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PETA Opposes Video Game Violence--- Against Fish

From time to time, I like to update Activist Angler readers about the words, actions, and campaigns of those who want to stop us from fishing.

So . . . PETA in Germany doesn't like Far Cry 5. In case you don't know, this is a first-person shooter game, mostly about killing people, featuring  graphic displays of violence.

But PETA doesn't like it because it includes catching fish.

Get this:

"Fishing means luring fish into a trap, exposing them to fear and shortness of breath for minutes to hours, as well as to an agonizing death struggle before being killed or often cut alive," according to Tanja Reining in a statement for the radical animal rights organization.

But this is the best:

"Today we know that a fish is a somebody, not something, and it is an indictment to promote fishing. Fish are curious vertebrates with individual personalities.

"In some intelligence tests, fish fare better than chimpanzees, orangutans, and capuchin monkeys. They have a complex social life and sometimes close friendships."

PETA also cites a study that says fish "are capable of pain perception and should accordingly be treated and protected as sensitive living beings."

And it advises against video games "glorifying and banalizing the hunting and killing of fish or other animals." Rather, developers should focus on "games with free-living animals that do not glorify killing as a pastime."

Somewhere in all of that propaganda might be a few grains of truth. But most of it is nonsense designed to gain support through emotional appeal, while ignoring science.

It would be easy to dismiss campaigns like this as nonsense and proclaim that restricting or prohibiting recreational fishing in this country never could happen. But the insanity already has taken root in Europe. In fact, recreational fishing as we know it no longer exists in some countries there.

The Swiss Animal Welfare Act of 2008 highlights the nightmarish possibilities. The legislation makes catch-and-release illegal because “it is in conflict with the dignity of the fish and its presumed ability to suffer and feel pain.”

A similar rule has been in place since the 1980s in Germany, where anglers also must take a course in fish handling before they can obtain a license.

“The argument runs that it is legally acceptable to go fishing only if one has the intention to catch fish for food,” says a study entitled “A Primer on Anti-Angling Philosophy and Its Relevance for Recreational Fisheries in Urbanized Societies.”

“Wider economic benefits created by angling are usually not considered a sufficient justification. It all boils down to the individual benefits experienced by the angler, and here food provision is currently the only acceptable reason.” 

In other words, recreational fishing as millions of Americans now enjoy it is not allowed.

Don't take these irrational fanatics lightly. If were are not vigilant and active in protection of a pastime enjoyed by millions, we will allow a minority who believe that fishing is cruel to dominate the conversation and dictate policy.




Check Out The LureTreever

Richard Cepulonis thinks that he has a better idea. And he hopes that you do as well.

His idea is a device that will retrieve lures and lines from trees and brush, as well as from underwater snags. Called the LureTreever, it is intended to benefit  anglers, wildlife, and the environment.

"Our device will save fishermen a lot of money because they won't lose lures while fishing, and they can recover lures that others have lost while they wait for fish to bite," he said. "They will clean the abandoned fishing line, hooks, lures, and lead sinkers from the trees in the process! That is a win-win proposition."

You can find out more at his website, which includes a detailed video, and Facebook page.

At present, he has only a prototype and is looking for support and funding.

"We haven't started our crowdfunding campaign yet because we have to cultivate a large following before  we do," Cepulonis told Activist Angler.  If we can find an angel investor or a potential partner for the enterprise we could begin to manufacture and market  with that.

"There are 60 million fishermen in America, and they all have one thing in common. They all need a LureTreever." 

Retail price is expected to be in the $100 range for the item that comes in a carrying case and probably will weigh 10 to 15 pounds. In other words, it will be easy to carry and store on a boat.

"The device and its 30 feet of attachable pole sections will be made of a lightweight but high impact plastic," Cepulonis said. "Each pole section is 22 inches long, and the device comes with 16  sections packed in the backpack carrying case.

"The two heads that attach to the poles come in a case mounted on the front of the backpack. Extra pole sections will be available for purchase as desired. You could purchase enough to cross a lake if you so desired." 


Be Careful

“You don’t trust me.”

If you were or are the parent of a teen-ager, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of that accusation.

What did you say to earn such a dastardly charge?

Probably you said the same thing that Mrs. Vineyard said to me those many years ago as I loaded the laundry basket into the backseat of my Ford Falcon: “Be careful.”

Considering what was in the basket, she had good reason to say that too, just as do most parents. But through the filter of teen-age ears, all I heard was that she didn’t trust me.

About 15 minutes later, I’d start to learn what she really meant.

Because Mrs. Vineyard loved nature, she and her husband owned a large area of land with two lakes about 10 miles from town, where he ran a construction business. They also raised several foster children, as well as their own.

I wasn’t one of the former, but I might as well have been since I spent so much time at those lakes. At first I was just fishing.  But then Mrs. Vineyard offered me a summer job, cutting weeds and cleaning boats, and the lakes became my home away from home from Memorial Day to Labor Day for several years.

When I wasn’t working, I was still out there, exploring and taking photos. That’s what I was doing that fall day when I suddenly acquired the need for Mrs. Vineyard’s laundry basket.

If someone told me that this happened to him, I might not believe it. But this did occur, just as I’m about to tell you, and I still have an old black and white photo to prove it.

As I pulled off the gravel road and onto the wooded shoreline, about a half mile from the lake house, I saw a hawk on the ground. I grabbed my Kodak Instamatic and eased out of the car as quietly as I could.

I wasn’t quiet enough. The raptor flapped awkwardly skyward, and, as it did, I saw that it carried a large snake in its talons. The snake was so big, in fact, that the bird couldn’t gain altitude.  Nor would it give up the reptile.

Or maybe the snake was so entangled in the bird’s feet that it couldn’t let go of it.

Whatever the reason, the hawk plummeted to earth. Only it didn’t alight on solid ground; it plopped into the reeds of a marshy shoreline. Just as it hit the water, it managed to spread its wings, which kept it afloat. Several times it tried vainly to free itself, beating those long, dark wings against the water.

My first thought was that if the bird would just release the snake, it could take off. But as I stood there on shore, and the now-exhausted bird sat there in the water, I realized that it was not going to free itself, no matter what.

And I was to blame. I had to do something or the hawk almost certainly would die. But what?

I would have to pull it out of those reeds, of course. I snapped a couple of photos of the bird, put the camera back in the car, and took off my flannel shirt. Then I waded in toward the hawk. It watched me with fierce eyes as I maneuvered around behind it.

Spreading the shirt like a blanket, I used it to enfold the outspread wings and press them against the hawk’s sides. As I lifted the big bird, weeds fell off its feet, but no snake. Sloshing toward shore, I pushed against the bird’s sides, fearing it would panic and hurt me with its hooked beak or sharp talons.

But it did not, and we both reached shore safely. Now what? The logical action would have been to set the bird free, of course. But I was a teen-ager. Remember? Once the hawk was no longer in imminent danger, I chose the illogical. I would take raptor home with me--- just to be certain that it was all right.

At least that’s what I told Mrs. Vineyard after I walked the half-mile back to her house, holding the bird firmly in front of me. Not once did it struggle to escape, even when Mrs. Vineyard flew out the screen door, slamming it behind her. “Looks like you’ve got a handful there,” she said with a smile. “What happened?”

She didn’t try to talk me about of my plan, and, in fact, I think that she might even have suggested that I use the laundry basket to take the hawk home.  We placed a board on a table and the upside down basket on top of it. Then, as Mrs. Vineyard raised the edge of the plastic basket, I eased the bird under it. Finally, we used rope to secure the board to the rim, and I walked back to get my car.

“Be careful,” she said, when I returned and placed the basket in the back seat.

I resisted the urge to say what I would have told her if she had been my mother. Mrs. Vineyard was a kind woman who had been very good to me. I silently forgave her for suggesting that she did not trust me.

“I will,” I said.

And I was. I really was. The road home was filled with hills and curves, and I drove more carefully than usual. Still, on a 45-degree turn, the basket slid, tipped . . .  and suddenly a hawk was flapping around in the backseat of my Ford Falcon. Not until much later did I recognize the humor of that.

At the moment, I had to get off the road --- and fast.  Miraculously, a safe shoulder beckoned. Keeping my head low, I slammed the transmission into park, squeezed out the driver’s door, and slammed it behind me.

Crouched on my haunches, I leaned back against the car and regained my breath, as I listened to hawk thrashing. If it moved from the back seat to the front, I realized, I might never get it back in the basket.

Of course, the obvious course of action would have been to open one of the doors and allow the bird to fly out. That never occurred to me. I was still focused on getting it home. And as I peeked in the back window to see the hawk finally settling down, I still wasn’t considering the significance of Mrs. Vineyard’s parting words. That would come later.

Honestly, I don’t remember exactly how I managed to get that big bird back in the laundry basket. But I did.

Finally at home, I spoke softly to it as I carried it into the garage. I had no idea what I was doing or what I would do next. But talking gently seemed a good thing to do.

Looking through the encyclopedias that night, I learned that my captive was a red-tailed hawk, also known as a “chicken hawk.” Because it is such a capable hunter, the book said, it often is used for falconry. And I discovered out that I should wear gauntlets when handling it. I also learned about the leather straps, or jesses, that a falconer puts on the legs of his hunter to maintain control and the hood that he uses to keep it calm.

The following morning, I wore old leather work gloves, as I slowly lifted the edge of the basket and tied a leather cord around the hawk’s leg. Also, I continued the previous day’s strategy of speaking softly. In hindsight, I realize how naïve and possibly even foolish that I was. With a hooked beak, sharp, yellow claws, and wingspread of four feet or more, the red-tailed hawk is a potentially lethal adversary in close quarters.

But the bird was docile and cooperative. Its fierce eyes seemed more a reflection of what it was --- a predatory bird --- than its attitude toward me. It turned its head and listened as I whispered to it, set it on a perch that I had built, and secured the cord.

By the second day, the hawk was eating raw meat from my hand. Soon, it would climb onto my leather glove and sit there nobly as I walked about the backyard. It also allowed me to stroke its breast with a bare finger.

In that quiet time for both of us, a couple of things finally occurred to me. One was what Mrs. Vineyard and parents everywhere mean when they say “be careful”: No matter how well prepared you think you are, the unexpected can happen, and, when it does, events quickly can snowball out of your control, no matter how smart, strong, or capable that you think you are. It’s not about a lack of trust; it’s about concern for a loved one going out into an unpredictable world. And if an angry hawk thrashing around in the back seat doesn’t qualify as evidence that the unexpected happens, I don’t know what does.

The second was that the bird was meant to be free, and, the longer I kept it prisoner, the more difficult it would be for it to survive on its own.

Early on a Saturday morning, I carried the hawk out of the garage and set it on a picnic table. I untied the cord, stroked the bird’s breast, and, one final time, spoke softly to it.

The raptor walked to the far end of the table and then back again, as if it did not know that it could fly away. It stood in front of me and turned its head, as if waiting for me to say something more.

Finally, I picked it up with both hands and tossed it into the air. Awkward at first, the hawk finally gained its bearings and circled, before landing in the tree directly above the table. It hopped down several branches, until it was just a few feet away from me.

As the rising sun warmed the yard, we looked at one another, and I fought back the tears. They embarrassed me, as did my behavior. I had rescued a wild animal and then imprisoned it.

But now I had set it free. So, what was it waiting for? Why didn’t it fly away?

Finally, I knew why. “Goodbye,” I said, and, as if on cue, the bird spread its wings and flapped skyward.

“Be careful,” I added, as it circled twice and was gone.

From Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up With Nature.


YETI Drops NRA Foundation

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I suspect that YETI will regret this decision. It has just alienated a huge number of outdoorsmen and women who use its products. In the name of political correctness, it bowed to a vocal minority of gun control advocates.

From the NRA:

 For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  

These Foundation events raise money to support youth programs and educational programs nationwide. The youth of America who benefit from these programs are the future hunters, hikers, fishermen/women, bikers, campers, wildlife photographers, mountain climbers, sportsmen/women and conservationists who will protect our natural resources and recreational lands. 

Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why.  They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation.  That certainly isn't sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed.  They have declined to continue helping America's young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.  These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy 
outdoor recreational and educational programs.

The NRA Foundation is 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization.

In this day and age, information is power.  We thought you needed this information. 

 *     *     *     *

Following the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, these companies also have cut ties with the NRA:  First National Bank of Omaha, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, National Rental Car, Starkey Hearing Technologies, MetLife, TrueCar and SimpliSafe.