Yesterday's Indianapolis Star had an article on three teenagers from the Evansville area who were driving around and shooting deer from their car. The teens weren't hunting - they were "poaching." While they've admitted to shooting and killing over 30 deer, they didn't keep any of them; they let them die and rot wherever the noble animals fell. They killed for the blood and violence.
This reminds me of why I think Indiana and the US need tighter gun laws. You have to be 18 to vote or buy cigarettes. You have to be 21 to buy alcohol. And yet, any under-age kid can get a hunting license if they've taken a "hunter education" course. My entire 6th grade class in middle school had to take the course and it was a complete waste of time. I will never go hunting - yet I was forced to take the class. Wouldn't the time have been better spent showing me the dangers of smoking or drinking? I think more people will drink liquor than will hunker down in a blind during duck season. Perhaps a little more focus on civic duties to prepare for voting instead of preparing me to be able to kill an innocent animal?
Not that these kids had a license for this atrocity. But taking away their access to guns until they are 21 would have definitely ended this before it started. While you have to be 18+ to get a permit to carry a handgun in Indiana, no permit is required at all for rifles. My partner's father is a gun nut who gave him a rifle before he was in his teens.
Today, hunting, which was a crucial part of survival 100,000 years ago, is nothing more than a violent form of recreation that is unnecessary for the subsistence of the vast majority of hunters. Hunting has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world. Although less than 5 percent of the U.S. population hunts, it is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests and state parks, and other public lands. Forty percent of hunters kill animals on public land, which means that every year, on the half-billion acres of public land in the U.S., millions of animals who â€œbelongâ€ to the more than 95 percent of Americans who do not hunt are slaughtered and maimed by hunters, and by some estimates, poachers (like these kids) kill just as many illegally.
Perhaps it is time for Indiana to revisit its views on hunting specifically and guns in general.
Three juveniles face 123 misdemeanor charges in the illegal shooting of at least 30 deer in southern Indiana's Warrick County over the past year.
State conservation officers, acting on complaints of shots being fired at night, set up patrols along county roads and saw two teenagers shooting at deer from a car in the county east of Evansville. A third juvenile was later found to be involved, Conservation Officer Gordon Woods said.
Authorities believe 30 to 50 deer were shot in the head and neck, then left to die.