Saturday, August 1, 2009

LONG post of my views of hunting!!

FarmerGeek's last post on hunting inspired me to write one of my own on the same subject, as I have a lot to say on the subject.

I have hunted my entire life. I started out by following dad around as long as I could without getting bored, then later recived my first .22 rifle and 20 guage shotgun, and I never stopped. We hunted for sport, we hunted just because thats what guys did then, but mostly we hunted out of necessity. Many days hunting were for the sole reason of putting something on the table during the winter when dad was usually layed off, and as I said in a post long ago, I remember a few Thanksgiving mornings when we set off hoping for a pheasant for dinner because we couldn't afford a turkey.

Hunting in engrained in my brain. It is something we ALL always did in the fall and winter; nearly everyone around us did. Hunting was a sport, and hunting was a necessity, plain and simple. My television/sport hero's were Kurt Gowdy, Fred Bair, Bill Dance, and Jerry McKinnis, (the last 2 guys did fishing shows). There was no big golf star, there was no big bicycling star, there was no big swimmer; there were guys like dad and me that loved the outdoors and showed us their adventures and good times. Watching someone hunt pheasants on the western plains or catch 9 pound bass in the south was dream fodder for dad and I. We watched in awe, and learned something from nearly every episode.

Today, hunting is frowned upon by many people in this country. We have the animal rights people, we have the tree huggers, and we have the plain old anti-hunters. I have dealt with many of them over the years, and their logic still makes me shake my head and at times, laugh. I'll give you a few examples:

The HUGE local state park has had a deer population problem for years. I believe the last stats I saw showed 22 deer per square mile. Deer were starving, deer were being hit by vehicles, and deer were eating peoples flowers and gardens. After years of court battles and suits by the anti's, the state got the ok to thin the herd with sharpshooters. ALL shots were to be head shots, guaranteeing an instant kill. They would then have a second person run to the deer and tie a bag over the head, strictly to control blood that some hiker may find. Now......with that being said, here comes the logic of an anti. When this was happening a few years ago, one of the anti's got an interview on the local news. She told the reporter that men were chasing down these poor deer, tying a bag over their head, and suffocating them. Think about that one folks, think hard. Do YOU know anyone that can chase down a whitetail deer and catch it? Ummm yea, thought so. Anti logic-rediculoud, Anti common sense-not a drop.

Example 2: My ex-wife never understood why I hunted. Her login was that I didn't HAVE to now, I could just go buy what I wanted. We were arguing one day while I was on the porch cleaning geese, and this is how it went, pretty much word for word:
Her-But you shoot bambi, thumper, rocky the squirrel, etc etc ect
Me-Umm you know those are cartoon characters, right?
Her-I don't know why you want to shoot a deer when you can just go buy beef from the store
Me-What's the difference? I kill a deer and someone else kills the cow?
Her-Because cows are different DO know that at one time, cows roamed the fields just like deer and buffalo?
Me-Yea (insert ex-moron name here), Adam and Eve were in the garden and god dropped down a cow....."MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO eat me!"

Now believe it or not, that answer of "nu-uh" was from a college educated resperitory therapist. I have to admit, that answer was one of the many times I questioned my choice in a bride at the time, lol. Educated? yes. Common sense? No more than a tree stump.

Example 3-Cliff Notes version-A group of guys at a Coon Dog Trial in Pa get a visit from people claiming to be from a large dog food company, and hand out bowls full with big smiles on their faces. Unknown to the hunters, these were animal rights people, and the food they handed out was laced with ground glass. Evidently DOGS don't count as much as raccoon's do, cause, well you know, they were evil hunting dogs that wouldn't eat their tofu and wheat germ dog food from the natural market......bastard dogs anyway.

Example 4-When I was at the gun shop, we got a letter from an angry anti, whining about us being listed under "sporting goods" in the phone book,and that hunting was NOT a sport. She said hunting was state approved murder. being me....hehehe. Silly anti was simple enough to have a return address on the envelope. She promptly recieved 4 pieces of deer jerky with an apology letter. hehehe I can't imagine why we never heard back from her. She's probably still crying over that one.

These kinds of people don't understand, they never will. The majority of them have never been in the woods, other than a paved bicycle path in a park. They've never gone without a meal. They can't get anything through their heads besides seeing cartoon characters like my ex wife. As I said in response to FarmerGeek's post, what if it was reversed? What if we went to the store and bought deer, rabbit, squirrel, and pheasant while cows, pigs, and chickens roamed the woods? Would we get the same reactions from these people?

This part may annoy some people who are actually hunters, but it's something I want to say. I *DESPISE* trophy hunters. If you happen to be out and spot a nice 14 point buck, then fine. If you happen to be out and bag a record weight turkey, then fine. But some people plant food plots, set up feeders, set out salt licks and the like, just to get the deer to grow bigger antlers. I don't agree with this at all. A buck who grows large with a giant rack is a beauty of nature. One fed all these things by these guys is no different than a giant hybrid squash. By their logic, we have a record sized beagle from sneaking him table scraps. Hunt nature guys, don't mess with it, don't push it, don't mold it into something. Don't hunt for something to hang on the wall and claim bragging rights over. Hunt for the food, hunt for the enjoyment, and if you get lucky and get that record buck, then wonderful.

My last bit in this post will refer to the guy I used to work for. He saved for years and went on an African Safari. For the mere price of TWENTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, he flew to Africa to shoot a cape buffalo, a gazelle, and a zebra. In my eyes, he killed nothing more than a bull, a goat, and a pony, plain and simple. I know, I know, a cape buffalo is a big mean s.o.b. that will hunt you down and kill you....heard it a hundred times. But why????? None of these animals were edible. He killed them strictly to hang on the wall and talk about how he used his dad's old rifle on them. Take the price of the trip itself, add in the cost of clothing, ammunition, the bazillion vaccinations he had to get, the airfare, food, lost work, gear, and it easily comes to close to $30,000. I for one can't wrap my simple brain around that figure. Imagine what one could do with $30k. This is the same guy who paid to hunt some rare type of angora goat from far across the sea.........right here in Ohio. Yep. Ran outta the cage about 50 yards, BANG! That's not hunting, thats shooting fish in a barrel. Oh wait, did I mention he got a price break on it because they knew it couldn't survive an Ohio winter outdoors???? Of course, it hangs on the wall next to the 3 I mentioned before.

These guys aren't me at all. I don't hunt for the wall, I don't hunt for the bragging rights. I hunt because I enjoy it. I hunt for the table and the freezer. Other than varmints in the garden or something I feel may harm the chickens, I eat EVERYTHING I shoot. Deer, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, duck, goose....all regular meals to me my entire life. They always will be.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! (do I sould like that monster truck show announcer guy? huh? huh?)

First I'll talk a bit about yesterday, then continue on to the monster truck rally story. (ok so it's just garden stuff)

A friend of mine got married yesterday. We attended the wedding with doubts of the weather holding off, (it was an outdoor wedding), which it least till everyone in the wedding party got under shelter of the gazebo by the lake. The rest of us? Not so lucky. It wasn't a heavy rain, but was enough of a steady shower to pretty much soak everyone else. As soon as the newlyweds walked down the stairs after the ceremony, Lisa and I high-tailed it to the car, where we sat until everyone left. (we didn't want to be the first at the reception) The reception was also outdoors, in the backyard of the grooms mother. Things were wet when we got there, but the rain stayed away other than a few random drizzles, so all went well. Luckily they set up several canopies with the tables underneath. The food was good, the music-well......typical wedding reception music, lol. Yanno.....a little disco, a little 80's, a few 60's tunes, and of course, with the groom being a HUGE fan and collector-Star Wars themes. All in all it was a good time, and we got home around 7:00 after the couple left for their honeymoon in an amish bed & breakfast. Congratulations Mike & Chris!

This morning I slept in late yet again, but after 2 big 'ole cups of motivational coffee, I headed outside. The rabbits and chickens got fed, and I went to look about the garden. A few days of rain has done wonders, and I saw that we had green beans to pick, FINALLY. I started and got about halfway down the one double row when Lisa came out to help. We ended up with two 5 gallon buckets full, which ended up being 27 pounds. As I sit here typing, they're in quart jars in the pressure canner. We also got the first 4 green peppers, 3 1/2 pounds of hungarian hot peppers, and 5 more turnips, bringing the turnip total to 3 pounds so far. There will be more beans to pick later this week, as well as more peppers. We also pulled a few potato's to put in the pantry, so they're about ready too. I can't wait to see what the yield will be off of two 45 foot rows.

Last week I had the new herb bed staked out and marked with string, and today I started digging it out. My initial plan was to shovel the sod into the soil sifter I made several years ago from 2x4's and 1/2 square fencing, but that was just too much to do by myself. Shovel, sift, pile, shovel out.....nope, that didn't last long. Instead I just dug up the sod and used it to fill in the old gravel areas around the outdoor stove and fire pit. Right now it looks pretty awful, but after a rain or two, and several passes with the lawn roller (loboy rear tires) it should lay out pretty flat. I managed to get one whole side done, and the top square of the second side before I called it quits for the day. Thanks to a bad back injury at work several years ago, my back aches like mad with constant shoveling, and tells me when to quit.....and I listen! Otherwise I'd be on the couch for 2 days with ice and a bowl full of ibuprophen like m&m's. It talked, I heard, I stopped. There is no real hurry on this project anyway since most of it won't be planted till next spring, but I wanted it out of the way. I think I'll go introduce myself to the people 4 doors away that have horses and see if they have any aged manure they want rid of, and spread it on the new bed to sit till spring. I've never met them before, though I have been meaning to. This might be a good opportunity to make new friends....and freinds with animals and farm equiptment wouldn't be a bad thing to have.
Before I started the new bed, I took another walk across the old orchard to check on the grapes and berries. I managed to get a handfull of red raspberries to munch on, though the grapes aren't ready yet. I stood there looking at all of these berry plants that no one uses, and started thinking I should transplant some over at the house. I talked to Lisa about it, and she agree's that red raspberries would be a good edition to the ever growing produce around here. I stood in the front yard a few times this afternoon, trying to decide on an area to put them, and of course I still haven't made up my mind. I can put them pretty much anywhere since raspberries aren't all that picky. Though they do prefer full sun, they can also do well in partial sun. Decisions, decisions, decisions.....hmmmmm.
Both of us love doing all these things here. Tearing up worthless grass and planting something edible. In the 10 years here, we have planted more and more each year, almost running out of backyard and now moving to the front with fruits. This work and this choice of a yard isn't for everyone, and that has come up in conversation. Lisa first brought it up, it was something I never really thought about. What if, when years down the road, the time comes for us to take over my uncles place and have to sell this one? What if none of the buyers want or appreciate a yard full of fruit? What if they tear it all out and replant the grass? Lisa said it would break her heart, and I have to agree with her on this one. For us, it would be the eqivelant of watching someone tear down the house that we have loved for all these years. It would be like watching your favorite old car go into the crushing machine. Though it will mean opening a whole new chapter in our lives with an 8x larger canvas to make our mark on, it means leaving this one behind. I gotta say, that is going to be really hard.

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