PigMan and Ted Nugent To Shoot Hogs From A Helicopter… On TV
August 3, 2012
OK, so everything in me is telling me, “Shut up! Just shut up now and let it be. Nothing I can say is going to change this, and I recognize that my opinion here may not be the most popular.”
But here goes…
I got my regular email from The Sportsman Channel on Friday, with the headline, “Sportsman Channel Features Pig Man and Ted Nugent on Epic Hunt!”
So I read on, as I do, and find the following description of the program:
Pig Man and Ted Nugent hook up in Texas for some helicopter hog hunting with Heli Hunter.
Shotguns as well as semi and fully automatic rifles come out of their cases as Pig Man and Uncle Ted attempt to “cleanse our good mother earth”.
Where do I start.
First of all, as I’ve said here several times over, I sincerely enjoy the Pig Man program. Brian Quaca and his team are a lot of fun to watch. They’re as real as it gets, and in several instances, he’s taken the time to explain the difference between eradicating a pest species like feral hogs and sport hunting for native game animals. The rules are different, because the desired outcome is different. This is the same reason I’ve been largely in favor of Texas’s laws permitting aerial gunning by amateur sportsmen. To paraphrase Jager Pro’s Rod Pinkston, “you don’t question the exterminator about his tactics for killing termites. You just want them all dead.”
That said, I recognize the reality that, for a lot of people, the distinction between hunting and pest eradication isn’t a clear line. Hogs are bigger than termites or cockroaches. They have fur, and big, dark eyes, and cute little babies that nurse from their mothers. Pigs are intelligent. God knows someone will go even further to anthropomorphize these animals. To kill them with methods that don’t ensure a quick, humane death seems… well… inhumane.
At the same time, you have legions of hunters who still don’t get it, proclaiming loudly that “that’s not hunting! That’s just slaughter! No ethical hunter would do that!”
Aerial shooting isn’t “fair chase”, and it’s not egalitarian (you have to be able to afford it if you want to participate), so it’s got a pile of detractors in the hunting community… regardless of the reality that it’s not supposed to be fair or egalitarian. And these days, especially with social media, chat forums, and “Facebook activism”, these voices can be really, really loud.
And what you end up with is a public relations nightmare for a sport that already suffers from a mediocre image in the eyes of the non-hunting populace.
Nevertheless, I can see an opportunity for an educational (and still fun) experience with Brian Quaca up in the air, killing a whole pile of hogs. It could be a good program, if it were just the Pig Man.
But two things worry me about what I read here (and I haven’t seen the episode… I don’t kn0w how it really plays out).
First is that they’ve teamed Quaca up with Ted Nugent, the Motor City Big Mouth. This guy is PR poison to folks who’d like to have a civil discussion about hunting, wildlife management, and other relevant topics. (Sorry Uncle Ted, I love your music, and I’m glad you’re pro-gun/pro-hunting, but dude… you alienate way too many people for no good reason! It’s counterproductive.) Nugent’s credibility as an “ethical hunter” has been shattered by his recent wildlife violations and subsequent behavior that shows no sign of contrition for those acts. He still draws a crowd, but he draws it for the wrong reasons. Whatever good Ted Nugent tries to do is going to be overshadowed, for many people (including a good number of hunters and gun advocates), by the wrongs he’s done so far.
The second thing is the use of fully-automatic weapons. Again, I get it. This is depredation. The gloves are off. By any means necessary. Hogs are a billion-dollar blight for farmers, and a hazard to wild ecosystems. Etc. Etc.
But this is also television. This is viewable not only by a small cadre of afficionados, but by the whole bloody world. This is also right in the wake of Aurora, Colorado… barely a month has passed. Does anyone else see the potential for negative spin here? The glorification of mass slaughter? The laughter and grins of these two guys, high-fiving as they rack up carcass after carcass… spray and pray and laugh like hell?
It all adds up to a nightmare for those of us who are working hard to help people understand hunting and firearms. We’re taking the time to address the fears, misunderstandings, and to counter the mythology that hunters are simply bloodthirsty killers. A sound argument can be made for the possession of ARs, and certainly for the eradication of non-native, invasive wildlife. But what good does it do if that argument is drowned out by the folks who will point their fingers at Quaca and Nugent as representatives of hunters and gun owners, and say, “look! Here’s what you hunters do. You just like to kill and shoot big guns. You like to watch living creatures die and laugh about it! You’re not fooling us, this isn’t about wildlife management. This isn’t about responsible gun ownership, or sporting use of assault rifles. It’s just about killing innocent animals!”
In the long run, this is probably just another small thing. But it adds to the litany of “wrongs” one could count against hunting television and video productions. What’s more, it’s avoidable and unnecessary. People will tune in to see Brian Quaca run his hounds through the mesquite, and they’ll keep watching as he and his crew sling arrows, crossbow bolts, and high-powered rifle bullets at hogs and other animals around the world. The show is popular, and there’s certainly a very loyal fan-base… for good reason. Why turn this into something else simply for the sake of driving up ratings?
It’s just my thoughts. What are yours?