Chris Gunn

Have you ever been hunting in Texas from the privacy of your own home in California? I know that I haven’t, but some people have. Don’t know what I am talking about?

A year ago a company based out of Texas developed a rifle that could be operated through the Internet. That is, that one could go online, pay for some time and fire a real riffle at real targets using the ease of a mouse and mouse pad, from the comfort of ones own home.

Sounds like a great idea, right? Wrong, apparently legislatures from around the country are beginning to place bans on hunting over the Internet. The newest of the states to introduce such legislation is Kentucky, which voted to outlaw the practice on Tuesday. The legislation not only seeks to ban hunting over the Internet in Kentucky but also to prevent Kentucky citizens from hunting over the Internet in Texas or anywhere else.

The legislation was spurred on by sportsman groups who claim that hunting live prey over the Internet is unsportsmanlike: An interesting theory from a group of people that lay siege on America’s wilderness with high-powered rifles and other advanced technologies that allow them to not only track their targets more effectively but also kill more efficiently.

It is here that I pose my question; How is hunting over the Internet any more unsportsmanlike than going into the wilderness and shooting a deer from 400-yards away with a high-powered riffle, aside from actually being in the wilderness?

There are a number of reasons why hunting over the Internet might seem crude and unusual, but the gun is stationary and individuals have to wait for a target to come into view of the camera before actually firing. In addition, any kill that is made can be processed and sent to the hunter at their expense, making the art of hunting over the Internet just another way to get venison.

And here is another question; How is hunting over the Internet any more unsportsmanlike than the manner in which our own Vice President Dick Cheney hunted pheasant and other small fowl in the controlled environment of a Texas ranch?

In case you didn’t know, Cheney paid for the birds and had them planted in brushes, then proceeded to scare them out the brushes and then shot them from close range, this just before he accidentally shot his colleague.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that hunting as a whole is wrong, but that propagating for the banning of the practice of hunting over the Internet and not the banning of other forms of hunting that are just as inhumane and unsportsmanlike is extremely hypocritical.

To this day, groups like the Humane Society of the United States, the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International are pushing for national legislation banning online hunting.

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Michael Markarian of the Humane Society of the United States described the practice as, “pay-per-view slaughter.” Yet, one question comes to mind: Why is the Humane Society seeking to ban this particular type of inhumane hunting and ignoring other blatantly inhumane hunting practices? Practices much like the type of staged hunting that our vice president decided was so acceptable when he paid for his days kill.

Chris Gunn is a journalism senior and assistant sports editor. You can e-mail him at cgunn@calpoly.edu.

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