History books tell of settlers combing the woods for animals to hunt in order to have food along with the additional benefit of fur and hides for survival. Today there is another story being written about man and animals, and unlike the ones from the early days of our country, this one instead makes my blood run cold.
“Shooting ranches” buy their own animals such as elk and other large wonderful creatures, then fence them in, and allow rich men who pay thousands of dollars the chance to shoot them for a trophy on a wall.
At a time our home was trying to save the life of a duckling this week comes this story that makes me want to hurl.
On Nov. 2, North Dakota voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would do away with these ranches. What’s surprising is that the battle over Ballot Measure 2 doesn’t pit hunters against their natural adversaries, animal-rights activists, who have long opposed the ultimate blood sport. Rather, the debate is dividing hunters themselves.
In short, one side of the debate is from those who think a hunt should involve a skilled sportsman tracking free-ranging wildlife that have every opportunity to evade the pursuer. On the other side are those like hunter David Regal, rich white men with far more money than common sense, morals, or ethics. What type of people shoot animals that are fenced in? With the motto of this shooting ranch being “We guarantee success or the hunt is free!” means that fairness to the animals is not a consideration.
After hours of scouting the bone-colored badlands at Cedar Ridge Elk Ranch here, hunter David Regal took aim and fired twice from his .300 Winchester Magnum rifle. One shot killed a bull elk that weighed 700 pounds, wore a 12-point set of antlers, and cost the shooter $8,500.
“I like to get the best there is,” says Mr. Regal, 72 years old, who owns an excavating business in Michigan. He drove 1,100 miles here with his brother in a motor home, towing his black Hummer behind.
Cedar Ridge is one of North Dakota’s dozen or so private hunting ranches, enclosed by high fences and stocked with farm-raised elk and deer. Here, well-to-do hunters like Mr. Regal pay for a guaranteed shot at some of the most majestic prey in the West.
Come this November the voters will decide if these fenced in shooting ranges on animals should be ended.
About 40 bull elk roam the 2,000 acres of sagebrush and cedar groves enclosed by eight-foot-tall wire fences at Cedar Ridge Elk Ranch in the southwestern corner of North Dakota.
Lets hope come November 2nd, the owner of these shooting ranches have to make money without the blood of fenced animals dripping off of it.