Michael Pearce

February 25, 2012

Michael Pearce: Trying to comprehend a snowy owl being shot

I don’t understand why someone would kill a snowy owl. Somebody shot one about 10 days ago at Cheyenne Bottoms.

Michael Pearce

The Eagle's outdoor reporter highlights the latest hunting, fishing and wildlife news.

Not the fastest hound in the cerebral pack, there’s much I don’t understand.

How this Internet thingy really works seriously confuses me.

So does why folks from both political parties in D.C. can’t stop bickering and get things done.

I also don’t understand why someone would kill a snowy owl. Somebody shot one about 10 days ago at Cheyenne Bottoms.

What a way to end a winter when Kansans viewed about 140 of the unique birds That’s about twice as many as the next-best winter more than 35 years ago.

I can’t fathom what led somebody to do it.

I have nothing against animals dying. The chicken I had for lunch didn’t grow on a vine. We’ve dined heavily on the original “free-range” meat, earned the original way, for decades.

But why a snowy?

They’re probably not good to eat and pose no major threats to mankind.

Though scores have been killed on roads across the country this winter, they’re not a major hazard to drivers, like deer.

Nor do they damage crops or livestock.

Unlike many species, snowy owls are far from over-populated. In fact, many of the thousands that migrated as far south as Hawaii this winter won’t survive to make it back to the Arctic.

Of course, that doesn’t make it right to kill something that “might not make it anyway.”

As well as morally wrong, it’s illegal to purposefully kill one of the federally-protected birds — as in up to $15,000 and six months in jail worth of wrong.

So why do it? Was there some thrill in trying to do it without getting nabbed?

It’s not like the bird could have been mistaken for something else. Snow geese are about the only game bird in season, and confusing a snowy owl for a snowy goose is like confusing a red Harley for a red Buick.

I just can’t see that happening, but one thing I do see is that destructive, inexcusable behavior isn’t confined to someone poaching a snowy owl.

There are people who torture and kill dogs, an animal that’s main goal is to get along with us as their leaders.

Every time we hit the roads we risk becoming one of about 10,000 annual fatalities owed to those who decide to drive drunk in our nation.

And while so many couples long for a child there are so many that have them, don’t love them, and often abuse them.

But I guess as long as we have humans we’ll have aspects of human nature that cause terrible things most of us don’t understand.

Everything in the preceding few paragraphs will continue. Someday someone else will needlessly shoot a Kansas snowy owl.

I guess I understand that, but I don’t have to like it.

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