Hunting deer with dogs is only allowed in a few states in the southern United States. It has started to become more controversial in recent years as landowners have started pushing back against the right to retrieve laws, as well as the practice in general. Over the last few years, there have been many battles in state legislatures over the practice.
We look for these legal battles to heat up in the years to come and this incident will not help hunters. Whatever your stance is on dog hunting this incident does not help alleviate the controversy or make landowners more sympathetic towards the hunter cause. It does the exact opposite; it did nothing but create enemies and solidify anti-dog hunters’ positions.
Near the beginning of December, a landowner posted to Facebook an incident that happened on her property that involved a group of hunters that were pursuing deer with dogs. The dogs crossed onto her property and she restrained the dogs and called the number on their collar so the landowner could retrieve them.
When the hunters arrived they were asked if they killed any deer. They responded with no just some “Chinese food.” The hunters proceed to show the landowner a picture of them posing with her dead cat, known as Fuzz Lightyear.
Yesterday I had two beagles with tracking collars show up at the house eating cat food off the porch. I called the number on the collar and he said he was close and asked me to hang on to them till they came and got em. Several hunters in trucks showed up a bit later and they thanked me for holding on to the dogs. My boyfriend asked them if they had any luck hunting and they said they shot at and missed two does but killed some “Chinese food”. They started bragging that they had shot a cat as they showed us pictures in their phones of them posing with the dead cat. They shot and killed MY cat. They shot my big orange and white tomcat, Fuzz Lightyear. In the cornfield right in front of my house. I am completely heartbroken. I’ve been up all night. I can’t sleep. I have a horrible headache from crying all day. My boyfriend made the hunter go back In the woods and bring him home so we could bury him. We got him buried just at dark. Why? Why are people so fucking horrible? I don’t understand. Love you Fuzz, miss you forever.Jenny Layman via Facebook
After the hunters left Jenny called the authorities and reported the incident. Animal cruelty charges have now been filed against the hunter involved in the incident.
According to The Central Virginian, Greg Badgett, 43, of Midlothian, Virginia was arrested on 17 December and faces one count of cruelty to animals, a felony. He is currently out on bond.
It is incidents like these that make hunters look bad and it will definitely be used to push the anti-hunting laws. Hunters need to stand up against these bad apples before they spoil the whole batch, because unfortunately the actions of a few reflect on the whole.
Hunters need to take the role of ambassador seriously and show the world what hunting is; a needed, ethical, and sustainable part of modern life. We can do this by denouncing activities like this and highlighting the good things that hunting does, such as reduced human animal conflicts, sustainable food sourses, and the spiritual connection to the land that only hunting can bring.
I highlight these reason and more in my book, Why We Hunt: The Five Motivations of the Modern Hunter. It is a book both for the hunter and the non-hunter it lays out the responsibilities that hunters have to the land and others in this world and shows how to be a proper ambassador to ensure hunting will be passed down to our children for generations to come.