March 21, 2023

Misplaced Comments

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North Dakota is another state in the middle of a debate about hunting on ranches – the so-called negatively dubbed “high-fence” hunting. The high-fence hunting issue is complex and delves into the moral fiber of everyone. The unfortunate part of this debate is that nearly all with a passionate opinion knows very little about what they are opining about.

But this is not the reason for this article. The reason for it is in chastisement of those who decide to make uncalled for comments that add nothing of value to an honest debate. In North Dakota a survey was recently conducted, sponsored by several wildlife organizations, asking citizens of North Dakota what they thought about high-fence hunting. If you are interested in the results of the survey, you can read an article about it here in The Bismark Tribune.

I have little interest in the survey because I know little about it. All surveys contain leading and biased questions and I’m sure this one is no different. One of the wildlife groups that sponsored the survey is the North Dakota Wildlife Federation, a group actively seeking to put an end to hunting on game ranches.

The executive director of the NDWF, Shawn McKenna, admitted in the article that the focus of the survey was only on the aspect of hunting ethics.

There was talk about including a question on the loss of livelihood, but “we were focusing on the ethics,” explained McKenna.

It is irresponsible and clearly shows the biased agenda when a group would work to remove some or all of a person’s livelihood without seriously taking that into consideration. I can only guess what the results of the survey would have been if citizens were asked to consider that. These groups intend to use the results of their ethics survey to convince legislators to pass a bill to ban the hunting.

In all this debate and a presentation to the media about their survey, Mr. McKenna makes a comment that can only be taken as an indication that he has no interest or compassion for those who make a living selling hunts on their ranches including all who directly and indirectly benefit from the industry.

“We do understand livelihoods are at stake, but they outlawed prostitution, people lost their livelihoods as well.”

This is an ignorant and juvenile comment, showing absolutely no respect for the business owners and those with differing opinions. Surely McKenna doesn’t liken prostitution to ranch hunting. There is a clear difference between hunting ethics and the moral values surrounding prostitution.

Comments like these serve no purpose for either side. Mr. McKenna has done more to help those who would support ranch-style hunting by presenting himself, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation and all other groups and individuals involved in this survey as uncaring, selfish, biased and with personal agendas to fulfill. The same comment incites others to make similar remarks, embellishes an already passionate debate into name calling distracting from facts, adds nothing factual and brings the height of the debate to a first grade level.

Nice work McKenna. As the saying goes, “Who needs enemies when you got friends like that.” The ranch owners should thank you for the help.

Tom Remington