Saturday, February 16, 2013

Controvery stalks annual squirrel slam hunt

I dunno - some people obviously have nothing better to do with their time.

Every year for the past six years, the volunteer Fire Department of Holley, NY, population 1,802, have held a fundraiser as a means to buy new equipment. Nothing wrong with that, right? However - it's always the howevers' in life that cause problems - they're doing it by sponsoring a hunting competition known as a Squirrel Slam, to bring in the fattest squirrel. Really.

Let me state this for the record that I'm not a squirrel lover having planted a number of flower bulbs that fell victim to these cute rats with bushy tales (that's what they are!) voracious appetites. My philosophy in the end, though, is live-and-let-live and enjoy the flowers that do bloom. But I digress.

The word got out about the hunt via the cyber highway in addition to a social media campaign to stop the hunt. According to news reports, those against the hunt include wildlife rehabilitators, animal activists, a state senator(!), gun opponents and a New Age minister in Texas who heals wounded squirrels through Reiki massage. Squirrels receive free massage? In addition Facebook postings and petitions have elicited 3,000 e-mails per day and hundreds of phone calls urging Holley offcials to shelve the slam. The added incentive for hunters is a $200 prize for the person(s) who bring in the fattest squirrel.

Thinking further, one (me) wonders why squirrels? What was the criteria? This fundraiser or the method thereof, rates at the top of the "what were they thinking" columns, along with the Great Python Hunt of the Everglades.

Most questionable, IMHO, is a special prize to young participants aged 14 and under. Say what? Let's teach children how to use a gun as soon as they can hold one.

In any case and for whatever it's worth, the fundraiser is sold out. Boggles the mind.

So whad'ya think, reader? Should the hunt have been stopped? A photo of a live squirrel munching innocently on a nut:,0,5393261.story

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