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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Who Says Hunters Are A Heartless Bunch?

This being the height of hunting season, I thought I would throw out a couple items. Rather, memories and thoughts on - and of, hunting.

Back in the old days when I lived in Wyoming, hunting was big. WAAAYYYY big. What I mean by big is that opening day, school was closed. If it were to stay open, there would probably be only five kids out of the 30+ assigned students in attendance.
Businesses automatically knew their employees would be taking the day off. No problem, customers would all be in the hills too. No short-staffing at all going on.

You non-hunters don't understand, I know. "Why would the big, bad hunter want to go out with his big bad gun and shoot wittow Bambi, the poor defenseless animal with the big beautiful eyes? Do you have a big gun, and a small penis? Is that it? Does it make you feel big and bad and full of testosterone? Huh, big man? And why would you want to teach your children to kill poor, defenseless animals?"

Yeah, fuck off. I've heard it all before.

Most Wyoming-ites hunted not just for pleasure or trophies though. We enjoyed the meat. That is some prime shit there.
Let me form an analogy. Let's say you're a vegan. Bwah! Like a vegan would have read this far. Okay, let's say you have a garden. Yeah. That's more like it.
Let's say you have a garden and grow your own veggies. You have a sense of pride that you can raise many of the same vegetables the stores sell for a premium. They're good, they're fresh, they're something you provided yourself.
To me, that's how hunting is. The game is good, it's fresh, it's something I provided for myself. I feel very much the same about fishing too. Fresh fish cooked in the pan that day is manna from heaven.

So back to hunting.

Of course, the thrill of the persuit should go without mentioning. It is - or was, quite a challenge to find game where I lived. Not that there wasn't any, it's just that they had plenty of cover. Forget about sitting in a tree stand and waiting for one to walk by. These animals had thousands of acres with which to wander. They may or may not take the same trail twice in the same week, month or even season.
Unlike those silly hunt clubs, where you pay a lot of money to 'bond' with other hunters (Go to the club, eat, drink, brag) then park your ass and your flask on a chair and wait for the game being raised on the fenced acreage to walk by, you had to hike through the trees, climb the side of the hill, then when you bagged your game, carry the sum-bitch back to your vehicle.
It was a challenge, it was a growing up experience, it was a part of life.

Then I moved to Utah. I still hunted, but not with nearly as much enthusiasm. Dunno, just didn't get into it as much. But I didn't look forward to it nearly as much. Oh, I still went, but it just wasn't quite as big as when I was in Wyoming.

I preferred to play more. I bought a snowmobile. I loved to go riding up in the mountains. Forget all that stomping around in the wilderness, I was motorized.
Well, one day we're out riding, and a fawn sees me coming down the trail. The thing probably weighed less than a hundred pounds. It was a tiny little creature.
Anyway, as it sees me approaching it gets startled and jumps across the road a hundred yards or so in front of me. When it tries to clear the gully on the side of the road, it gets buried up to it's chest in snow. It's front legs were tucked under his chest, unmovable, and his hind legs were to short to touch the ground under all the snow, so there was. Stuck and vulnerable.
Well, I figgered I would give it a boost. I pulled up short and jumped off my sled to help the critter out of his fix. I grabbed his hips and pulled him backwards to get his front legs freed, and his hind legs back on somewhat solid ground. He kicked a couple times and bolted up the side of the hill. He was scared to death, baah-ing loudly as he paused every 50 yards or so to make sure he wasn't being followed, and hoping mother would come find him.

I enjoyed helping Bambi out of his predicament as much as I had enjoyed hunting them in the past.

Weird, huh?

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