An often heard claim from anti-hunters and animal rights activists is that as many as 50% of all animals shot by bowhunters are unrecovered and die a "lingering, painful death" in the woods. Such statements are an incredibly pure example of the power of ignorance and deception. Anti-hunters have never been able to provide one credible shred of evidence to support such a preposterous claim, yet they continue to parade this ridiculous number in front of the media for pure shock value. Think about this for a moment…
According to verifiable harvest data, Pennsylvania archers harvested 65,100 whitetail deer in the 2003-2004 season. If we were to believe the claims of the anti-hunting crowd, an additional 32,550 deer were wounded and left to die in the woods. Where did this many dead deer hide? How could over 32,000 deer possibly die in the woods yet not be seen by hikers, birdwatchers, bikers, skiers, and all of the other participants in outdoor activities? The answer is easy - they weren't found because it didn't happen! This claim, like most of the others used by the anti-hunters, is nothing more than emotional hyperbole designed to play on your emotions.
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The anti’s are banking on you not doing your homework and simply accepting them at their word. Thankfully, you’re smarter than that. One thing anti-hunters have always been good at is deception, and this topic is no exception.
Think of it another way - WMA has been operating quietly and effectively in county parks since 1996, and along the way we've harvested nearly 4,200 deer. If you buy into the logic of the anti-hunters, we would have left some 2,100 deer to die a slow lingering death in the county parks. Again, where did they die? Were they all hidden from the parks users? Of course not; the answer is that once again another insulting claim made by the anti-hunting camp has been proven false.
Now let's be honest here - bowhunting is not an exact science, and animals are occasionally wounded and go unrecovered. Some do die from their wounds, and when they do they provide nourishment and sustenance to a multitude of other animals. Remember that in nature nothing goes to waste.
Thankfully, these occurrences are few and far between; in fact, more than a few bowhunters have had occasion to harvest a deer sporting a completely healed arrow wound from a previous season. Because modern broadheads are razor sharp, they create a clean, neat wound channel; if a poor shot is inadvertently made, the wound will bleed, flush out any hair or dirt, and in almost all cases heal nicely with no lasting effects other than a smarter animal.
Bowhunters never claimed that animals aren't occasionally wounded - but we DO claim that responsible bowhunters do everything in their power to minimize or eliminate wounded animals. This includes not shooting at alarmed animals, shooting only when animals are in the proper position (broadside or quartering away so the hunter has a clear shot at the animals chest), and NEVER shooting at a moving animal. As stated previously, all WMA hunters are required to successfully complete either a Pennsylvania Bowhunter Education Course or a National Bowhunter Education Course, which provides in-depth instruction on proper shot placement.
An all too common sight in many suburban areas
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