I remember my first squirrel hunt. I was the tender age of four and accompanied my grandpa. I was unable to kill a squirrel during that hunt but a year later at age five, I was successful when I shot a big fox squirrel with a 20-gauge shotgun. You can read about that story and how it helped me grow into the hunter I am today in my book Why We Hunt: The Five Motivations of the Modern Hunter.
If it was up to the anti-hunting animal rights groups none of our children would be able to experience the outdoors like most of us did growing up. They believe hunting is of no value and that it should not be taught to youth, but anyone who has part in hunting knows that this is absolutely not true. Hunters develop a love and respect for the outdoors and the animals we peruse. I do not expect people who have never participated to understand, but it is the truth.
Anti-hunting groups are always targeting organized hunts and a youth squirrel hunt in Germantown, NY is their latest target. They have issued many statements against the hunt in the media and according to the organizers, the groups have also been sending out death threats.
According to the New York Post, the controversy surrounds an annual squirrel hunt that takes place in Germantown, NY. The seventh annual “Squirrel Scramble” is open to “men, women and youth hunters,” with the main focus on teenagers aged 12 to 15.
According to the Germantown Sportsmen’s Association, the events organizers, “We promote youth hunting and teach them the proper way,” the group said, insisting that “squirrel hunting is something that has been around for a long time”
Of course, anti-hunting groups such as the New York State Humane Association called for the organizers to cancel the event and issued statements to the media calling the hunt barbaric and inhumane.
“Killing in the name of fun and family bonding seems contradictory and lacking in respect for living beings and their place in nature,” wrote Humane Association chairman Harold Hovel in a Feb. 5 plea, according to the Albany Times Union.
A change.org petition started by Amora Lay “STOP the Cruel Squirrel killing contest in Germantown” was just a few signatures shy of 20,000 by Wednesday. Who said in the petition, “This barbaric, cruel, senseless and environmentally terrorizing money grab is being advertised as a fun family event… You don’t have to destroy wildlife and senselessly murder innocent sentient beings to “have fun!”
The event organizers held the event as planned despite receiving death threats and amid protests that took place across from the club’s property.
One commenter on the sportsmen’s Facebook page said of the event Saturday: “My son and myself hunted all day! We did not have any luck but my son told me it was the best thing he has done in a long time ! So lucky to have stuff like this to do ! Great Job ! Keep it up.”
Squirrel hunting is an excellent way to get young hunters into the woods. It teaches them about nature and how to be good stewards of the environment. Hunters need to stand up to these groups and not let them destroy what is good, right, and moral.
Be sure to head on over to their Facebook page and show them some support.