Saturday, September 15, 2007

Opening Day

It’s opening day of the three-month-long citywide bow-hunting season here in Duluth, though they start it later in the areas more heavily used for other purposes. Whenever I think of this going on, I truly loathe the fact that I live in this city. They’ll tell you how safe “harvesting” (not killing) is, of course, but still it’s not that great for public relations in a tourist-driven economy for the average hiker or birdwatcher to have bleeding deer run by, or to stumble into a pile of entrails. As the hunting group’s rules state, “the goal is to keep the public unaware the hunt is taking place.” Keeping the public unaware is the goal of many politicians and CEOs as well, and most of the public is happy to cooperate.

I planned to write two entries on the subject, had a couple nifty titles planned, one for eloquent arguments about deer and human populations, the causes of those populations, family tradition, keeping in touch with one’s inner caveman, all the usual hunting debates, and one for the raw disgust and rage and sadness I feel over the matter and the people who take part in it. But I’ve written many columns and letters on those subjects since moving here, and the idea of writing it all over again didn’t hold much pleasure for me. If I wanted writing to be a chore, I suppose I would have made a living at it. I think creativity needs to have a spontaneous and joyful birth, not an outline.

Still, within a few miles of me as I write this, there’s a deer being shot, leaving orphans and friends behind. I have little doubt that phrase strikes most people as ludicrous, sentimental, anthropomorphizing, blah, blah, and blah. And that’s the problem. As long as humans set themselves apart as unique and superior, they’ll always have contempt instead of respect for other life.

Winter is coming. It was about thirty degrees when I headed out this morning, but I put on too many layers. The sun is still packing heat. I’m longing for the first snow, and hoping for another big one this winter which will shut down the human world for at least a few hours, muffle the noise and stop the cars. I’ve been busy making plans for a trip which will include a vegetarian festival, a farm sanctuary, a whale watch, a primate protest, veggie restaurants, a great arboretum, concerts, real bookstores, a visit with my long dead mentor Henry, and waves every day instead of only when the wind blows a certain way. There’s joy. As long as I don’t think about that deer. Just need to keep myself unaware.

3 comments:

Oboe-Wan said...

As long as humans set themselves apart as unique and superior, they’ll always have contempt instead of respect for other life.

Yes, absolutely. 100% on the mark with this statement.

This is why I believe people look at animal activists, vegetarians/vegans, anyone who cares about the rest of the beings who inhabit this planet, as "weird" or "unnatural." Stepping out of line has repercussions which I'm happy to shoulder.

Hunting is a hard thing, isn't it? There are some people who hunt who seem to respect the animals they are killing - I know someone back east who only hunts bucks because he is afraid of killing a doe who has babies. As he's aged, though, he's lessened his hunting trips (some recent years he hasn't hunted at all). It's small steps, sometimes, for people who don't "admit" to feeling something for animals but then show compassion in little ways. I wish I could convince everyone to just let animals be, but it's unrealistic. It makes me frustrated.

It seems so simple: live in harmony.


Have a fun & safe trip! Looking forward to seeing those whale pictures!!

greentangle said...

There are some hunters who are more ethical than others but that only matters to humans. The animal is still dead whether killed by a thinking naturalist or a drunken yahoo. It does seem that some outgrow the urge to kill, maybe as they begin to face their own mortality. Thoreau wrote, "No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does." There are a lot of women here stuck in the thoughtless age of girlhood as well.

You'll have to see whale photos elsewhere; I don't have the equipment. You're not missing much from my photos...I have a bunch of them in a box which amount to a black spot on a blue background.

Oboe-Wan said...

There are some hunters who are more ethical than others but that only matters to humans.
Exactly. I'm just glad that my friend has outgrown his urge to hunt - regardless of how many years it took.

Me? I would never ever ever stare down a gun & pull a trigger on an animal.

When I was was a kid, my father accidentally killed a rabbit in our backyard while shooting his bb gun. He flipped out - ran out to it, tried to help it but to no avail. He buried it in the woods behind the house. Hunting, thankfully, was more than "not his thing" it really was something that disturbed him down to his soul.

Thoreau wrote, "No humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does."

Thanks for the quote!


As for the pictures, I'll just imagine how cool they are!