Violent traditions trump healthy behavior in Oklahoma high school crow hunting contest

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When you want to murder a crow, you shoot for the wings. And from all the online sites devoted to advancing the “sport,” it looks to be great fun.

The senior class of Sasakwa High in Oklahoma agrees, and is sponsoring a crow hunting tournament on March 1st.

What better way to raise money for more of this kind of education than by sponsoring a tournament where humans dressed in camo set up fake crows along the ground and make imitation crow calls to lure in one of the most intelligent animals we share this planet with only to blast it out of the air?

Maybe if my high school had been a little more forward-thinking and held these kinds of fundraisers I would have been cured of this bothersome compassion that compels me to suffer with those who look differently than I do.

When I first read about this crow hunting competition, I was already feeling down about the recent “Squirrel Slam” sponsored by the Holley Fire Station in New York where kids as young as 12 were encouraged to participate in the mass slaughter of the town’s wildlife whose crime is being one of the few wild animals able to coexist successfully with humans.

Other people who also felt that the indiscriminate violence being wrought upon these creatures was unacceptable braved taunting and the pain of having the bodies of the innocent victims being waved in their faces in order to show that not all those with power over the weak feel the need to wield that power without mercy.

Being a bully is fun. That’s what Sasakwa High in Oklahoma is teaching its students, our future society, by sponsoring these kinds of contests. And why not?

How on Earth could some people be Winners, if we didn’t create a class of Losers?

We pretend we’re evolved enough to teach our children this is not acceptable among humans, but we set our children lose on animals who cannot defend themselves against us and ensure that kids will get the message – we don’t really mean what we say.

Same goes for eating meat, although it’s more of a passive way to go about teaching kids to pretend to believe in things they have no motivation to put into practice.

When I first went looking for more information about this crow hunting contest, Google’s front page news headlined the story of the Islamic militants who killed at least 58 students in northern Nigeria after locking their dormitory and setting it on fire. Most were burned alive, but those who tried to escape had their throats slit or were gunned down.

ABC news quoted one teacher as saying that they “slaughtered them like sheep.”

I wondered, exactly how were the students “like sheep”? Did he compare them to sheep because humans kill so many sheep in brutal ways without batting an eye? Or did he mean they were slaughtered “like sheep” because you get the same reaction out of a sheep as a human when they are burned alive, or have their throats slit, or are shot?

I read the article because I was shocked and saddened by the headline, in the same hopeless way I was when I read about a high school in America sponsoring a contest of death, of violence and of killing.

Violence and killing. It becomes more socially acceptable the farther away you get from the image you have of yourself.

Again, our children are taught a double standard, that tolerance for diversity has its limits, and where that limit is varies from one period of time to the next.

Hunting competitions make a mockery out of Life, and glorify bullying. Crows mate for life, mourn their dead and never kill for fun and set up all the dead bodies to prove their ruthless disregard for life.
Crows mate for life, mourn their dead and never kill for fun and set up all the dead bodies to prove their ruthless disregard for life.

We like to think we teach our children that to dominate the weak, to get a high off of pain (the pain of others of course), blood, guts and death denotes some serious psychological issues. But all of these things are being enjoyed by the contestants of the crow killing contest.

In fact all of those things are the only reason hunters enjoy hunting. As many like to point out, vegans kill vegetables all the time to eat. So then, why don’t hunters hunt vegetables, if they are so much alike, animals and vegetables?

The answer is clear: Vegetables don’t scream, they don’t bleed. They don’t display terror and try to run away, to preserve their lives. It wouldn’t be any fun because they don’t do all of the things we are programmed to sympathize with.

We deprogram our youth and confuse them with all of these hypocrisies, a crow killing contest being a screaming example.

We wonder how such good people as us can nourish the kinds of psychopaths that can murder a group of school children, be it in America or Nigeria.

We raise our children on the belief that humans are superior to animals, yet are allowed to act worse than any animal ever considered acting. That we should tolerate others and their differences, but only to a point. And that point is determined by how different they are from us.

I’m sorry for the kids at Sasakwa High. The adults charged with improving this world by raising a generation better than themselves have failed them. They are being taught to enjoy killing, and watching the blood fly, again. They have doomed all of us to another generation of violence.

  • Tina Page

    Tina is a journalist and mother of three who's lived all her life in the South Bay of Los Angeles except for a two-year stint in the heart of Spain. She believes humans have the capacity to make this a beautiful world for all species to live, and mothers have a special charge to raise their children to enjoy, love and respect all creatures.

8 thoughts on “Violent traditions trump healthy behavior in Oklahoma high school crow hunting contest”

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful piece, Ms. Page. I share your sentiments: animal abuse meets child abuse.

    Your readers could make a difference. I would encourage them to contact the Sasakwa High School with their opposition to these massacres. Similar ones take place around the country, and they have to stop. Crows are not the only victims. Coyotes, prairie dogs, ground and tree squirrels, foxes, et al., are frequent targets. We are better than this…..aren’t we?

    6th & Drive
    Sasakwa, OK 74867
    INFO: Debra Thompson, tel. 405/941-3213

  2. And a P.S. – Last December there was a “coyote killing contest” in Elko, Nevada. The winning team came from California, winning a prize of $7,000. The 7th-place team came from New Mexico–one of the members was the president of the New Mexico Fish & Game Commission. Extra points were scored for shooting three-legged coyotes. (I’m not making this up–see GOOGLE.) A true “Crime Against Nature.”

    Can you spell “obscene”? Not only are these bloodbaths indiscriminate, unethical and counter-productive, they give ALL hunting a bad name. Shame on all concerned.

    Eric Mills, coordinator
    Oakland, CA

  3. Mark Twain got it right: Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that
    is not known to the higher animals.

  4. Proving once again, that … There is no other animal on this planet that does to his own kind and others that which the human animal does – maryalice-

    As a friend said and I agree -:- Crows are highly intelligent creatures, just one crow has more intelligence than all those people who organized this disgusting and barbaric crow hunting contest.

  5. REPLY RE Crow Hunt: This ‘event’ has nothing to do with the school or the school children

    Well these usually reliable sources can only respond to what is printed – and as I have not yet had a reply from the mail I sent off – I am copying the reply sent and received to someone else which was also forwarded to me.

    So to clarify the situation about the crow hunt – I am sending this out to my list for your information !

    Make note: This event has nothing to do with the school or the school children during school time.

    Thank you.

    —– Original Message —–
    To: 1976brent
    Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 6:26 PM
    Subject: Re: Teaching violence rather than compassion

    So sorry to hear that this is based on inaccurate information…I often wonder how stories get so distorted. Please accept my apologies, it is not my intention to spread false information. My letter was based on usually reliable sources who sent information to me from the UK.

    From: 1976brent
    Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 6:14 PM
    Subject: RE: Teaching violence rather than compassion

    In regards to the crow hunt:

    Everybody has been mislead and misinformed on the crow hunt. NO school children take part in the hunt. The event is not held at the school and not during school time and once again no students are involved with this event. It is a hunt for the community and surrounding areas. This is a large hunting community and it is a legal activity in the state of Oklahoma. I understand your concern for children and the welfare of animals. Although, I am an avid hunter and fishermen, I only harvest animals that my family and I will eat. I myself do not take part in the hunt. So please stop spreading false information that has been twisted via the internet and certain peoples agendas.

    thank you,
    Brent Griffin

    • Mary,

      I deeply admire your motivation to take action in the name of these innocent animals whose lives were reduced to nothing more than target practice for this contest.

      I’m not completely clear on what went down with emails being sent, what exactly was said or who responded to you.

      I wanted to respond here to you to make sure you are not discouraged by any incorrect statements you may feel you made in any email in protest of this “contest.”

      Whether this contest is being held on school grounds or during school hours or not wouldn’t have made a lick of difference to the crows who were murdered.

      I’m not sure how this guy who responded to you was so sure that “no schoolchildren” would take part in the event. I’d be more than surprised to find that none of the children enrolled at the high school carry a hunting

      This was the original advertisement for the event from The Oklahoman:


      The senior class of Sasakwa High is sponsoring a crow hunting
      tournament on March 1.

      Hunters may register for the tournament as individuals or three-person teams. The deadline to enter is Feb. 27 and cost is $20 per person.

      First place will pay 35 percent of the entry fees, and second place will be awarded 15 percent.

      For more information, call Debra Thompson at Sasakwa High School at 941-3213.

      There doesn’t seem to be a rule that no student is allowed to participate. And the fact remains that the competition is sponsored by the senior class at Sasakwa High and the contact person for more information is at Sasakwa High School, so I cannot understand how it has “nothing” to do with the school, unless the town’s newspaper has what the man in your email calls an “agenda.”

      And if this were the case, I would expect the high school to demand that the newspaper print a retraction and apology for mistakenly attributing such an atrocity to an innocent school.

      If you made an incorrect statement in an email about the event being held during school hours, or on school grounds, it seems a seriously minor aspect to the greater injustice being doled out on the innocent crows who are also part of the Sasakwa community.

      You were right voice your opposition to this killing contest, and the fact that the high school is sponsoring this event reflects the values that are being taught to the children by the community and by their parents.

      One need only to do a simple search on Youtube for videos of crow hunting to be gut-wrenchingly clear that what this community is encouraging is a nightmare for these creatures, and a sickness in our society.

      Thank you for your action Mary!


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