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.
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Hunting is outmoded, outdated, irrelevant and cruel.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.
AN MY PERSONAL, ALL-TIME FAVORITE:
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.