One man's philosophy is another man's bellylaugh.

Jeff L. Howe

Jeff L. Howe
Strasburg, Pennsylvania,
April 19
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Jeff Howe is a bonsai enthusiast and harmonica player who has very good reason to believe that the Universe tastes like a cheap buck-fifty melon. He is a product of Walled Lake and a former Poetry Slam Champion of Milwaukee. He once shook hands with Rocky Colavito, opened for Leon Redbone and took a piss next to Mose Allison (no hands were shaken). All things considered, his best single day was July 4th, 1987 when he marched in the Marmarth, North Dakota parade in the morning, discovered a rare dinosaur skull in the afternoon, and then sat in playing harmonica with a drunken cowboy band until way past tomorrow. It's been downhill ever since. Jeff is a misemployed geologist who specializes in interpreting rock outcrops at 70 miles per hour. It's a gift. His daughter loves cows. ................................................................................................................... FOR MORE STORIES, PHOTOS AND HARMONICA RECORDINGS VISIT:


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NOVEMBER 10, 2011 10:05AM

Hunting Season: Give The Animals Guns

Rate: 11 Flag

 Idiots DeLuxe

Autumn is the best time of the year.  The bugs are gone, the light is low, and the leaves are turning color and swirling in the wind. The heat and humidity have retreated south, replaced by fresh, cool air sweeping down from Canada and the Great Lakes.  The woods smell deeply of musty-wet and sound like crunchy-dry.  It’s the perfect time for hiking, exploring and enjoying the great outdoors.

Except for one thing. 

Everywhere, armies of Great Right Hunters clad in camouflage and orange, their faces painted like linebackers, will be stalking the woods with rifles, bows and arrows, sharpened knives and stern manly expressions.  They’ll be hiding in duck blinds, cowering in tree stands, coating themselves with deer urine and shooting to kill.  You get the impression that these guys honestly think they’re the reincarnation of Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, and Rambo.

Mostly Rambo.

Honestly, as we plow into the 21st Century, we just can’t have Rambo wanna-bes stalking the countryside with loaded guns, especially in semi-urban areas.  The world is not Wyoming where the Dick Cheneys of society can blow the faces off their friends for sport.  In far too many places you can’t fire a rifle in any direction without the distinct chance of hitting someone playing, walking or working in their yard, yet the hunters insist on prowling.  Very soon, as I take the dog down to the river for our daily walk, I’ll be able to count on seeing hunters – fresh camo suits, guns at the ready – stalking potential prey despite the fact that the area is clearly marked: “NO HUNTING”.   There will also be kids on bikes,  homeowners up on the hill working in their yards, and people out walking.

Hunting is outmoded, outdated, irrelevant and cruel.  It is selfish, unsafe and foolish.  It is a throw back.  It is an anachronism.  It is dangerous.

•     •     •

Now hunters (and huntresses), before you get your long-johns up your butt-crack in a bunch and spit out your buffalo wings, spare me the same tired arguments, excuses and explanations for why hunting is your unalienable right and duty.  We’ve heard them all before, over and over again and they're not convincing: 

1. The Second Amendment – Exactly how many Red Coats have you had breaking down your door lately?  Apparently battalions of white-tailed deer are marching from the coast, burning the farms and stealing the women.

2. You love nature. – Right… as in ripping through the woods in a 4WD to get a prime spot to kill things.

3. You’re bonding with your sons and daughters – Right again Pop… why not take them on a backpacking trip into the High Sierra instead?

4. You’re “thinning out the herd”  - Thank god the hunters are making it safe for the rest of us to speed unimpeded through the country-side without having to worry about pesky, inconvenient animals.


5. You’re putting meat on the table for your family  – Good god Rambo, by the time you spend $1000 on new equipment, $400 on gas, $200 on beer and whiskey, and eat steak every night in the local restaurant after a long day of hunting, PLUS fees for having the meat butchered and stored, it probably comes out to over $50 a pound. 

But the manly vibes: priceless.

•     •     •

So what can be done about these marauding throw-backs to the 18th Century?  How can we make it - if not safe - at least fair?  How can we preserve their rights as deer-hating Americans?

My proposal is simple.  Do one of two things:

1. Require that all hunters go into the woods stark naked and allow them to catch and kill their prey ONLY with their bare hands and teeth,


2. Give the animals guns.  Let THEM “thin out” the herd.

I prefer the former but can live with either.

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Mostly I agree with you. Good Lord, I can't stand to watch the VS channel--it's become all about taking shots from long distance to "take" a trophy.
I have hunted and hunted for years. Upland game birds only. And we always ate what we shot. Friends, often friends you only saw during hunting season. Walking the fields together. Enjoy fall. Hunting ruffed grouse and pheasant in the fields of North Dakota or Iowa. Even days when we "blanked" we days we enjoyed--outdoors, in the fall, with friends.
I taught my children to shoot a shotgun--safely and accurately.
And, I am passionate about gun-control. Having a pump action shotgun used only for hunting is one thing. Having an arsenal is quite another. There are now handicapped hunting seasons and even hunting season for the blind. The blind?
I worry about those for whom it is all about the "thrill of the kill". I don't know that I would want that guy for a neighbor.
Rated for a righteous rant, even though it would be blasphemy in this area of the country. My standpoint on hunting is this: if you eat what you kill, I don't have much problem with it. I know that is incongruous with my general respect and love of animals, but I also know that there were a couple of years when venison was pretty much the only protein our family could afford . . .
Jeff: It is no secret I hate guns. To read an email from a teacher friend of mine in AR say she has a day off Monday.. not for Veterans Day... not for anything logistical. Hell they dont even celebrate MLK day..

No its called "first day of hunting ' holiday ... but wait some people wont find out what it really is as its called.. "FALL DAY"

Being Canadian and our rules state no one is allowed to own a firearm for personal use (okay they allow them the weeks of hunting season)it makes me ill.
Hell we know the British aint coming back.

It's a righteous heritage misapplied in a present setting. Thankfully, hunters don't also have horns.
I guess you are in favor of farmer's poisoning deer like they do the other major predators on their crops.

Humans are natural hunters. It's in our genes. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, also hunt other mammals.
I love deer, and there must be a better way to control overpopulation. They are beautiful animals.
This morning, I dressed in my hunter's orange, and searched vainly for the dogs'. I kept them near. It's turkey season and the shotgun blasts are everywhere. You can' t use a rifle within certain town limits, but we're outside them now, and I hear rifle cracks in the distance.

They terrify me, the hunters. I know their reasons. I hear them all the time. I try to live and let live. But when I find the remains of their hunting, I want to scream. If you love nature, pick up your fucking shotgun pellets, your beer cans, your trash. Don't leave deer guts out so my dogs can roll in them. Don't tear down the brush with your ATVs because you're too fucking lazy to hike into the woods. And don't, whatever you do, shoot at my dogs.

I hate hunting season, and count the days now until Xmas, when turkey, deer and all the others, will be over for a while.
for me, it comes down to this: hunting is killing an animal because you like killing it. it's barbaric.

great essay, jeff.
Sometimes I think, " Well, I shouldn't really comment because I don't know anyone who hunts, and I know nothing about hunting culture." But then, I guess there's a reason for that, which is that the concept of it kind of repels me. (And, yes, I'm fully aware of the fact that I eat meat occasionally, and someone else has to kill it for me.)
Another good read and completely agree with you. Grocery stores exist for a reason.
My dad loved hunting in the woods--with a camera. He got some great shots. Words of wisdom, for sure, Jeff.
Dang. I was sure this'd piss off the Great Right Hunters. Oh well.
Great post, Jeff. But humans don't really need animals to thin out the herd. We have wars and Texas for that.