Sunday, October 17, 2010

Huntin' and Fishin'

Feeling threatened by the pacifists, vegetarians, and animal-rights types among us, hunters and anglers in several states are working to have a citizen's right to hunt and fish added to their state constitutions. A Reuters story posted at Yahoo! today says:

DALLAS/PHOENIX (Reuters) – Worried that their pastime may get waylaid by a growing animal welfare movement, U.S. hunters and anglers in some states are seeking constitutional safeguards.

When voters in Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee go to the polls to cast their ballots in the congressional elections on Nov 2, they will also be asked if they support making hunting and fishing constitutional rights.

"When you have something protected in your constitution, then it is very difficult to use the courts or other types of ballot activities to thwart, for example, hunting and fishing," said Steve Faris, a Democratic Arkansas state senator and the bill's lead sponsor there. "They start with cats and dogs and the next thing you know, someone says it's inhumane to shoot a deer. It's like buying an insurance policy," he told Reuters in a phone interview.

There's a lot to ponder in Faris's remarks, starting with why anybody in his right mind would want to shoot Fido or Fluffy for dinner. And I'm not sure why shooting a deer is like an insurance policy. I'll have to think about it. But actually, even though I'm mostly vegetarian, I don't think shooting deer is such a bad idea right now. The deer population in North America is way above what it's ever been, and in many suburban and exurban areas they've turned into regular pests. Plus they taste good.

However, the article notes that "deer season is starting in many states and millions of Americans (are taking) to the woods, firearms in hand," and that right there is the main reason you'll never see me out chasing mammals around with a rifle in hand. As the deer season gets into gear in the next couple of weeks, we know in advance there will be some human beings in the body count. It happens every year; because there are people out there shooting that have no business doing so, and the results are sometimes tragic, sometimes funny.

Like the guy who was walking up a hill on a two-lane roadway in Maine a few years back on opening day of deer season. He heard what he said later "sounded like a deer" coming up the other side of the hill beyond the crest. He lowered his fire stick, and when it crested he put a round right through the radiator of an old Ford pickup truck.

Fishing is a little safer and can be fun, but I have seriously seen people who were actually too drunk to fish, and I'm sure that leads to mishaps sometimes.

So all you guys that like your huntin' and fishin' go for it. I'm a little late this year, but I might even join you for salmon season next year.

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