THE DEMONIZATION OF THE ARTIST/HUNTER
I grew up hunting in New York. Then, in the mid-70's, Vietnam still fresh in everyone's mind, I moved to California. I still came back east to visit. And if one of those visits fell during deer season, I would borrow a gun, a couple of bullets, some gloves, socks, long underwear and take to woods with my brothers and old man. But my purpose was not to shoot anything. I embarked on a practice of "hypothetical hunting". The idea was to get a buck within range, get him in my sights, click off the safety and.......not take the shot. Then I'd return to the house and watch cartoons with my young nieces. It wasn't until some 20 years later that I seriously returned to the hunt. This time it was fully integrated into the idea that my life (even hunting) could be my art.
Now another 20 years has gone by. On Monday I sat in GNJohn's orchard stand, watching three does feed their way into the swamp, as legal shooting time too quickly was coming to a close. I looked at my feet, thinking of the time last year that a big 6 appeared out of nowhere and I let him walk. The thought no sooner crossed my mind then I looked up and there stood a nice buck. In the fading light it looked like the same six. He munched on an apple as I notched my release, slowly rose from my seat and leveled the sight on his left shoulder. The arrow drilled him a bit high, but the shot felt good. I sat back down, tried to calm myself and waited. By the time I got out of the stand it was too dark to spot blood. I drove home and called Savage. He was at the bar with Milawyer. By 8:30 pm the three of us and Bonnie the dog were on blood. By 10:00 pm we had a nice 8 (not a six) in the back of the truck. He hadn't run 100 yds.
IF I was still on facebook. IF I had instagram or twitter, or any number of social media platforms I would proudly display the photo of this beautiful deer. And what would follow (among a few congrats) would be a barrage of anonymous "shamings" by people opposed to guns, bows, hunting and most of all displaying a legally taken animal as a "trophy". The PC lynch mob mentality that seems to go hand and hand with social media (not posting titties) is what drove me away from the party. Cecil the lion, Dumbo the elephant, Bob the deer were all killed legally. In the case of Cecil a GPS collar hidden by the lion's mane led to the tragic killing of the big cat. How about floresent orange collars, for a start, to keep this from occurring again? Personally I have no interest in safari hunting in Africa, but neither do I think ruining Walter Palmer's (or any other legal hunter's) life through "shaming" is anyway for people to act.
On Sat. we cooked up the backstrap of that great 8 for Shewho's birthday, sharing it with the congregation. Art, in the form of bloodprints or sculpture, may or may not follow. The action of the clean kill, retrieval with close friends, butchering, cooking and sharing is really what the hunt and the art are all about. Shame on me.