By now you may have heard that Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin supports a practice called "aerial wolf gunning," a phrase that rolls off the tongue as smoothly as say, "subterranean eel stabbing," or "mechanical geese strangulation." You know what the words "aerial," "wolf" and "gunning" mean separately, but what do they mean together?
Do people in Alaska really shoot wolves from planes?
Yes, but only with the government's permission. Aerial shooting yields better results than traditional hunting, since it allows the hunter to cover a lot of ground quickly and track target animals from a clear vantage point. Historically, hunters also used planes to drive animals–polar bears in Alaska and elk in Montana, among others–toward gunmen waiting on the ground. But many hunters found the practice unsportsmanlike, since it violates the "fair chase" ethic, and animal rights activists call it inhumane, since airborne gunmen rarely get a clean (i.e., relatively painless) kill.
So a guy with a gun boards a plane and then uses the plane to chase wolves across the Alaskan wilderness so he can shoot them from above? What's unsportsmanlike about that? Besides, you know, everything. Tracking and chasing a wolf using your own two legs is one thing. After all, wolves have legs. But until wolves develop their own aviation technology (fingers crossed!), using a plane to run after and kill them just isn't fair. Aerial wolf gunners probably moon the wolves from the plane right before they shoot them, just to add another layer of ridiculously poor sportsmanship.
If you hate nature that much why not just change it to "aerial animal kingdom bombing" and just be done with the whole thing. Then you and your aerial animal kingdom bomber friends can land the plane in the center of the giant crater you just blasted into the Alaskan tundra, kneel down on the blackened snow in your immaculate (and utterly pointless) camouflage pants, and have your picture taken with some of the scattered pieces of wolf carcass you just totally bomb-hunted.
Apparently, Alaska only allows "aerial wolf gunning" in places where moose or caribou are endangered, and having fewer wolves around could help the moose and caribou populations increase. Still, chasing wolves in a plane until they get tired and then shooting them is just so far below even the pretense of sport. Having hunting season in a zoo would almost be more fair.