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The Meaning of a Bullseye

Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in Articles

"The Meaning Of the Bull's Eye" is intended to get all lovers of wildlife and hunters closer together in the control and harvesting of wildlife. The points advanced in this article are fair and just for both sides; animal and human. Comments are welcomed!"

 I am frequently asked how I feel about whether we should have a right to own a gun.  My unfailing answer is, “I have no problem with guns. Guns do not create problems, irresponsible gun users create problems”.  A chestnut of a cliché, used by many who offer no solution to the question of gun ownership….except to restrict it!

      I believe in the Second Amendment of our Constitution and as a show of support for it I entered an extensive series of gun usage courses, passed, acquired a gun received my concealed weapons permit and will use the weapon, to defend myself or family, when it becomes necessary to do so.

      As a non-hunter I am frequently asked, “How do you feel about hunting?”  My answer is always the same, “I have no problem with hunting or hunters.  Guns don’t cause problems, the irresponsible use of guns, by irresponsible hunters, cause the problems.” After all, as hunters and fishermen, our ancestors survived, flourished and provided for their families. Surviving was the primary need of the early settlers and hunting and fishing provided the meat, clothes and fuel needed by their families.

      Further, unlike radical groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), I don’t believe animals are entitled to the same laws as humans, should have access to attorneys, like some in the Obama White House believe, and believe that there is a significant difference between man and animal…..we have the ability to reason and they do not. However, today there are as many animals in the human kingdom as there are in the wild.

      However, I also believe that some moronic descendents, of early settlers, (obviously there has been too much inbreeding in some families) have taken their right to own a gun(s), hunt and fish, a step too far.

      May I begin at the bottom of the totem pole of irresponsibility; poachers?  I have yet to find a penalty severe enough for these lawbreakers. Losing their weapons, trucks, boats or even homes are not strong enough consequences for their actions. My wish list encourages “lawmakers” to establish and fund an enforcement branch of state or federal government that can and will capture and bring to justice individuals who illegally and indiscriminately use their weapons to kill, maim or wound animals or birds out of season.

      My appeal reaches beyond the cruelty to animals we see on television and in newspapers. However, the hypocrisy of organizations like PETA is displayed in their attacks on meat packing plants, medical experimental labs and other areas of human needs then does nothing to utilize the national and international media to make their case against dog fighting by staying away from demonstrations at National Football Games protesting the actions of Michael Vick and his abusive cronies is repulsive. Like the feminist movement they are true hypocrites. There is something drastically wrong with their picture.  

      My second wish would be that the “harvesting” of all animals be done in a more humane manner. More humane killing?  Isn’t that one of life’s great oxymoron’s?  How can any killing be humane?  Euthanasia is “mercy” killing. Abortion is the termination of a living soul. Drunk drivers who kill have an excuse supported by equally guilty law makers, and dastardly trial lawyers, who give them an out; they were  are impaired. War is permissible as long as you abide by the rules of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits certain types of inhumane killing of combatants. No gas, chemicals or germ warfare. No mistreatment of captives, no attacks on facilities or compounds housing the wounded, injured or disenfranchised. I don’t know about you but none of this makes any sense to me….killing is killing and killing is murder….and the indiscriminate killing in nature ranks in that category as well!  

      If killing of wildlife (hunting/harvesting) is lawful shouldn’t we consider a few more humane methods for the execution?

            Let me present a few examples of my thesis: Hunters should be required to pass a twofold course of hunting etiquette before receiving permission to own and use a weapon.

      First: Each applicant must complete an extended and comprehensive course of instruction on firearms, the etiquette required when you own a weapon(s), a background check and a psychological competency exam;

      Second: Stage two would mandate that no hunter, no matter what age, (children under the age of reason excluded), can obtain a permit to hunt until they had succeeded in placing his/her bullet, arrow, black powder ball et al in the heart or between the eyes of their intended victim.

      Third: An applicant must pass a government exam that requires the shooter to successfully hit the bulls-eye on ten consecutive attempts. After all even snipers in the Canadian, British and American armed forces are required to meet similar stringent stipulations before graduating from sniper school.  In fact most of the apprentice work (before they begin killing their fellow man) is done tracking and killing elusive deer…humanely. 

      Fourth: Applicants must repeat steps one, two and three each year to obtain their permits. In the field it becomes either a “bulls-eye” resulting in an instant kill or a jail term?

      Some of you might consider this a foolish concept. After all killing your fellow man is not hunting, its war, murder, self-defense, manslaughter, domestic abuse, or an unfortunate accident. Tracking and killing a wild animal is not war either…’s a “sport”. I prefer my way of hunting: “Shooting Memories and Preserving Life!”

      If we must respect the rights of hunters then let us ensure that their harvest be done in a humane manner and that the pain and suffering imposed on animals be minimized. Claude Marchand, a Northern Quebec (Canada) naturalist and professional hunting guide, has established the standard all hunters should be measured against. He spends endless hours scouting for the RIGHT subject. His eye selects the best of the breed, his aim is true and the result is a “dead on contact” harvest. It’s quick, clean and humane!

      And why not?

      If you torture a domestic pet, and it dies, the law penalizes you.  What is the difference between a domestic animal and one in the wild?  Why not maintain the same standards for the two?  When the time comes for your pet to be put down, we do one of two things, we have the vet “put Rover to sleep” we call it euthanasia or we take it out behind the barn and put a bullet in its brain.  At least that’s how they did it to my horse Dolly when she was too sick to go on. She was put done swiftly, humanely and with respect…a bullet between the eyes!

      So what is the difference between that type of mercy killing and hunting? A recent study suggests that all but earthworms, lobster and other invertebrates have feelings. However that leaves a significant number of other critters for us to consider.

      To many bird hunters, with a wide pellet pattern, from their shells, leave their prey in critical condition and in pain. Sometimes it is a tight pattern, sometimes it is scattered.  Regardless of the pattern, not all birds brought down in flight are DOAWTG (dead on arrival with the ground) or water. Many of the birds and fowl are simply stunned, have a broken wing or some other type of debilitating injury. If it isn’t dead, the hunter completes the process with a simple and quick snap of the neck. The subject is then dangled above the conqueror’s head and “Hail to The Chief” is sung by the conquering hero’s entourage before moving on to the next target. Bigger game is gutted in the field (know as field dressing) and mounted on the hood of the shooters car or truck as a sign of their manhood. It’s a guy thing.

      Friends who hunt have recounted stories that leave me stunned. One of these took place near Cole’s Island, a well known hunting area in New Brunswick, Canada. One of those macho types became upset with a black bear that had the audacity to keep visiting the bait pile he had set-up to attract deer. After a few visits this mental midget shot the bruin.

      When asked why he shot the bear out of season he responded that the animal was ruining his vacation and he was here to kill a dear and the bear was in the way. “No bear is going to ruin my week of vacation!”  I’ve often wondered what the deer thought when they approached the bait pile only to find a dead and decaying bear lying among the pile of apples and carrots.  There is a postscript to the story…the shooter didn’t get his deer.

      Thankfully there are exceptions to every bad situation. One of these is my friend and avid outdoorsman Mike. He was introduced to nature by his father who taught him the fine art of making fly rods, tying flies, making a bow from scratch and honing his arrows so they would fly true to the mark. Mike’s love of nature should be a template for us all. His idea of a good time is heading into the woods for a week with nothing more than his flint bladed hunting knife, his sleeping bag, compass, bow or black powder pistol and water.

      One fall, Mike and I went off on a two week bear hunt together. He instructed me on the do’s and don’ts of the elusive black bear, described and explained, in detail, how to read the various intersecting game trails, the frequency with which the bear crossed in the area and other behavior patterns.

      Mike’s primary goal was the size of the animal.  He only wanted the biggest and oldest critter, not some insignificant, young, unsuspecting creature. On the 5th day, he established his harvesting location and two days later he was rewarded for his efforts. One shot from a handheld dueling pistol using black powder and a ball.  One shot, a bulls-eye, right in the heart.  The bear dropped in his tracks. Death was instantaneous. 

      However, most critters are not so fortunate. More often than not the animal is hit and then cannot be found. The animal has gone off to die an agonizing death under some brush or in its den, some sooner, some later. A death, hopefully, we would not wish upon our worst enemy.

      As good and conscientious as some hunters are, there are those who leave me sick and appalled.   Those irresponsible and insensitive reprobates who believe a gun and license give them the right to kill or mane anything with a fur coat or on the wing.  They are the same people I hear about who make a point of shooting fawns, button bucks, two and four point deer and moose calves, etc.

      So why can’t we change the law?  Why can’t we make it a fair fight? As our professional military snipers say, “One shot, one kill!”  Why don’t we make it “no license granted until these humane killing standards are met?”

      Maybe it is time to outlaw baiting and tree stands. Maybe it is time to pit man against beast on a level playing field where “man’s superior mind” gets to challenge the instincts, cunning and survival skills of the animals he pursues.  What if we had to leave our ATV’s, 4 x 4’s and motor bikes at the wilderness door and walk in?  Are we afraid to give God’s creatures a fighting chance to kill us or be killed?  Wildlife chooses to flee from danger not attack. Statistics show that more humans are killed by other humans every hunting season than by wild animals…..Hmmmm?

      I believe it is our right to possess guns.  I believe that every man, woman and adolescent (who has reached that elusive age of reason) has that right, but I believe that responsibilities are associated with gun ownership and violators of those rights should be penalized. Wild animals, pursued for the hunt, should be given an opportunity to survive the chase. After all isn’t it the chase rather than the capture that matters most to the human race? 

      Hunters may I suggest that we do so in a manner that respects the wildlife we treasure and provide them with the respect we’d seek for ourselves if we were the hunted.

      Humanity can be humane…….if not to each other, at least to God’s magnificent creatures. 

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
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