It's never on Sunday for hunting, killing

ROGER SIMON

December 01, 1991|By ROGER SIMON /

The only problem I have with hunting in Maryland is that you can't do it seven days a week. The state currently forbids hunting on Sunday.

This is an absurd restriction. True, God did set aside one day a week as a day of rest. But I'm sure He didn't mean we couldn't kill things while we were resting.

I read a column recently that advocated adding Sunday to the white-tail deer hunting week in Maryland. The author liked the idea because it "would mean increased harvest, and increased harvest would mean better management of the state's deer herd."

The only thing I didn't like about the column was the use of euphemisms. I don't see why hunters are embarrassed to state plainly what they do.

I respect the hunter who says: "I like to kill. I like to shoot things dumber than me. I like to put on camouflage gear, set out some bottled scent, put a deer call in the tape player, climb up in a tree carrying my high-powered rifle and then blast a deer through the lungs when it shows up. Man, that's sport!"

Isn't that a lot more refreshing than talking about "harvesting" deer as if they were stalks of corn, or about "management" as if hunters were corporate executives?

Let's say things straight out: The state of Maryland has for years encouraged deer to overbreed in order to provide more targets for hunters to kill.

Killing deer seven days a week would be a lot of fun. And if you think Sunday is a day of rest, remember that once you shoot a deer in the head, it rests for a long, long time.

I have but one problem with adding Sunday to the hunt week and it has to do with an unfortunate side effect of hunting: deeropia.

Hunters are real outdoorsmen, sons of the pioneers, preservers of the wilderness, herd managers and all, but many share a dread optical defect.

To a hunter everything looks like a deer: cows, horses, motorcycles, Buicks, people inside their homes, people inside their trailers, road signs, women, children and, of course, other hunters. That is deeropia.

A famous example occurred last year in Maine when a hunter shot and killed a 37-year-old mother of twin 1-year-old girls while she was standing in her own backyard.

A jury acquitted the hunter of manslaughter charges.

His defense: "She looked like a deer."

Not all hunters think everything looks like a deer.

Greg LeMond, the only American ever to win the Tour de France bicycle race, was hunting with his brother-in-law outside Sacramento, Calif., in 1987 when his brother-in-law shot him in the back.

Doctors removed pellets from LeMond's liver, small intestine, diaphragm, kidney, foot, leg, and shoulder. Another 30 pellets, including two in his heart lining, were left in LeMond's body.

His brother-in-law did not think LeMond looked like a deer. His brother-in-law said LeMond "looked like a turkey."

I did a computer search for articles on hunting accidents in the last year and the number of stories came back at more than 3,000. Here's an interesting one that proves that it's not guns that shoot people, but hunters that shoot people:

Charles Dubois, 33, of Pinconning, Mich., liked to go bowhunting with his 13-year-old son, Damon. They were out one evening at about 8 p.m. when young Damon thought he heard a noise. He shot an arrow at the noise. The arrow hit his father in the groin.

"Damon, you shot me," his father said.

And, according to The Detroit News, "those words may have been his last before he bled to death."

Should 13-year-olds be allowed to tramp through the woods at night carrying deadly weapons? Hell, yes! You're never to young to learn proper "management."

tTC And just last week, there was this story:

"EXETER, N.Y. (AP) -- A hunter committed suicide after discovering that he accidentally shot and killed his son, state police said.

"Gene Bulak, 41, shot his 18-year-old son Michael in the head Sunday after the two took different paths through the woods and the older man mistook his son for a deer, police said.

"Upon discovering that he had killed his son, Gene Bulak took his own life with one of the hunting shotguns," state police said in a statement.

"Neighbors of the Bulaks said it was the first time the father had taken his eldest son on a hunting trip he made every year."

So you want to add a seventh day to the hunting week? We will "harvest" a few more deer that way.

OC Unfortunately, we're going to "harvest" a few more people, too.

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