Saturday, February 14, 2015

This isn't "Hunting." It's "Ambushing"

Where I grew up, boys hunted.  It's just something we started doing when we reached a certain age.  When Freshman year in high school rolled around, you took a hunting safety course sponsored by the NRA, you went to the range to take your test, and you got your hunting license.  Not some boys.  All boys.  A lot of girls, too.

And when deer season came around, we went to the pancake breakfasts at 5 AM, headed out into the woods before the sun rose, shivered, peered into the icy fog, and walked.  We walked quietly, trying not to make too much noise on the frosty leaves and grass, but we walked.

Some hunters used tree stands.  I never liked them- first, I always thought it was too cold to sit perched up in a tree, twenty feet or more above the ground, for hour after hour.  Second, I could never equate just waiting around for a deer to pick the wrong clearing to wander into with "hunting." Hunting had to mean walking, or it wasn't hunting.  Not to me.

In all the years I engaged in this annual ritual, I never once fired a gun at an actual deer.  Not because I got cold feet or was succumbed to a nagging concience; I just never saw a deer while hunting.  Neither did anyone I ever hunted with.  Maybe it was me.   When I was fifteen, I shot a huge raccoon out of a tree (my best friend's father, a brilliant taxidermist, turned it into a rug for me.)  That was the only animal I ever managed to kill while hunting.

Now, to this commercial- what these people are doing with their fake hay bale makes me rethink the whole tree stand issue.  Hey, "hunters"- this isn't freaking Vietnam.  If a deer sees you before you see it, it's going to run away, not kill you.  If you bag your deer by hiding inside one of these things, you arent' a hunter- at best, you are a trapper.  I put you one very small step above the scumbags who put out salt licks to bait their prey.  If you are in the market for a little house you can set up in the woods and sit in until a large animal comes close enough, do real hunters a favor and just stay on your couch and drink beer in front of the tv.  Because you are giving them* a bad name.

*I haven't hunted in 30 years, not because I have any moral objection to it, but because it's not an especially safe or popular activity here in suburbia.

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