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Thread: Sympathy Shot

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    Member fish2live's Avatar
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    Default Sympathy Shot

    A thread got me thinking. I was reading about various injuries animals have received. Ignoring the legalities, do you think its morally right to shoot an animal with a severe wound that is obviously suffering? I know that it is likely that nature will take its course but just for discussion purposes what would you do if you saw a deer/ caribou with a front leg dangling by the skin and a little bit of meat struggling along? Assume that you cannot harvest it legally. Would you shoot?

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Absolutely not,, For one I have witnessed way too many wounded animals survive when I was sure they would not and in the end we all die and return to the earth from which we came. That is cycle of life, people may say that the meat was wasted, I say not so. Every carcass I have ever found was used to nourish, some other form of life,, be it man, beast, bird or insect.

    Pain is temporary and if the will to live is strong enough, very few injuries can not be overcame. If nothing else the same thread you referenced bears witness to that fact.

    I know you said legal issues not withstanding,, but I for one would not want to try to justify such a MERCY killing to a judge.

    I defer to God and nature to work these things out. The is the rule of the jungle,, the strong survive and the weak do not.

    Steve
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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Absolutely not,, For one I have witnessed way too many wounded animals survive when I was sure they would not and in the end we all die and return to the earth from which we came. That is cycle of life, people may say that the meat was wasted, I say not so. Every carcass I have ever found was used to nourish, some other form of life,, be it man, beast, bird or insect.

    Pain is temporary and if the will to live is strong enough, very few injuries can not be overcame. If nothing else the same thread you referenced bears witness to that fact.

    I know you said legal issues not withstanding,, but I for one would not want to try to justify such a MERCY killing to a judge.

    I defer to God and nature to work these things out. The is the rule of the jungle,, the strong survive and the weak do not.

    Steve

    Well said Steve!

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    Depends… If it is a man made wound or a natural and depends on the severity of the wound. A moose lying along the side of the highway with a broke back that was hit by a truck and is still alive is not the “law of the jungle”. That’s not a “temporary” wound. A deer with it’s lower jaw shot off is not the “law of the Jungle” or “nature” and the pain is temporary!....after they die from starving a month later!

    I’ve made three “mercy” killings in my live time! All from man made wounds!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    If I saw a MORTALLY wounded animal and I could take it legally I would not hesitate to do so, even though the meat would not be of the best quality.

    I would not however make the transition from hunter to poacher to do so if I could not legally kill and possess the animal.

    Lets say you do MERCY kill it, what then???? Leave it lay? I could just see that situation getting one into some deep legal troubles.

    Alaska law is quite clear,,no gray area. It is a Trooper's call on weather to dispatch the animal or not, any action on an individuals part could end up with that person being charged with poaching.
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    I've slit the throat on a suffering moose before. It was laying in the middle of the road, bawling and unable to move. The truck that hit it sped off. A cab pulled by and called the troopers, I inquired as to if I should dispatch the moose and remove it from the roadway and the police requested that I do so. Leaving it there was a traffic hazard.

    I did ask if I should gut the moose to ensure the quality of the meat for the salvage crew. They instructed me not to do so as a trooper might pass by and think I was trying to salvage it myself.

    With a naturally occuring wound, if I were to come across an animal that had one I didn't have the ability to legally take it, then his fate will continue on without my involvement.

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    Steve...I agree. I don’t recommend breaking the law to dispatch an animal, I only one I shot in Alaska was a fork-horn deer with his jaw shot off and starving…. I walked right up to him 10 feet always from him, that’s how sick he was, shot him in the head, tagged him and took him home, was hunting season too!...case your wondering the meat wasn’t that good!....grin

    Other two were white-tailed deer, both hit by cars lying alive in the ditch!.....the local warden ok both dispatchings!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I agree with Stid 100% on animals that I come across while away from the road.

    Vehicle struck animals I handle on a case by case basis.

    I am very adverse to applying human emotions and pain levels to wild animals.

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    This personal experience still bugs me today. I was out deer hunting and heard this strange bawling sound I'd never heard before. It wasn't a bear cub or anything like that. So I decided to investigate. Turned out to be this big old male (?) porcupine with a quill buried deep into his eyeball. He didn't look to happy. Dug the camera out to take some photos. I figured this was probably the result of trying to mate. As I was getting ready to leave I thought about putting him out of his misery with my .30-30 carbine. I was still hunting, so I wasn't really keen on making that kind of noise. Knowing how porky quills work, I figured the quill would work it's way further into the skull. Ending up not shooting him. Make me sick to my stomach the rest of the day. Kept thinking about the day when I'm sitting there in pain and misery ready to die and folks won't (mostly because they legally can't) put me out of my misery. It got kind of emotional.


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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The heart may say yes but the head says no and no it is. There are thousand people that need it done each day but it too don't happen.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    My father had passed earlier in the year of my "incident." In his final year at the nursing home, he was in quite a bit of pain and misery. I had a hard time going to visit him for this reason and actually avoided it to some degree. So I'm sure a lot of my emotional feelings about the Porky were related to this.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    obviously suffering...what does that mean? does that mean if it where you you'd be suffering? or does it mean it LOOKS like the animal is suffering? like some have said, i've seen some awesome recoveries...

    and i'm not sure i'd want to be put down just cause i look like i'm suffering....
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    I firmly believe there is a time when a decision by the book and decision by the heart should be made. If I hit a moose, and the poor sucker has a broken leg, back, internal injuries, etc, I'm going to finish him. You don't have to like it but I'll be ****ed if I'm going to wait for Mr. Plastic badge to get out there and do it.

    I do think I would've let Porky go though... it would've been hard, but really he'd probably lose vision in that eye and that's it, unless infection set in or that quill drove in deeper.

    Just my thoughts.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I shot a Nelchina herd bou in the mid 90's that had clearly been gut shot. Seemed like the right thing to do, the bullet had punched through the front of both hind quarters and the bowel. We were hoping that the original shooter would show up and I would have gladly given it to them. Who knows how far it had run but it was frothy at the mouth and the meat was less than stellar table fare. I don't think I would do it again now as an adult where I am financing the hunt myself and know how bad the meat is.

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    Member fish2live's Avatar
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    I dont think there is a right or wrong answer but this is a great discussion. I personally lean toward ending suffering that was human inflicted. I feel a deep respect to the animals I hunt. If a human inflicted injury is there then I feel I should act to end that suffering. If there is a legal way to do it then do it legally otherwise let your choice be guided by the individual.

  16. #16

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    In the hypothetical case you suggested -- if legality weren't an issue and if one leg were hanging by a thread -- I'd shoot the caribou. That's a definite fatal injury, but one has to be careful because many other injuries that look fatal can be overcome. In practice, that sort of mercy killing isn't legal, so I would just let nature sort it out without interfering.
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Many years ago I stopped alongside a rural gravel road where a small stream ran alongside and then under it. I was just goofing around and happened to look down and see a pile of dark fur about halfway down the embankment. I investigated further and identified it as a german shepard dog - maybe had been hit by a car, maybe someone shot it and left it, who knows. Anyway after a minute I realized this very emaciated dog was breathing - it had one eye open and was glazed over - could not raise its head in the slightest and maggots were eating on a large open festered wound. It was a very pathetic scene for sure. I drove about 1/4 mile to the nearest house and knew the resident - asked if it was his dog or any neighbors - he said no. I told him I was going back to put it out of its misery as it was very clearly not going to recover - I did, and would, do it again under the same circumstances.
    Almost all of us hunt and kill for sport - sure we use the meat, but very few of us need to do it to survive for sure. Mercy killing to me is more justfiable then sport killing - but I think there are not very many situations that would qualify. Seeing a deer run by with 3 legs that I could shoot and tag - OK - without a tag, no, as Steve said many will recover.
    I also hit a button buck once with my truck breaking its back - all I had with me was a hammer and a blow to the head put it out of its misery as well. I loaded it up - drove to the nearest police station and told them what I had done - they said excellent and they did not want to fill out any paperwork.
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish2live View Post
    A thread got me thinking. I was reading about various injuries animals have received. Ignoring the legalities, do you think its morally right to shoot an animal with a severe wound that is obviously suffering? I know that it is likely that nature will take its course but just for discussion purposes what would you do if you saw a deer/ caribou with a front leg dangling by the skin and a little bit of meat struggling along? Assume that you cannot harvest it legally. Would you shoot?
    Yes ... if its my pet.

    No if its one of natures pets (or a neighbor's pet).

  19. #19
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Seeing that photo of the Porky brought to mind a incident that happened to me while turkey hunting. As a friend and I were building a ground blind I noticed a baby owl on the ground. I looked up and saw the nest just out of reach from the ground. I thought to myself "ah that poor thing, a coyote will get it for sure on the ground". It had a few feathers but was mostly still covered in fuzz, could not have been much more than 10 inches tall, about half the size of a chicken.

    I thought that I would simply pick it up and step up into the tree and put it back into it's nest. Well,, as I reached for it, it fell over onto it's back and latched onto my hand with it's talons. I was stunned!!! The shear strength of that tiny owl could not be believed. It sunk it's opposing talons on both feet into my right hand with pressure that was shocking. It was as if a steel bear trap had slammed shut on my hand.

    At first my friend was besides himself with laughter, until the baby owl's ear piercing screams brought Mama owl into the mix. So. now me and the baby owl are both rolling around on the ground and pissed off Mama is dive bombing my friend and I. It appeared for a minute that he would have to shoot her to prevent her from attacking,, as a matter of fact, I was screaming as loud as the baby for him to do just that. There was no way in heck,, that I wanted her to grab me as hard as the baby was squeezing my hand and with it's razor sharp talons now sunk deep into my bleeding hand.

    Thank the Lord that she finally broke off the attack and settled into a near by tree still screeching. It took every bit of strength that both of us could muster to finally free my hand from that fledgling owl. Making sure to stay clear of those razors, my friend placed it back into the nest and we both abandoned the blind to the owl family, they were all screeching so loud that any turkeys were sure to have vacated the area.

    That was a life lesson,, I now leave wildlife alone.

    As I looked at the porky photo,, my first instinct would have been to try to pull that quill out. Much like the fable about a mouse who removes the thorn from the lion's paw.... But I'm afraid instead, I would have ended up with a bunch of his quills in my hide for payment of said good deed.

    Humans are emotional animals sometimes,, and those emotions very often get us into more trouble than we bargained for.

    The old saying,,No good deed goes unpunished,, has never been more true. It took over a week for my hand to stop hurting from the crush I received trying to just help out the poor baby owl.

    Steve
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  20. #20
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Ethics and the law are not synonymous.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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