That's just the general license and doesn't include exotic game or any of the other endorsements you have to get to hunt what you want. Also the hunting lease location (the people with the web cam) will have to have a license for the property, and depending on how large or small the property is they aren't all that cheap either. All these licenses have bagging limits attached to them ... x number of turkeys, y number of antelope, z number of wild pig, etc ... and the bagging limits aren't the same statewide either. All of these licenses and limits and tags will have to be tracked by the proprietors of this web site unless they want to get a visit from Parks and Wildlife officers. It seems to me that even if they don't change the law to state that someone has to actually be IN the state when they are shooting animals here, these guys have maybe bitten off more than they realize. Hunting already requires paperwork and the following of specific guidelines/rules. You aren't even supposed to be in possession of someone else's license/tags, so how is Joe Blow in Ohio going to get his tag to Texas when he bags that buck on line? And if the proprietors have the licenses, then they will very definitely be in a legal grey area. Can you see there are already some legal problems in store for these guys?

I guess if someone had never gone hunting before or looked into it to much they might not realize that you don't just grab a gun or bow, trot off to a woody spot and start shooting things. It's not a free-for-all. The last time I went hunting, I got pulled over by a county cop who could see I had a deer in the bed of the truck but couldn't see the tag on it, and he wanted to make sure I had a tag on it and that the tag had come from my license (if either had been out of order, I'd have been in serious trouble). They don't play around with the licensing and tagging issues here. It's serious business.

Aside from the legality issue, I'm opposed to it because I think if you are going to kill something, the very least you can do is be present for the event ... otherwise, why not play a video game instead of popping off a round at an animal hundreds of miles away from you and waiting for it's perfectly prepared tasty bits to arrive by UPS. It cheapens both the life and the death of the animal.

While I am ranting, let me say this ... the fact that we have removed ourselves so far from the killing of people and animals that now it only requires the pushing of buttons from a distance to kill someone/thing is what the hell is wrong with people today. It's entirely too easy to kill things and be distanced from exactly what it means to take a life of any sort. I have never been a sport hunter. I hunted because the only way my family was going to have something other than rice and beans to eat was for someone to go out and get their hands bloody. Since no one else had the stomach to do it, I was the one who did it ... shot it, watched it die, helped it die quicker if need be, and then gutted, cleaned and processed it myself. And I cried every time, but I did what had to be done to get by and survive. The phrase "virtual target practice on animals" makes me sick. If someone is going to shoot an animal, the least they can do is watch it suffer and die up close and in person, and then they better damn well use every last bit of it for something useful. It's just getting too easy to kill things these days and think nothing of it.
posted by Orb at 4:31 PM on November 17, 2004

"Get rich white guys in sports bars to pick oranges and pay for it by inventing a video game that activates telepresent robotic labor."

In any case, the live-shot people should make a flash game where it seems as though you're playing an organic farmer using integrated pest control to manage his crop of heirloom okra (NO GMO OKRA PLZ), but you're actually hunting sheep.
posted by LimePi at 5:30 PM on November 17, 2004

If someone is going to shoot eat an animal, the least they can do is watch it suffer and die up close and in person.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:00 PM on November 17, 2004

That's hilarious, and inevitable.
posted by mathowie at 12:13 AM PST on November 17

Really. Killing animals remotely evokes great merriment in you, or is it some other aspect of this bullshit that appeals to your sense of humor? Or are you just temporarily adjective-challenged?

Hunting is cretinous and craven enough as it is. This is worse.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2004

Oh puh-lease.

I'm gonna have to go kill a kitten now in your name, f&m, and laugh while I'm doing it. Sheez.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on November 17, 2004

And the working title will be "Running Man", right?


Damn you, fff! There go my millions and my screenwriting credit! Curses!

(I seriously had never seen that movie. I recognized the name, but that's about it. Dang. So close, and yet so far.... )
posted by jokeefe at 9:53 PM on November 17, 2004

"The current state statutes don't cover this sort of thing."


I hope no one has covered the logical extension of this :

The US Air Force can dispense with bomber and helicopter gunship pilots : no more expensive pensions or anything !

In fact, many will pay top dollar for the privilege of dealing death from the air : simple privatization.

You heard it here first.
posted by troutfishing at 10:23 PM on November 17, 2004

Orb, thank you for your eloquent, thoughtful posts. I respect people who hunt their own food from necessity. Sport hunting is vile. It destroys life for pleasure. It denies the hungry -- not only people, but all living things -- sustenance. For virtual sport hunting, I don't have the words. I don't believe for an instant that anyone who would try to make money at it has enough reverence for life to make sure that the animals killed wouldn't be wasted.
posted by melissa may at 11:22 PM on November 17, 2004

Unfortunately, it's their right to waste it if they want to.
posted by agregoli at 7:35 AM on November 18, 2004

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