Snide Remarks #81
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Herald on November 12, 1999
It's hunting season, which means a lot of dumb animals will be shot, usually by their fellow dumb animals, who were actually aiming at deer.
Hunting is a major part of Utah "culture," and it fascinates me. I'm from Southern California, where there's plenty of gunfire, but not usually aimed at wildlife. (That's because there IS no wildlife, the last tree having been replaced by a Circle K well over a decade ago). So I'm unfamiliar with the urge many Utahns have to go out and shoot deer, elk, moose, non-Mormons, and whatever else it's legal to shoot at.
In some areas of Utah and neighboring states, schools even let out for a few days, to allow the boys (you know none of the girls are involved) to go hunting with their dads. In places where the school board is not quite so enlightened, fathers will just pull their sons out of school, apparently figuring that whatever the boy might have learned in the classroom that day, he can learn it better squatting in the woods with half-drunken men, listening to bawdy jokes and firing bullets at things.
I should stress that I have no problem with the killing of deer and other woodland creatures for the sake of eating them. I'm not a vegetarian, and I don't care much for the self-righteous, pasty-faced, bony-armed, malnourished people who are. I love meat, and I recognize that in order for me to eat it, someone has to kill it. (Someone generally has to cook it for me, too, and I usually try to get them to pay for it as well.) What disturbs me is when people ENJOY the killing. It's one thing to kill an animal for food; it's quite another to make a sport of it, to track an animal for hours, to lie motionless in the dirt until you get a clear shot, then to kill it and brag to your buddies about how many "points" it had. Does the fact that people consider this FUN bother anyone else besides me? I mean, what's the big thrill here? Shooting something defenseless? Do you realize that even if a deer DID attack you, 1) you would probably deserve it, and 2) all it could do is lick you to death?
The hunting mentality is particularly distressing in light of the recent news story that more people in Salt Lake County die as a result of shootings than of car accidents. This alarms me because it means that as reckless as people are with their cars, they're even more reckless with their guns.
As for me, I can't even go fishing. (Fishing-related deaths were not mentioned in the news story.) Even if I'm going to toss the fish back, I can't bear the thought of piercing a fish's lips with a sharp hook. I remember being lied to as a child about how fish don't feel pain in their mouths, so it doesn't bother them when they're hooked. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized the lunacy of this idea. Every other animal in the world has nerve endings in its mouth; why would fish be any different? Do you suppose that after millions of years of being caught, fish's mouths began evolving nerveless?
Actually, the evolution thing isn't that crazy. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before deer start being born with bright orange colorings on their chests, causing them to look like hunters. Of course, they'd probably still get shot, unless their hooves also evolved to look like they were holding beer cans.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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