Saturday, January 30, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn!

In going through my grandfather's papers, a photo was found. A photo of my father, much younger, with a big smile, a gun, and a stuffed great horned owl. I grew up with that owl, and a grey squirrel, and a pheasant. Call them the Dead Pets Society. None of the dogs ever got stuffed.

This one photo, among the hundreds or thousands there, was pulled out and brought in the car with us, as three of us headed to a vegetarian restaurant to humor me. While driving, my father proudly told the tale, excitement in his voice, of two young men with guns, and how he got his up first when they spotted the owl. When they reached the owl, her talons were still flexing in death spasms. "They'd put you in jail for that today," I said.

In the states bordering Lake Superior, federal officials are investigating the illegal murder of 16 wolves in November and December--8 in Wisconsin, 6 in Michigan, and 2 in Minnesota which interestingly has by far the largest wolf population among the three states. Not surprisingly, this coincided with the most recent legal murder of deer season, when the woods were flooded with brave men with guns, eager to make the world over the way they think it should be--for them, their convenience, their whim. their dominance.

Some of the bodies were found because they wore radio collars which pinpointed the locations where the
green fire left the wolves' eyes. Something I doubt any of the killers ever noticed, more ignorant than their fellow Wisconsinite some 90 years ago. (GreenFire, the movie, coming soon.) No doubt there are more dead, unfound as yet. The commonly heard phrase is Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up, but I think most of these cowards are too lazy to shovel and too drunk to shut up. There's only one thing they're capable of--shooting prematurely.

Last night a friend and I went on an owl hike at a nearby sanctuary. Armed only with flashlights, I got mine up first when we heard the owl. And though it can't compare to the magic of being camped in the UP where the River meets the Lake while someone asks
"Who cooks for you?" just above the tent, a hearty "Hoo, hoo" still makes me hot.


Woodswalker said...

I'm always glad when I find your new posts, greentangle. Thanks for making the effort to post them. Thanks too for the link to Green Fire. Any idea when that film will be released and where?

My dad used to go duck hunting (we always ate what he shot) and I once asked him if he ever hunted deer. He told me he shot one once and watched it die and never wanted to do that again. It's harder to watch ducks die, out there on the water, I guess.

I'm always so grateful to see any wild creature while I'm wandering the woods. The last thing on earth I would want to do is blow it away with a gun.

Terry said...

Greentangle - nice post, thanks.

Woodswalker - the website says

January 2010

Film complete,Film debut at film festivals

April 2010

Earth Day launch of film on public television

Cheers -Terry

Northland said...

Thanks for your post. Living as I do in the midst of "shoot, shovel and shut-up" territory, I had to comment that your perceptions on the hunting crowd is totally true. Any small sympathy that I might have with a pet owner who loses their hunting dog to wolves would be ill-founded. The same for the deer hunter who blames wolves for the low number deer "crop". The dog was hunting for prey in the food chain so is fair game for stronger predators. The UP winter of 08-09 was a snowy and difficult one for deer and resulted in a massive die-off. Wolves will eat about 13 deer a year, which is a negligible number in the face of the usual overpopulation of deer in the UP. Another big factor for lack of deer hunter success was the abundance of natural food available this year for deer. Hunters who mostly sat at bait piles (yes, baiting deer is legal in the UP) found that deer weren't coming to their apple-bait as there was a super abundance of wild apples available to the deer in their natural habitat. We had the best wild apple crop that I have seen this year since moving down here 13 years ago.
I wish you good traveling for your next steps now that you're done with your hospice duties.

greentangle said...

Woodswalker, thanks, whenever I make it to your blog, I always enjoy going along on your walks via your photos.

Terry, thanks for beating me to passing along that info.

Northland, thanks for all the on-the-scene info. I'm actually not done yet, but I thought I might be falsely giving that impression--people were looking through photos in advance. Getting close though--the real hospice people are coming now. As for my next step, I came very close to getting a job in a great location, and still might as I'm now waiting to hear whether someone else gets fired and I get hired (speaking of the food chain).