- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006

With the hunting season about to go into high gear, I can’t help but wonder how licensed hunters will react if interfered with by animal rights activists.

Can’t happen, you say?

It can. It already has, and it probably will happen again in the future as various well-financed animal rights groups become more brazen in their attempts to stop recreational hunters.

That alone is astonishing because in the Washington area, Virginia and Maryland have laws on the books that prohibit anyone from interfering with, bothering, harassing or otherwise getting in the way of legitimate hunting pursuits.

However, that’s not nearly as noteworthy as the fact that hunters have shown remarkable restraint when bothered by the animal religionists. After all, if you pay attention to the blabbering nonsense that comes from well-paid PR flaks at the Humane Society of the United States and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — to mention only two — hunters are portrayed as unshaven, toothless, uneducated hayseeds who would take a shot at a billy goat, believing it to be a deer.

If true, why haven’t hunters (whom the “antis” believe to be social misfits) turned violent when animal rights protesters show up at public hunting facilities, as they have done, for example, at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management area in nearby Montgomery County?

Instead, the hunters have behaved as perfect gentlemen and ladies. The same can’t always be said for the emotional ninnies who worship at the altar of animals.

Although not a member of PETA or the HSUS, Rodney Coronado, a well-known animal rights activist, recently was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for interfering with U.S. Forest Service agents who were trying to capture mountain lions in Arizona. It happened two years ago because of increasing encounters between humans and the big cats.

The sentencing, according to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, came after Coronado and two others were convicted in December on misdemeanor charges for interfering with a forest officer and depredation of government property, as well as felony charges of conspiracy to impede or injure an officer of the United States.

OK, so you’re not likely to run into an extremist like Coronado, but I once mistakenly received an instruction sheet from an animal rights group that provided suggestions about how to interfere with legitimate hunting. One paragraph suggested teams of two animal rightists should enter the woods shortly after daybreak and begin to throw Frisbees to each other while shouting and making plenty of noise.

Honestly, once I figured out what these wackos were up to, I don’t know whether I could resist taking at least a shot at the Frisbee if it came sailing past my deer stand.

A friend who lives in southwestern Virginia at the edge of the mighty Jefferson National Forest said there had been an anti-hunting demonstration some seasons ago in which animal rights members lined the side of a road as hunters arrived at a public access parking lot. He laughed out loud as he recalled one hunter holding a spray bottle of human cover odor (it was extremely pungent fox urine) that normally is sprayed sparingly on the bottom of hunting boots. Only this time a young, upset hunter held the bottle in his hand outside the car window and gently misted some of the protesters.

Can you imagine what happened when Eunice told John he smelled awful, and John answered, “Eunice, you don’t smell so great yourself.”

I would have given a week’s wages to see the whole deal go down. However, be reminded that I do not advocate poor behavior. Au contraire. I hope all hunters continue to act in an exemplary manner no matter how dumb the Bambi huggers behave.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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