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COLUMN: Carcass dumpers giving hunters a bad name

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By BEN CARLSON

There is a remarkable difference between those who hunt and those who are hunters.

Hunters are those who respect the tradition, follow the rules and harvest animals the right way and for the right reasons.

Those who hunt are, at their worst, morons who swill beer or smoke dope (or both) while blasting away at whatever is unfortunate enough to walk in front of them.

Too broad a brush? Too bad.

Those who hunt are giving hunters a bad name, and I’m sick of it.

Take, for instance, the morons who dump deer carcasses along our back roads.

Just during the past week we’ve fielded reports of people dumping carcasses on Fairview, Harry Wise and Gilbert’s Creek roads.

Here’s a news flash for the fools who did this: You can bag carcasses and put them in the trash, leave them on the property where you shot them or dig a hole and bury them.

How hard is that?

C’mon, guys, being a hunter is hard enough these days, and doesn’t figure to get easier anytime soon.

As if PETA’s foolishness weren’t bad enough, we now have to contend with President Obama’s regulatory czar who has openly called for a ban on hunting.

That would be the loveable University of Chicago (no surprise there) Cass Sunstein, who in 2007 reportedly gave a speech at Harvard University (another shocker, right?) during which he reportedly said “we ought to ban hunting.” He reportedly even called for “eliminating current practices such as ... eating meat.” This from the guy who in a 2004 book lobbied to give animals the ability to file lawsuits against humans.

As a hunter now in his 30th year of harvesting deer, I find it repulsive and downright inexcusable for those who hunt to give people like Sunstein a reason to complain.

As a teenager busting at the seams to hunt deer, I first had to sit through a hunter safety course taught by a local certified hunter. I arrived expecting him to regurgitate my Dad’s advice about not climbing over a fence with a loaded gun, etc., before getting to the good stuff about how to bag a big buck.

Instead, this guy spent the first hour or so literally badgering my classmates and I with how to be respectful to people who do not hunt.

“Never,” he said, “go into a restaurant for breakfast or lunch after you’ve field dressed a deer until you’ve put on clean clothes and washed the blood from your hands.”

“Never,” he said, “drive around town with a bloody field dressed deer hanging from the tailgate of your pickup truck.”

“Never,” he said, “put a bumper sticker on your pickup truck that reads ‘Happiness is a steaming gut-pile.’”

Doing those types of things, he said, didn’t make you macho or tough, nor would they necessarily endear you to the opposite sex, a factor that, if not deer hunting’s equal in the mind of a 16-year-old, was at least in the team picture.

It’s important to note that he said these things in a remarkably different period of time and in a place where the opening day of deer season (a Monday where I grew up) was such a big deal that the schools closed for the day.

I took this man’s advice to heart, not because I was particularly concerned about offending non-hunters (I’m not sure I even knew any non-hunters), but because I wanted to be like him.

Fortunately those role models still exist today for aspiring hunters, including Jeff Lilly, who writes a hunting column each month in this newspaper.

Although it’s probably too late to change carcass-dumping idiots into hunters, it’s never too late to work with youngsters who long to carry on our nation’s hunting heritage.

If you have or know of such a child, teach him or her what it means and how to act. Teach him or her that hunting is a privilege that someday could be taken away, and how fortunate they are to live in an area teeming with fish and wildlife.

But most importantly, teach him or her to be a hunter, not just someone who hunts.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.