Hunting season is upon us and Texas has kicked it up a notch. It seems that corn feeders and deer stands were giving those pesky deer far too much of an advantage. One never knows if you’ll be able to hit that 600 pound target with a high-powered rifle from 30 yards away. Besides, it might be cold outside.
Well fret no more. Technology and hunting have finally come together to allow you whack Bambi from the privacy of your barcalounger. A property owner in South-Texas has teamed up with avid technologists to design Live-Shot.com. The first online hunting site integrating real weapons, animals and ammunition with the modern FPS controls we have come to expect in some of the better shooting games.
The pitch: All individuals will be allowed to experience the finest hunting regardless of their physical ability from the comfort of home.
While Mr. Underwood still has a couple of legal hurdles to overcome, as Texas requires the hunter to actually be present at the time of the kill, he has launched the target shooting portion of the site and has hopes to begin hunting shortly. Hmm… What happens if a person wandering through the range area gets shot?
While Underwood is enthusiastic that the scheme would appeal to “disabled hunters unable to get out in the woods or distant hunters who cannot afford a trip to Texas”, the authorities are not so keen. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife director Mike Berger wants a change in state law to require hunters to be physically present at a kill. He notes that under current legislation Berger is prevented from allowing punters to pop a cap in native species such as deer and birds, but this does not extend to non-native deer and wild pigs. He’s worried that internet hunting could quickly get out of hand.
Underwood dismisses these concerns. He reckons that online hunting is the next logical step in the sport’s technological evolution: “First it was rocks and clubs, then we sharpened it and put it on a stick. Then there was the bow and arrow, black powder, smokeless powder and optics. Maybe this is the next technological step out there.”
Now, I’m not an anti-hunting advocate and have even been out a couple of times in my past, but this doesn’t constitute hunting in my book. Neither do feeders nor deer stands. I consider hunting to be a rich part of our heritage and also a verb requiring activity on the part of the hunter. When animals are being raised for the sole purpose of being hunted or hunted in canned environments, the fundamental element of hunting is removed and replaced by an entertainment based slaughterhouse.
Other advocates for the technology state that this will provide people with the opportunity to hunt without the remorse of the kill. Yeah, that’s a good idea. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad about intentionally killing something for sport. The biggest attractor is that sportsmen that have become disabled will be allowed the virtual thrill of the hunt. Somehow I don’t think these people are going to make up the large market.
Life in Texas is always on the cutting edge. The Church down the street is having another gun show this weekend. Pretty soon they can have a virtual Sunday School hunt. Virtual hunting costs are expected to range from $3000 – $8000 depending on the animal plus shipping and handling.