Wild Encounters

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Crow Hunt

In 2014, when the Utah Wildlife Board was considering instituting a crow hunt, I made related this true story as part of my testimony against the hunt.

In 2008, I was camping on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For breakfast, I was toasting some bread over a camp stove. While setting up my cooking gear, I noticed a crow in a nearby tree but thought nothing of it. While the bread was toasting, I turned away for a few seconds to retrieve something out of my car. When I turned back to tend the bread, the bread was gone and so was the crow I had seen a little earlier in the tree. After a moment of puzzlement, I realized that the crow must have swooped down when I wasn’t looking and took my toast!

Though I was annoyed at having lost my breakfast toast, I was not angry at the crow. Rather, I was amazed at how smart, quick, and cleaver the bird was to snatch the bread from me in the few seconds I wasn’t guarding it. I admired the crow’s intelligence and skills.

I told the Wildlife Board that crows, like other animals, play an important ecological role, and there is no good reason to institute a crow hunt. I explained that since I wasn’t angry at the crow and I did not want to kill the bird that took my toast, the Board, who had less reason to be hostile toward crows than I did, should not authorize the hunt.

As usual, the Wildlife Board ignored my point of view and voted to start the crow hunt. Science does not matter to the Wildlife Board. Ethics do not matter to the Wildlife Board. Public opinion does not matter to the Wildlife Board. The only thing that matters to the Wildlife Board is “expanding hunting opportunities” for the “good old boys” who are the only constituents the Board cares about.

This sorry state of affairs is the direct responsibility of the governor who appoints the members of Utah Wildlife Board. This unhappy situation will likely remain until a governor is elected who is not beholden to the hunting lobby.

Bob Brister

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