UPDATED ON: May 1st, 2015
Craigslist – the website that connect local buyers, sellers, and traders – is not only incredibly useful, but also wildly entertaining. I’ve used their classified ads to sell Christmas presents that I didn’t care for (Sorry, Mom!), to buy items that I’ve been searching for, and to trade things that I never knew anyone would actually care to have. I’ve sold trucks, bought treestands, and even scooped-up some free dirt via this website. Bowhunters can find all sorts of deals in their local classifieds – from arrows, to ground blinds, to hunting properties – it’s all there, including monster bucks. Yes, my friends, you can now buy your next trophy buck on Craigslist.
Would you pay to “hunt” this buck? Is this even hunting at all?
Mike Summers, owner of Summers Deer Farm, has begun utilizing Craigslist to sell the right to hunt trophy deer on his property. One deer in particular, which the Summers have nicknamed “Tarzan”, has been posted for sale on the online classifieds website.
Mike Summers told WDAY TV that, “Last year, he [Tarzan] had 30 scorable points. He scored 241 inches at 3 years old. Now, he is 4 and we are not going to use him as a breeding buck, so we are getting rid of him this year.” For $9,400 you can buy the rights to “hunt” (quotations added) Tarzan on Summers’ 25-acre farm. The farm, which breeds and raises whitetail deer, is also used to provide hunting opportunities to children and hunters with disabilities.
Mike’s wife, Joy, says that, “For us, it is like any other farm; like having a cow or pig, except we could sit and look at our animals all day long. Our does and fawns are like pets.” I can’t imagine selling the rights to kill my “pets”, nor can I imagine paying over nine-thousand dollars to shoot a fenced deer. But, it’s within the Summers’ legal rights to proceed with the sale and harvest. Their farm, which is regulated by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, cannot facilitate the sale of the live buck to a “regular Joe” off the street, but it can sell the rights to harvest the deer.
It’s legal, but is it ethical?
Of course I, as a hunter, don’t consider the act of shooting an animal to be immoral. Nor do I think that the basic premise of killing an animal outside of “fair chase” principles – such as harvesting a farm-raised animal for meat – is immoral. However, I cannot stomach the presumption that doing so is “hunting”. Whether money exchanges hands, or not – shooting an animal in a small enclosure cannot, and should not, be considered hunting.
Summers will find someone to pay the money to kill this deer; I have little doubt about that. But to this buyer, I would simply say – please, don’t say that you “hunted” this animal, and don’t think for a second that the trophy mount on your wall makes you a hunter.