So, I have to rant once in a while. Who doesn’t, right? For me, it’s usually about animal issues…sometimes having to do with idiotic news stories and the like. But mostly animal issues. I would apologize but I’m not necessarily sorry — ranting can be cathartic and if I bring up a subject that helps enlighten even one person, so much the better. Don’t worry though. I try not to get on my soap box too often….I’m afraid of heights.
Well, for a little while now it’s been hunting season on the Eastern Shore so that means I have the great pleasure of waking up not to my somewhat annoying alarm, but to multiple gunshots as near-sighted hunters try valiantly to shoot geese as they streak across the sky.
You have to just see these guys (and gals) and the lengths they go to – it’s amazing. Let’s see, they put out decoys, use scent markers, mating calls and even food to draw out the animals and then, using a high-powered gun, simply pepper the sky with shot while trying to snag a goose. It’s all very impressive and superior. I seriously doubt that these hunters put this much effort into any other aspect of their life. Although with a level of “cheating” of this magnitude, it may be better if they don’t.
Now, most of the hunters I know claim that they kill because it puts food on the table. Quite a noble feat. But if that’s the case, then why do so many of them feel the need to mount the heads of their kills on the walls of their den? I know nothing whets my appetite more than seeing a glass-eyed deer head staring out vacantly over the big screen t.v.
And when you’re talking “big game” hunting, just who exactly grills up coyote, elephant, lion or giraffe anyway? Sorry if I have a hard time believing the excuses hunters come up with when it’s probably more truthful to say they simply enjoy killing. Their moral compasses aren’t exactly pointing due north if you get what I’m saying.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but not once have I mentioned the word “sport” in this post and there’s a good reason for that. Hunting is not a sport. Now if a person were to go out with nothing but their bare hands and come back home with a lion in tow, I admit that I would be duly impressed. But there’s nothing impressive about someone laying out bait, setting up decoys, hiding behind a tree (or in the case of big game hunts, being led right up to the target by a guide), and shooting an absolutely oblivious animal with a high-powered gun.
As if the environment changes things somehow. I mean, think about it. If you were sitting in your living room, dressed in drab clothing that looks like your couch, drinking beer for hours in silence, and waiting for a mouse to come out from behind the bookshelf, and wander onto a cheese-laced mousetrap…well, you’d be a loser. But do it outside and substitute a wolf or a hippo or a deer for the mouse. Well, now you’re a hunter!
And some hunters will go to the most asinine extremes just to kill something….anything. Take prairie dog hunting. Yes, this is a “thing.” All prairie dog hunters do is hunker down in a lawn chair, oftentimes setting off a charge underground that scares the prairie dogs up and out of their warm and cozy homes, and then shoot them in the head when they pop up. It’s like some perverted Whack-A-Mole game. The funny part is that the difficulty level looks just about the same.
Then there’s the charming Brady Bunch clan that’s been seen around the internet posing and smiling over the body of an elephant they killed while it was eating. How impressive, right? It must take great skill to kill a herbivore during its lunch break. And the children especially look pleased with themselves.
Teaching a child to kill anything is not something to be proud of in my opinion. If these same kids go home and kill the neighbor’s cat, you better believe they’ll get a completely different reaction from society. So what makes one acceptable and the other not? Therein lays the irony of hunting. During these specific months and at this specific place and with this specific animal, you’re good to go. But take that exact same mentality someplace else, kill a stray cat or a dog on the street for instance, and you’re an unhinged monster. I guess I just don’t understand how hunters rationalize the difference when there really isn’t one.