Thursday, November 10, 2005

Know the cost

We saw large flocks of geese feeding in a field some weeks ago, but I hadn't noticed any since then. Yesterday they were flying over in large "V"s, high up, heading south. That's rather late, isn't it? The fall has been very warm over all.

Phyllis and I had found ourselves walking the same way for a while, and we stopped to look up and listen to their calls. She said, "Can you imagine wanting to shoot one of those?" I replied that I had considered hunting geese, and she gave me a poke and said, "Oh, don't you even think about it." I mentioned that I have hunted deer, but we were coming to the parting of our ways, so the conversation ended there.

With hunting seasons a popular topic on various blogs, and discussions about tighter gun control in the news, I thought I'd post a poem that sums up my feelings on the subject. I sometimes hear this as a sort of bluesy song lyric, taking some liberties with the tune from one verse to the next, but it's not a comfortable genre for me so I haven't worked on it much.

I’ve Got a Rifle
©2003 Laura Herman

You call me a killer.
You call me a killer.

Before you criticize
my way of life,
you'd better check your hands.
You might be holding a knife.

They say the pen is mightier,
mightier than the sword.
Well, I've got a rifle.
You've got a credit card.

On foot in the bush,
knowing there's hard work ahead,
I may bring down a deer
to keep my family fed.

And you walk in to your
favorite restaurant,
look down that menu,
and pick out whatever you want.

They list all the items with
mouth-watering names,
but you don't know where that food
was grown, or how it came.

Tell me how many deer
die in front of semi trucks.
Tell me how many grainfields
no longer have marshes for ducks.

As you break that bread, and
sip that sweet wine,
tell me how far it travelled
from the field and the vine.

And for every calorie in your
vegetarian meal,
tell me how many calories
burned up in fossil fuel.

You don't know much about my life.
You know less about yours.
Thanks for listening, and sorry
if you're not that hungry anymore.

Take a look at that plastic in your hands.
Look at it hard.
Yes, I've got a rifle.
You've got a credit card.

I don't actually have a rifle, by the way, in case you're thinking of reporting me. I took firearm safety when I was a teenager. After we went to the shooting range, one of the parents told my mom, "If you're as good a shot as she is, she'll never have a chance at a boyfriend. You'll just sit up on that hill and pick them off!" But life was very hectic during that year when I could have got my possession license just by applying, and ever since then, I just haven't got around to taking the test. One of these years...


Madcap said...

Oh, I LIKE that! Great song - I could hear the "bluesiness" of it.

The geese have been late this year, haven't they? I noticed that too.

People live too far away from their food, I think. Why is it a problem to shoot a wild goose out of a flock that's trampling grain fields, but not a problem to raise one and eat it, out of sight, out of mind?

Deb said...

I like it too. I may be one of the blogs you're talking about, with the things I've said about deer season. Very mixed feelings there; we're still considering trying to get a deer just for food.

Yes, geese are late, and there are no ducks here. We took a 200 mile round trip ride past some excellent bogs, wetlands and lakes, where given the conditions we should have seen at least some ducks. Nothing. We also noticed that most of the little ponds would have been frozen up by now, ten or fifteen years ago.

arcolaura said...

Thanks mum and deb!

Deb, I sure understand having mixed feelings about deer season. We hear about some awful things around here, both in and out of season. I know people who have switched to the black powder season just to avoid the insanity of some regular season hunters. My sister has seen people shouting and running after deer; their shooting was so haphazard that she actually lay flat on the ground and waited until they moved on.

What bothers me is that it seems there has been a big drop-off in the number of hunters since gun registration, and it's not clear to me that it's the irresponsible hunters that have quit. I fear it may be more the other way around.

arcolaura said...

Not sure about ducks, around here - I haven't been out much, but I haven't noticed any when I have. That's strange, because we had plenty of water, and at midsummer, it seemed that the ducks were numerous. Maybe our canoe trip killed them all off...

Walter Jeffries said...

Hunting season is a pain because it makes it unsafe for me to do my work in my own fields and woods. Hunting is not the issue. What I don't like is the 'sportsmen' and poachers who hunt on our farm without permission and shoot into our fields from the road, who dump trash including whiskey bottles and deer guts. They are not hunters. They are trespassers. These jerks who do it without permission are endangering me, my children, my livestock and my guardian dogs. They break down and leave open our field gates. That is vandalism pure and simple. The laws need to be much harsher on those people who are hunting unsafely, who trespass, who vandalize. Hunting on someone else's property is a privilege, not a right.

I give permission to some people who ask to hunt in our woods but I want to know who is out there, where and when. I want them to observe some basic rules like do not shoot towards the house and fields.

I kill my own food, slaughter and butcher it. Killing and hunting is not the problem. Disrespect is the issue.