Is knife hunting the fairest way to hunt?

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Josh Clark: Hi, and welcome to the Podcast. I'm Josh Clark; a staff writer here at And with me is my fellow staff writer Charles W. Bryant. How are you, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: I'm here, Josh. I'm feeling good. I'm glad to be here with you.

Josh Clark: I'm glad you're here; too, Chuck and I don't know if you know this or not but as a special treat, we are trying something new here on Stuff You Should Know.

Chuck Bryant: What's that?

Josh Clark: We're actually running a language module, recorded language module, sublimely for our listeners so you out there in podcast land can just kick back, relax and prepare to learn Russian without lifting a finger while Chuck and I talk about the topic of knife hunting. Do you know anything about that?

Chuck Bryant: Nyet.

Josh Clark: Nyet. No, good, see, it's working already. Well, let me tell you about knife hunting, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Arguably, it's the fairest way to hunt and this is based on an article that I wrote, "Is knife-hunting the fairest way to hunt?" Which is pretty subjective and I was a little worried about, you know, me bringing my own opinions into it because I don't hunt.

Chuck Bryant: True, but that's kind of an open and shut case, if you ask me.

Josh Clark: Well, maybe so and luckily though, there is a principle out there among hunters and wildlife managers; it's called the Principle of Fair Chase.

Chuck Bryant: Right, that there needs to be a balance between the hunter and the pray.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I mean, like, you can go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars. You got your ATV; you got your really super duper camo; you've got your incredible scope.

Chuck Bryant: Right, you're up like 30 feet in a deer stand.

Josh Clark: Exactly, there's laundry detergent that removes any odor whatsoever from you, you can put [inaudible] around, there's feeding - there's all sorts of things you can do to an unsuspecting animal to raise your advantage to where it's not even a sport any longer. It's just blood sport or target practice with live animals. Now, the principle of fair chase, as you were saying, it's basically trying to strike a balance -

Chuck Bryant: Between the deer, or whatever you're hunting I guess.

Josh Clark: It doesn't matter what you're hunting, you know, so, yeah, it applies across the board.

Chuck Bryant: Right and you can't give a deer a gun so -

Josh Clark: No, you can't and, frankly, I think that'd be a really bad idea after all we've done to them with our cars and with the hunters, right.

Chuck Bryant: Right, don't give them cars or guns and we'll be fine.

Josh Clark: Right. So, what fairer way to hunt is there is than with knife?

Chuck Bryant: Right, I think that would be the only fair way to hunt, that or bare hands.

Josh Clark: Yeah, obviously bare hands - going toe-to-toe with a bear, dude, actually, you're at a disadvantage, you know, there's no - fair chase should be balanced in your favor at that point, and frankly, I mean, probably all you're wearing is a loincloth so everything is going to hurt extra bad.

Chuck Bryant: Right, a soiled loincloth at that.

Josh Clark: Oh, definitely. So, do you know much about knife-hunting?

Chuck Bryant: Not personally from experience, but I know you and I were talking about this a lot when you wrote the article. One thing I did want to talk about first though is this thing you found about internet hunting, which thankfully, was shut down soon after it started but -

Josh Clark: Yeah, this is like the opposite spectrum of fair chase.

Chuck Bryant: Complete opposite. This guy in Texas launched a website where you could hunt remotely from your computer and it was literally attached to a gun. You had a camera and you could look out on the wild range and see something, pan over to it with your mouse, click it and the gun would fire and lawmakers shut that down thankfully.

Josh Clark: Yeah, which is - frankly, applaud that.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, me, too.

Josh Clark: Apparently, it wasn't just animal rights people. Hunters as well, like, sportsmen's groups were like this has to go away. This can't be good.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, which is good to know?

Josh Clark: Yeah, so we've got internet hunting banned. I don't think you're going to see any bands on knife-hunting based on questions of fairness.

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: And it's mostly used for wild boar.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, which is kind - I mean, I'm not hunter but I think that'd be kind of cool personally.

Josh Clark: Yeah, well, I mean, they're about - they get up to 750 pounds, six feet long. There was one that went around on the internet and I actually went onto Snopes and it was verified. There was one that was - I think 11 feet long -

Chuck Bryant: Right, what was the name of that one?

Josh Clark: They called it like Jurassic Pork or something like that and so I was, like, obviously this is a fake. I went onto Snopes and they're, like, no, we verified it. It was part of an AP article.

Chuck Bryant: And was that killed with a knife?

Josh Clark: It wasn't. It was shot with a pistol -

Chuck Bryant: With a cannon.

Josh Clark: - and it turns out that it had been a family pet that was sold to this hunting preserve, like, two days before the guy shot it.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, that's kind of sad.

Josh Clark: Yeah, so we've got knife-hunting and basically what it is is you send dogs out to go run after some hogs who hide in the brush and they are startled. They're generally tranquil and they're not aggressive towards humans but if you startle them, they will run and when they start running, you want to kind of get in between them and wherever they thing they're going and when they get close enough, you actually push this 700-pound boar to the ground and stab it.

Chuck Bryant: And stab it to death.

Josh Clark: And it still results in the death of an animal but if we're talking about whether or not knife-hunting is fair, then arguably, it's a lot fairer than being up in that tree somewhere.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I would say if you have the fortitude to leap from a bush on top of a 700-pound pig and stab it to death then I'm not going to get in your way.

Josh Clark: Right and there was this one hunt who actually - it happened in 1976 with this guy in Florida - who not only knife-hunted, he used throwing knives.

Chuck Bryant: That was crazy.

Josh Clark: Yeah, it was crazy. I'll have to forward you the link. It's pretty interesting. And while I'm forward to Chuck, you guys should go read, "Is knife-hunting the fairest way to hunt," on

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