Handy Hints for Hunters

The days between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1 in this part of Texas are hell indeed—and not because of the usual onslaught of tourists who do their holiday shopping in our picturesque city. 

No, my friends, it’s deer hunting season. 

The third highest form of religion around here behind Jesus and football.

Needless to say, we are not hunters.  My husband and I like to think of ourselves more as biologists.  We like to preserve life, not shoot it.  Yes, I know, the deer in the Texas hill country practically outnumber the humans.  They need to be kept in check—the deer, not the humans.  (But that is a provocative thought).  Although….the maniacal drivers do a pretty good job of controlling the deer population, as evidenced by the roadkill we see every time we drive into town.

We dread hunting season for several reasons, not the least being that our local newspaper publishes photos of smiling hunters of all ages posing with their dead deer.  The heads of the animals are held up so all can see their cold, dead eyes.  (Didn’t anybody watch “Bambi” when they were a kid?)

But the main reason we hate hunting season is not so much about what the hunters take with them, than what they leave behind.

Trash.  Lots of it. 

Our country roads’ volume of litter goes up at least 100% when the hunters are here.  Cans, beer bottles, empty deer corn bags.  (For the uninitiated:  before deer season,  folks who have deer leases put feed out to lure the deer, who then become used to such a spread and hang around so the hunters riding up in their ATVs can shoot them like ducks in a barrel.  Ah, what sportsmen!) 

And, just today, I saw a large trash bag lying along the road with the carcass of a field dressed deer spilling out on the ground.  What a slob.

So here are some handy hints for the mighty hunters who flock to our area:

1.  I know y’all aren’t from around here, but when driving the back roads it’s customary to nod or lift your hand in a slight wave when approaching an oncoming vehicle.  A little politeness and neighborliness go a long way.  Don’t blast by with a scowl on your face.  We can see you’re driving a Hummer, but you don’t have to prove beyond all doubt that you are, in fact, an asshole.

2.  On a similar note, slow down!  You think it’s exhilarating to drive a one-lane, curving road in that SUV of yours, but there are other cars and sometimes people on that road.  Also, get the hell over to the side of the road when another car is coming your way.  We’ve nearly been run off the road by hunters who think it belongs to them.  It doesn’t—didn’t your mother teach you about sharing?

3.  Watch where you’re aiming that rifle.   We have had “hunters” who illegally hunted on a small, less than five acre parcel next to us.  I don’t care to be shot while doing the dishes in my kitchen.  Housework is bad enough without having to worry about stray gunfire.

4.  And about that trash of yours.  If this is the way you treat Mother Nature, I’d hate to see how you live at home.  Would it kill you to save that empty beer can, styrofoam cup or candy wrapper and put it in a trash receptacle later?  Monkeys at the zoo are more discerning about where they fling their poo than you are with your detritus.

I can’t wait for January 1st to arrive.  No longer will I be subjected to the spectacle of camouflage-covered beer bellies at the supermarket. 

Until it’s turkey season. 

I’ll be rooting for the turkeys—the feathered ones, that is.


Guns ‘n Moses

What is it, really, with the American obsession with gun ownership?  Or even guns in general.  I live in a rural area of Texas and I understand the whole hunting tradition thing that’s been a part of this state forever.  We even have a “take an orphan hunting” program (or something similar) in this county.  At church during hunting season they have a “hunter’s blessing” Sunday, where they devote much of the service to wishing godspeed to the hunters (but I suspect it’s also to wish good profits to those folks who own hunting leases, too.)  Hunting and the conventional rifles that are attendant to that pastime are ingrained in the fabric of the community.  Okay, I get that.  But….

The big “but” (other than my own) is this:  Why in hell does any American need an AK-47 or semi-automatic assault rifle?  One does not go deer hunting with that kind of weapon unless one wants to splatter deer carcass all over the landscape. 

No, that type of weapon was made for killing people….lots of people, quickly. 

Today in Arizona near where President Obama was appearing, “a man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault rifle) on a strap over his shoulder.”  This is the third such incident in the space of a week or so.

When asked why he was armed, he said “Because I can do it.” 

We have laws against women showing their nipples in public, but a man can prance around with loaded deadly weapons in close proximity to the President of the United States because “he can?” 

What is wrong with this picture?  What is wrong with this country?  The Christian majority supposedly worships the Prince of Peace, but don’t you dare take their assault rifles from them or there’ll be hell to pay. 

My son-in-law is currently in training at the police academy and will be graduating before too long.  He will be an excellent police officer because he’s smart and has great people skills.  Our town doesn’t have a big crime problem (yet) but I still fear for him because these weapons are out there and often are used against the very men and women who have devoted their lives to protecting us. 

People who scream about their Second Amendment rights are the same ones who make a big show of “supporting our troops,” and police officers.   If they really cared, they would “get” that these weapons weren’t foreseen by the Founding Fathers and how they would be used against our own people.

In that vein, here is an ATC I did several years ago (one of my first) that features my husband when he was a boy.  He knows and understands rifles, having learned from his rancher grandfather to have a healthy respect for what their purposes are and for what they can do if not handled properly. 

However, he is not gun obsessed and shares my view on assault weapons.