Rob Pavey blogs green issues and the outdoors life

Hunter-hating sports editor gets rude awakening

It's always entertaining to check out the things our counterparts at other newspapers come up with, and last week's column on deer hunters by the sports editor at the Covington (Ga.) News was one of the oddest essays I've seen in a while.

 

In a nutshell, the writer, Josh Briggs, apparently took offense after he was sent a photo of a father and son with the boy's deer, and was asked to publish the picture.

 

Being from California, where they do things differently, he proceeded to attack deer hunters as lazy, insinuated that wildlife management through controlled hunting was a myth and made the erroneous assumption that people who hunt from a treestand are doing so over bait.

 

"If I'm going to run deer hunting pictures in my section, I can at least give my take on it, right? Fair enough?" he ranted, devoting the next dozen or so graphs to giving his "take" on everything from the taste of venison to the assertion that population control is needed more for humans than deer.

 

"Once upon a time, not anymore, we needed to trap, hunt and kill wild animals for survival. Then, we learned to be farmers and ranchers. Then, we invented the rail system and had the ability to ship goods. Eventually, we no longer had a need to kill wild animals. Yet for some reason, a lot of people feel they still do. Because being the perverse species we are, we turned it into a sport."

 

 There is more: "When you are at war, it's you or your enemy. You look for the upper hand. You find an elevated position, sit for hours or even days on end and wait. That's fine. At least your enemy knows you're out there... But a deer has no clue. When you sit in a tree stand and wait for a deer to come through your baited area, it's just a matter of time."

 

 The newspaper's general manager, T. Pat Cavanaugh, followed up with a column of his own  in which he offered a sort of back-handed mea culpa for annoying so many subscribers and advertisers.

 

"While reading it, the shock of what he wrote caused me to spill my coffee on myself and almost choke on my muffin," Cavanaugh wrote. "I knew our publisher, Charles Hill Morris, himself part of a family that has a hunting tradition that goes way back, would be shocked and mortified. He was, and I am still unhappy about our sports editor's comments. I want to assure each of you that the editorial board and the management of this newspaper support the right of every American to hunt."

 

Both columns, predictably, generated plenty of interest out there in Newton County, where lots of hunters are spending their vacation time waiting out a big one as the rut kicks into high gear this weekend.

 

It was also ripe discussion fodder on the GON Forum maintained by Georgia Outdoor News, which brings up the reason I am writing about it in the first place.

 

Several of the comments on GON asserted that the Covington News is owned by the same company that owns The Augusta Chronicle. I also received phone calls this week from two of our local readers asking about the same thing - and wondering if the Augusta paper was taking an anti-hunting slant as well.

 

Our parent company is Morris Publishing Group and the Covington News is owned by a different company: Morris Multimedia, based in Savannah. The owners of the companies are related, but the companies are not.

 

Now that I've set the record straight, I'll also reiterate that our readers are welcome to share their photos and experiences in the autumn deer woods, and while we don't always have room to get them all into our printed edition, there is unlimited space on our online Sportsman's Scrapbook, where we have almost 480 photos now - with more than half a million page views.

 

Happy hunting, and keep those emails and photos coming!

 

 

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scorehouse
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scorehouse 10/26/10 - 11:27 am
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too bad juan williams didn't
Unpublished

too bad juan williams didn't for the covington bird cage liner.

scorehouse
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scorehouse 10/26/10 - 11:33 am
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"work for". what's wrong with
Unpublished

"work for". what's wrong with venison? elk, buffalo, rabbit, alligator, frog legs, duck, quail, dove, no forget the dove, turkey, raccoon, no forget coons, and chicken. afterall, it all tastes like chiken,

hope7
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hope7 10/26/10 - 03:51 pm
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Having grown up around it,

Having grown up around it, lived with it, heard all the tall 'tails', I can assure ya'll it's all about the BOOZE!!!

Rob Pavey
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Rob Pavey 10/26/10 - 04:03 pm
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hope7, I hope you are talking

hope7, I hope you are talking about AFTER a hunt.

REDRIDER
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REDRIDER 10/26/10 - 04:04 pm
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Rob check out the first rant

Rob check out the first rant and rave this morning. It seems there are people in our area complaining about youngsters hunting. If we don't take our youngsters to hunt and fish or spend time with them outdoors. The sports of hunting and fishing and other outdoor activities will perish. Take one Make one for the future. Kids will learn what a real use of a weapon is. Also respect for nature as well.

wlightnin42
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wlightnin42 10/26/10 - 04:24 pm
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We need to get more youth out

We need to get more youth out to hunt. Take a child hunting, but try and make it fun. Show them the birds and other animals. Tell them what is ok to shoot and not to shot. Hate people that shoot a doe with a yearling or a deer the size of a dog. Those are the people that make hunters look bad but, we should not fight against any hunter because people like them feed off of that.

Rob Pavey
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Rob Pavey 10/26/10 - 04:52 pm
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I noticed the rant today too,

I noticed the rant today too, but I fully support exposing children to hunting and firearms safety at an early age, as long as they are supervised. Here is how I responded to a similar rant in the past:

"The youngsters were accompanied by their dads, who are experienced and licensed hunters themselves. It is well-documented that children exposed to gun safety, sportsmanship and proper respect for the outdoors at an early age grow into the adults who are the safest and most responsible gun-owners.

"Obtaining a hunting license, by the way, can be as difficult and time-consuming as getting a driver's license. Georgians must take two days of classroom studies, followed by a two-hour homework assignment, and must complete a final exam before purchasing a hunting license. The course also is available on CD-ROM. Children younger than 12 can hunt with a licensed parent or guardian before passing the safety class."

Rob Pavey
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Rob Pavey 10/26/10 - 04:55 pm
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I'll also add that,

I'll also add that, regardless of whether kids who hunt at a young age grow up to be lifelong hunters, at the very least they will be familiar with firearms and learn to respect them for what they are. In terms of safety and accident prevention, guns are most dangerous in the hands of people who rarely handle them.

lady_alessandra
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lady_alessandra 10/26/10 - 07:59 pm
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Sounds like someone might be

Sounds like someone might be looking for a job soon and not in the South haha

nofrills
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nofrills 10/27/10 - 06:04 am
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I have nothing against

I have nothing against hunting on a whole but I do have a problem with bad hunters! If you hunt and you see your buddy doing wrong then please tell him or report him but to do nothing is making you a bad or unwanted hunter. Also when crossing my land please dont bait my land and please take all your beer cans with you.

Many Arrows
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Many Arrows 10/27/10 - 10:24 am
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I have hard enough time

I have hard enough time hunting sober.

Hunt drunk? Never.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 10/27/10 - 06:11 pm
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Time outdoors spent with my

Time outdoors spent with my Dad to me is priceless. He taught me about wildlife but I also learned a lot of "life lessons" just spending time with him. He is 85 years old so you can imagine that I still like to go to the country with him to just spend time together. That, to me is "hunting". No cell phones and we don't even have to take a gun. Dads, please teach your children about the real world and not just the electronic. I am blessed!!

Billy Byler
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Billy Byler 10/27/10 - 06:13 pm
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I'm all for hunting, but I

I'm all for hunting, but I don't do it much myself. Unless you count the cougar hunting I do from time to time at Hamrick's and J.C. Penny. Rowr!

The Farmer's Daughter
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The Farmer's Daughter 11/01/10 - 10:28 pm
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Just read Hope7's comment -

Just read Hope7's comment - Where in the world does this person live? I really want to know so I can NEVER go there! I'm a 66-year-old female. My family has been hunters for generations and hopefully will in the future. I've known hunters all my life - I have NEVER seen one of them drink while they're hunting. I don't deny that there are people who are dumb enough to do it, but thankfully they don't live in my neck of the woods. Don't paint everyone with the same black brush - the hunters I know are actually some of the most moral people I know. Can't say the same about some of the people who never would think of hunting. They probably will never take advantage of a great tradition. Too bad!

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