> In "Birds" the UK birdwatchers journal, some years ago I read that the
>National duckshooters association owned so many reserves, bought up or
>donated over the years, used for duckshooting for a few weeks a year, that
>the combined area was considerably greater than all other wildlife reserves
>in the UK, and that those reserves protected many other species, and were
>great places for birdwatching.
Michael, I believe that this has happened with Ducks Unlimited in the US
who have bought up many areas, including mangals in Texas.
While hunting has played a part in the extinction of some species eg
Passenger Pigeon, habitat destruction/change is of much more concern.
Kunwinjku people of Western Arnhem Land recognise the importance of
habitat. For instance my children all of whom have python dreaming must
protect this animal and its habitat. Anyone not having this dreaming can
hunt these snakes. This results in conservation by balance and
For all these people habitat and the whole species (or genus) are more
important than a particular individual or flock. Hunting is a way that
women especially recreate their bonds with each other and the land, and
teach their children.
Luckily Kunwinjku people are largely shielded at least in Arnhem Land
from the arguments re shooting. However others such as my Larrakia
sister-in-law when she was alive, were acutely aware that because she and
her relatives hunted, they were considered 'primitive'.
Re the high moral ground, I suggest that it is not so much the hunters
that should be singled out, but rather any peson who by virtue of being a
consumer of scarce resources, has a lifestyle that leads to further land
degradation/clearing particularly in sensitive areas. And that includes
consumers of beef, lamb, vegetables and fruits, and of course
householders and city dwellers (cities tend to be built on the most
arable, well-watered land). I think that covers most of us!
Denise Goodfellow (Lawungkurr Maralngurra)
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