Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 24, 2013

Hunting in misery

I gave up hunting years ago. It wasn’t an issue of animal cruelty. It had a lot more to do with human cruelty.

With another hunting season now here, deer hunters will be out in force, stalking while wearing camo and spending hours shivering in tree stands. Whether successful or not, it’s the age-old game of man against nature and enjoying the great outdoors while pursuing a foe that evens the playing field with its keen senses and amazing endurance. More simply, hunting is being in the right place at the right time and trying to outfox the fox. For some, that is.

Many sportsmen and women live for the day when the season opens on the type of game they prefer. While some spend hours following a bunch of pot bellied, bawling beagles in search of rabbits, others use huge cannons on critters big enough to pull a circus wagon up Pike’s Peak. I used to spend hours following a pair of bird dogs through what seemed like impenetrable briar patches and other types of hostile terrain in all kinds of weather to little avail. Inevitably, the dogs would point birds, either right at the edge of a conservation officer’s yard or under a mass of jungle a mouse couldn’t crawl through. Needless to say, all that combined with my jerky shooting did little to reduce the bird population.

Many years ago the opportunity to bag something a little larger came when a buddy invited myself and a couple of others on a deer hunt at his uncle’s cabin. According to our host, the cabin was isolated and although still under construction, it would be the perfect place to spend the night, followed by a day of hunting in the surrounding woods. Loaded with provisions, we headed for this rustic chalet overlooking a river, and as we were led to believe, a deer behind every tree. To say it was isolated was a classic understatement. When any semblance of a road disappeared, I asked the miscreant who’s uncle owned the real estate if he had imported material for construction or had he built it from local mud and sticks.

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