Poor Cookie, she wants to go hunting in the worst way. Today she watched me carry my CVA muzzle loader to my Suburban and when she realized she wasn’t going to go she started to do the doggie cry. I’d love to take her grouse or pheasant hunting. The weather is perfect and I’ve seen a number of birds, but deer season is not the season to take a bird dog into the field—even with a blaze orange vest on the dog. Maybe I am over protective but Cookie is a much too important part of my life to risk endangering. We’ll still have ample time to hunt when deer season is closed.
As for my deer hunting—the warm weather and fields are still conspiring, although there were a few more harvested fields this afternoon. I watched some does but my license is for a buck.
The lack of opportunity of the past two weeks, coupled with the looming end of the rifle season, may be triggering (no pun) a little “end-of-day” anxiety among some hunters. I’d put my spotting scope (Alpen) away and pulled the bullet and powder from my rifle when I heard a shot from a treeline that was quite a distance from me. (Pulling is easier than cleaning my rifle if I "shot" it empty.) I didn’t think too much about it because, if my guess was right, the hunter was probably looking over a field where the sun was setting behind him and he had a good view, with lots of lingering autumn sunglow to see by. It was the other four shots that followed, all from other directions, that troubled me.
The truth is that modern optics are vastly superior to those of even a decade ago and the light transmitting capability of the modern lens is remarkable—but with these advances in equipment is it possible we’ve created a new set of problems for ourselves—hunters taking risks? I’m sure that each of us, no matter how ethical we try to be, at some point in our hunting career, stretched a barrel just a bit and sat for a few minutes longer than we should have. The hunter who is guided by hunting’s ethos will feel some kind of guilt. That’s human nature. But what happens when technology is itself a “wink” at both the law and the ethic? Hunting, above all other human activities, is the one where rarely is a person’s ethical behavior witnessed by another person. We are each alone with ourselves when hunting.
Or are we truly alone with ourselves?
The more I research the advertising, press releases and texts of our own media the closer I am moved to believing that the goal of some promotional media is to have greater influence over the hunter’s actions than the ethos of hunting. In short, are some attempting to redefine the ethos? How often is the image of a successful hunter becoming less part of the greater experience of the hunt and more the “reason” for hunting? (I deliberately chose “reason” over “justification” in the sentence.)
Hunting is, and must remain, an individual activity. Regardless of whether a hunter is in a pheasant line or tree stand overlooking a pasture the hunter remains alone. To shoot or not to shoot is the individual’s choice. The wonder of modern optics must not be based upon a misinterpretation of Ortega’s often quoted, “kill to have hunted” but be guided by Hemingway’s “duty of the hunter” to make a one shot kill.
Think about it. What do you think? glg
10 months ago