An invention of the Stone Age, still alive in the 21st century, bow hunting is a twisted form of amusement for those who enjoy killing animals without regard for their pain and suffering. Some bow hunters clearly enjoy watching animals they’ve injured struggling for their lives, and take a perverse pleasure in extinguishing life. Bow hunting is, next to trapping, the cruelest way of killing animals for fun. There are approximately 3.2 million registered bow hunters, or just 1.4 percent of Americans. Bow hunters in the USA kill millions of “game” animals each year, including black bears, elk and deer.
Inside the Mind of the Bow Hunter
Now I’m ready to knock down a big one and get me some good venison meat. It’s like a rush – you’ve got to wait for that big monster to get right in front of your blind and then you’ve got to draw the arrow back. It’s quite an adrenalin rush. —Ted Nugent, bow hunter, conservative and rock star
There are those among us hunters, who revel in the minimalistic pursuit of wild animals, using the most rudimentary of tools, and seeking out the whole of the experience, up close and personal, and as intimately involved with our prey as we possibly can be. This experience rewards us with the greatest sense of accomplishment and challenge, and connects us directly with our forefathers and ancient pasts. It, too, cements our admiration and awe for the wild places and animals we share this journey with along the way.
—Livingston resident Mark R. Baker
Well, we went out to the range to target shoot before the hunt, and the guy’s cedar arrows were all over the place and flying who knows where. As I had feared, he went out and shot an elk in the hip and couldn’t find the wounded animal.
— Bruce Ingram
The Evils of Bow Hunting
A report summarizing 24 studies of bow hunting demonstrated that there is little chance that deer die instantly when struck, but more typically bow hunters take an average of 14 shots (!) to kill an animal, and there is a 54% wounding and crippling rate. For every deer killed and dragged out of the woods, another one is wounded and runs off only to die hours, days or even weeks later, all the while in pain, defenseless against further attacks by natural predators.
There is absolutely no sure way to kill a deer instantly with a bow
Killing a deer with a bow and arrow is borderline impossible because the animals are so wary and the bow and arrow is such a short-range weapon.
—conservative, rock star and bow hunter, Ted Nugent
The inaccuracy inherent in bow hunting is demonstrated by professional archers. Olympic class-archers hit the “bulls eye,”— the center of the target—even under ideal conditions with no moving object and no foliage between them, only part of the time.
A 1988 report to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks indicated that of 2,370 bow hunters who shot an elk with an arrow, only 49% actually retrieved the animals hit –1,161 elk, whose last hours or days of their lives were probably spent in agony before succumbing to a painful and prolonged death, likely from peritonitis or infection within a week or two later.
The rule of thumb for bow hunters has long been that we should wait 30 to 45 minutes on heart and lung hits, an hour or more on a suspected liver hit, eight to 12 hours on paunch hits, and that we should follow up immediately on hindquarter and other muscle hits, “to keep the wound open and bleeding. ”
—Glenn Helgeland – Fins and Feathers Winter 1987
Bow hunters and psychological profile
Many hunters, who feel the compulsive need to kill animals, get into bow hunting to extend the length of their hunting season and to increase their opportunities to shoot animals with a variety of weapons, including rifle, shotguns, pistol and bow. These individuals just can’t seem to satisfy their bloodlust, and bow hunting provides an additional opportunity to take animals’ lives.
Bow hunters are well aware that their action will always cause slow death to these sentient beings as they wait the recommended 30-45 minutes, or up to12 hours, while the animal is struggling in pain and dying; as one book for bow hunters recommends, “just hang back and have a smoke.” And while for a normal compassionate human being, deliberately causing pain and suffering to innocent animals is incomprehensible, bow hunters find fun and enjoyment in these cruel acts.
There is clearly some psychological disconnect in those who display so much aggression and violence against animals, and who feel the need to transcend character flaws or attempt to overcome other inadequacies in their lives by dominating innocent and defenseless animals. Key features of a sociopath include committing acts that harm others, a lack of feeling remorse and a clear absence of empathy for others, all of which apply to bow hunters.
It is high time that the American public condemns this outrageous and brutal form of “recreation,” that causes so much suffering to so many animals. Both science and common sense teach that other animal species have the same capacity to experience emotions such as pain and suffering, joy and love, as we humans do. Violent behavior such as hunting is therefore a great injustice and discrimination against our fellow beings, who share with us the simple desire to live a good life without being harmed.
What you can do:
We at IDA are working hard to expose the horrors of bow hunting with the goal of ending them.
Please join us.
Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask about its position on bow hunting. Most conservation organizations endorse hunting at some level, or at least do not oppose it.
If your town is proposing an urban bow hunt, form a citizen group and make your voices heard at city hall meetings and other official meetings.
If you are a supporter of National Parks, or plan to visit a state or national park, ask about the park’s stance on bow hunting or hunting in general. The National Park Service (NPS) is increasingly moving towards lethal control of protected deer and elk, and they should hear from you that you oppose the killing of wildlife.
Encourage your legislators to enact or enforce wildlife protection laws, and insist that non-hunters or wildlife watchers be equally represented on the staffs of wildlife agencies.
Urge agencies to seek revenues through compassionate, environmentally sound activities, such as wildlife watching or other wildlife-friendly outdoor activities.