ASK UNCLE JOE – Spring 2019

Dear Uncle Joe:

I recently read that it’s not uncommon for hunters to abandon their old hunting dogs at the end of the season if they are no longer able to breed or hunt as well as they did. My co-worker  says this is untrue and that hunters love their dogs because they are their hunting partners. So does this really happen?


Fresno, CA


Dear Marjorie,

Especially in North and South Carolina, hunters abandoning their dogs is a significant problem. The dogs are often picked up in rural areas each winter and spring, and they nearly always fit the profile of “deer dogs” such as walker hounds, beagles, and other hunting breeds. I pulled up some statistics from the Charleston (SC) Animal Society to illustrate this point. From January 2017 through February 2018, the Charleston Animal Society took in 290 hounds. Only 47 of them were strays who were returned to their owners, and the remaining 243 dogs were dumps who were left behind.  How do shelter workers know these are abandoned hunting dogs? Splayed feet show the dog was likely kept in a kennel with unstable flooring – something that is common among slob hunters. Facial scars and ripped ears indicate years of running through brush in pursuit of deer or other animals. Brightly colored collars with name plates torn off show that they were likely used for hunting. 

The lucky dogs are the ones who end up in the shelters. Those who do not are sometimes found shot, hit by cars, or dead from starvation or disease.  It’s also not uncommon for hunters to shoot hunting dogs who they believe are interfering with their hunt. Making matters worse is that dumping hunting dogs in South Carolina is not against the law. State statute (Section 47-1-70) exempts “identifiable” hunting dogs from the state’s abandonment cruelty law.

A lot of work needs to be done to protect dogs from hunters. Hopefully the state legislatures can stand up to the special interests and get it done.


Uncle Joe


Dear Uncle Joe;

Here in Florida we have a lot of snakes. They never bothered me until my fiancée started warning me that they are venomous and aggressive. The snakes in our yard never seemed dangerous to me but now I’m having second thoughts. How do I know what kind of snakes are here and if they are dangerous or not?


Pensacola, FL


Hi Maggie,

I have some very good news for you – there are pretty much no snakes anywhere that are aggressive to the point where they will attack if not provoked or threatened, so the best thing to do when you see a snake is to just leave her alone and let her do her job of doing whatever she needs to do.  According to the University of Florida, of the 50+ species of snakes in the state, only six of them are venomous. Just leave them alone, *never* try to handle them, and you have pretty much nothing to fear.  Does your fiancée hunt, by any chance? I’m guessing that he does because hunters are notorious for exaggerating the threat wildlife poses to humans – it is part of the way that they get the public to support their violent hobby. If they can make you afraid of wildlife you’ll have less of an objection when they kill them.

But getting back to snakes, if you’re not sure what species a particular snake is, check out this handy online guide that will walk you through the steps of identifying the different types of snakes.

So please remember, the best thing to do when you find a snake is to leave her alone. Florida’s snakes are not aggressive, and unless they are cornered, most will flee when they see you.

If there are snakes around your house they are most likely eating mice and rats, and some will eat venomous snakes.


Uncle Joe







Dear Uncle Joe,

I don’t know why I bother reading your facebook page. You don’t understand the first thing about conservation. Let me explain it to you – the money generated by hunters protects land from development and gives wildlife places to live. Without hunting wildlife habitat would be sold to the highest bidder and turned into housing developments and strip malls. Is that what you want? Yes, hunters take wildlife in a controlled manner, but that wildlife wouldn’t be around at all if it weren’t for us. Harvesting the individual protects the species.


Aurora, CO


Dear Lance,

Pretty much the only thing that we don’t condemn hunters for is that they do indeed contribute to the protection of wildlife habitat.  Don’t fall down, but we’re going to give credit to groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited for purchasing land and putting it off-limits to development. Without livable habitat wildlife cannot survive.

*But* here’s the thing – protecting habitat does not come from altruism, because hunters are doing it only to have animals to kill for many years to come, be they land animals or sea animals. You won’t see these “conservation” organizations purchasing land and putting it off-limits to hunters.

Your last line said a lot – “Harvesting the individual protects the species.” You see, hunters don’t understand that the individual is important. They don’t give any respect to the fear and suffering of the individual. To the hunter, individuals are worth only the money they paid for their hunting tag.

I don’t know how we can make you people see that animals’ lives matter, but we’re going to keep trying. These animals love their lives as you and I love ours, and they don’t want to be killed. If you could one day understand that, you’ll stop hunting.


Uncle Joe



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Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561