Every morning I get up just before 5 am, stoke the fire, make coffee, feed Cheeky and get in the truck. Once at the farm I suit up, put on my harness, load my gun in the dark and head for one of my stands. I climb the tree and sit there, scanning the empty woods, looking for movement, listening for the crack of a twig or the shuffle of leaves.
Yesterday, around 7:30 AM I spotted something coming from the left. I didn't move. It was a buck. There was no need to raise the gun. It was a 6 pointer, barely legal, and not the shooter I was searching for. Within the next hour 3 does would appear right below my stand and then all went quiet. There I sat, slowly turning my head, hoping the big one (whose sign was everywhere) would make an appearance. At noon I gave up and went home for lunch. This is deer hunting.
Since gun season started I've let two legal bucks walk (a basket 8 and this 6), passed on many does and haven't clicked off the safety. One shell is in the chamber of my 30.06 and 3 more in the magazine. If things go as planned I'll only need one shot. Long days in the woods are broken by food, drink, sleep and a steady stream of bad news. Politically I'm an anomaly. Leaning as far left as I can, I have a carry permit and about a half dozen long guns of different types (for different game and seasons). So you'd think I'd be against gun control. You'd be wrong.
As "active shooter" incidents pile up across the world, the one thing they increasingly have in common is the use of rapid fire, high capacity long rifles of the AR or AK variety. These light little guns in .222 and .223 calibers are perfectly designed for killing great numbers in a short amount of time. And that's about all they are good for. No hunter in his right mind would carry one. Gun geeks like them because they can be customized easily and are fun to blast away at the range. The shooters in Paris and San Bernadino were armed with these. The only people who should carry them are active military. But this is fucking America. So anyone over 18 with a clean record can go to Gander Mountain and pick one up.
It's time to treat guns like cars. There is such a thing as "street legal". The same should be applied to guns. "Woods legal" or "security legal" could be a way to start. Take on the gun lobby and the NRA's penchant for overblown hyperbole. Be specific about magazine capacity and designed usage. There's no built in obsolescence with guns. If it's a good gun it will last multiple lifetimes. Take a clue from the fight with big tobacco. Make any gun not designed for the legal taking of game, so expensive nobody can afford it. It won't stop them from getting in the wrong hands. But it just may help. I'm not ready to give up all my killing instruments except my muzzle loader and bow.......but I'm close.