ORIGINAL: Ben Sobieck
...hunters use venison as a means of bartering all the time, on par with selling it.
Venison is exchanged for land access (giving a land owner meat for the privilege of hunting the land), help with butchering,
to pay back for something or for a million other scenarios. Money is just an expression of time and labor used for bartering. So is venison. You put your time and labor into obtaining the venison, now you can use it to barter for anything. Except straight money.
You are right on all counts, Ben, but with all due respect these scenarios miss the point. Under the scenarios you have outlined ALL hunters are entitled to use venison in this way, not specially selected "Elite/Master Hunters." Suppose I'm one of the elite, and I make an agreement with a farmer to control the deer that are eating his corn and beans. Suppose also that part of that agreement is for exclusive in-season hunting privileges. Essentially, that gives me an enormous advantage over you, the regular guy. Not only am I taking deer that you might otherwise hunt, I'm also locking up land to make the remainder of the deer off-limits to you.
Anyone here like that idea? (................pause.................) I didn't think so.
ORIGINAL: Ben Sobieck
If this doesn't sit well with you, there are plenty of people already profiting from the harvest of game. Outdoors retailers, butchers, grocery stores (you've got to buy ingredients for that venison stew), outdoors manufacturers and so on. Everyone is profiting except the hunter, who winds up producing venison for the aforementioned entities for free.
Two points I would answer to that:
(1.) Suppose you take a beautiful photo of an autumn hillside and sell that photo to a magazine that promotes tourism in your area. The hillside is not your land, but you are making a profit on it. The magazine you sell it to makes a profit on the magazine sales. The advertisers in the magazine make a profit on the tourism it promotes. Everyone is profiting except the guy who owns the hillside.
(2.) You say, "Everyone is profiting except the hunter...." I don't think that's true for at least two reasons. First, the hunter is getting a profit in the enjoyment of hunting and taking the game. He may also, if he enjoys eating venison, profit by the fact that the venison offsets his grocery bill. Second, are any hunters complaining that they're legally prohibited from making money on the meat that they harvest? I haven't heard any.
Plenty of people are shouting out against the emphasis on big antlers as a mercenary venture, and if hunters are allowed to make meat a merchantable commodity, you'll hear those screams get much louder. It might be true that some (not "everyone") are making a profit in the industry, but hunters in general aren't asking to make a profit. Those who want to make money are finding endless ways to become entrepreneurs in the current system by inventing calls, treestands, scents, clothing... selling photography, conducting seminars... people are finding lots of ways to do it.
Historically, sportsmen have been the saviors of game populations because they advocated for the elimination of market hunting.
[ul][*]Not only have those game animal populations thrived because of sport hunting, but so have almost all other animals.
[*]Not only has sport hunting supported state and federal legislation that fosters healthy wildlife populations, it has also driven the development of conservation organizations that bring millions of dollars annually to the benefit of wildlife.
[*]Not only has the sport hunting created countless opportunities for the common man (the "everyday hunter") to enjoy a wholesome pastime, it has created a thriving industry that anyone can participate in. To say that only a few are making a profit from it is to twist the facts.
[/ul]Would sportsmen want to turn their backs on all that? I don't think so. I think a return to market hunting would kill sport hunting. The whole idea is being painted as a "win-win," but it will end up being a "lose-lose" because it will be a new way for government to sell a new kind of license. If the idea gains steam, that will be the reason. It will open up a whole new field to the idea, "If it moves, tax it." From there, the next step will be: "If it keeps moving, regulate it." Wildlife will be regulated more and more as it is found to benefit government more than the citizenry. Finally, "If it stops moving, subsidize it." It will end up being a cost to us all.