A few years ago, a caller to Rush Limbaugh's radio program asked the following question: "If there were no human beings on this planet, would animals have rights?" Limbaugh rejected the question because the answer is NO! Nature can not and does not hand out any rights to any living thing.
At about the same time, when international terrorists attacked the nation on September 11, 2001, there was a smaller attack that took place in Tucson, Arizona. Animal rights groups took credit for the firebombing of a McDonald's Restaurant. The store walls of the fire-damaged restaurant were spray-painted with ALF and ELF (initials of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front).
Today, the FBI ranks both of these groups near the top of their lists for domestic terrorism threats. The Bureau estimates the two groups have committed more than six hundred criminal acts in the United States since 1996 with damages in excess of $40 million. Most Americans have never heard of these groups.
In America, other animal rights groups are working and sometimes violently to put animals on the same par with people. I sometimes think some of these people have been paying us a visit, particularly during the Mountain State Forest Festival. I do not know how many times I have seen the bumper sticker on cars, with West Virginia and out of state registration plates, saying, "Meat Is Murder."
Now, these individuals have every right to believe whatever they choose, but they do not have right to destroy private property or harass sportsmen and women, who lawfully participate in the noble sport of hunting. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have an extremist "animal rights" and anti-hunting agenda that are well-financed and organized. At the same time, HSUS is in a position to implement such an agenda or program.
The leaders of all of these groups may be different, but their primary goals of anti-hunting and anti-gun are really one and the same. These groups simply do not care about any citizens' rights that are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of the United States.
The statewide deer bow season opened last Saturday. Here is a form of hunting that has been a prime target of the anti-hunting movement for several years. Many bow hunters in other states have had their vehicles vandalized; tree stands booby-trapped or destroyed and has been harassed with face-to-face contact or telephone calls.
West Virginia has a hunter harassment law. While I do not know of any hunters being harassed by these anti-hunting radicals, I just happened to talk to a law enforcement officer a couple of weeks ago on the subject.
He informed me that such a movement went on in Pendleton County around 1990, but it did not last very long.
Today, all people who hunt alone should have a cell phone with them. If harassment does occur to anyone who just might be alone or with a small group, quickly call 911. Do not attempt to confront these people because that would only make a bad situation worse. Attempt to identify a few of the group or gang so you can effectively testify against them in a court of law.
Anti-hunters usually do their dirty work or harassing in mobs or large groups. They are essentially cowards, but they feel safe because of their large numbers when there is only one or a small number of hunters.
Therefore, try to stay as cool as they are hot. In West Virginia, sport hunting is just a part of our heritage. Anyone who has lived in this state for any length of time knows this.
Good luck to all of you bow-hunters, and I would like to make contact with a few of you who bring in a nice deer.