October 25, 2002

Good Will Hunting

The piece that aired on the radio this morning was a reflection on why hunters hunt, what they go to the woods for, and what they carry away. I will post it, in its longer form (I had to cut it by a third to fit the broadcast time available) in Fragments on Monday.

If any of you wonder, after hearing or reading the essay, if I am a vegetarian or gun-shunner: No. I have several guns, seldom used, gathering dust in a closet. I have used them to dispatch a number of rabbits who slipped under the electric fence into the garden this Spring, when the green beans were ankle high. I have hunted squirrel in the past, not here on this land, ostensibly to eat, and find them to consist mostly of bones and gravy. Rabbits I like, but they seem to disappear when the garden is gone by and only show up in the warm weather when they are prone to have parasites and not as palatable.

I have no objection to deer hunting, especially in Floyd County, given the fact that (according to my auto insurance rep) we have the highest auto insurance rates of any county in the Commonwealth due to the large number of deer-related accidents. Ann and I talked with a lady today who is growing gourds and pumpkins to sell from their home on 221. She said that deer (after learning that they could first stomp the fruits and break them open, then eat) ruined 3/4's of their crop this year. There are stories like that all over the county. Deer were in our yard last night eating our Hostas, not 20 feet from the house. Hunters, take your limit. However:

I do hope hunters will not drink while hunting. That is just plain irresponsible. I hope they will not kill any 'deer' this year that have udders underneath or rabies tags hanging from their necks, or any named Bill or Jack, who moved in the brush and triggered an undisciplined reflex to kill. And I would like to think that hunters will respect other folk's property by honoring posted signs, asking permission to hunt, and packing out all the bottles, cans and paper trash they carry to the hunt with them this year. It surprises me that hunters seem to be among the worst visitors to the backroads to leave litter; not to mention the deer visceral and body parts in the creek and along the road. I'm sure that is the small minority of hunters, who overall, know more about being aware of respectful of the woods and fields than their sequestered urban non-hunting counterparts.

Our land is posted for our safety and peace of mind. We allow hunting to a few friends and neighbors. If we can learn how to can meat with the pressure canner we use for vegetables, I may decide to get a deer this year for the meat. I trust that by way of Fragments, you realize that I enjoy being in the woods without hunting. Many of the hunters might, as well. And that is what the radio essay is all about.

Posted by fred1st at October 25, 2002 09:34 AM

Congratulations on your radio debut. I hope they credited you. You can definitely call yourself a writer and photographer even if you're not paid. In fact, your effort is more sincere that way, right?

My cousin, a hunter in Missouri, seems to agree with you that a hunter can just enjoy being in the woods. He's let deer pass right by him because he is waiting for the right one, not a doe or a young male. He says it's partly about just being out there.

Posted by: Fran at October 25, 2002 01:54 PM

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