Friday, November 6, 2009

He's back

He’s at it again. “Mr. Outdoors” is once more heralding the wonders of the season by ticking off what animals can be hunted and killed, and exactly when. What a sport – which he must be seen as, since his column runs in the sports section of the Trenton Times. There are sports and sports.

When the headline reads, “Small-game season opens tomorrow,” he’s not talking Monopoly. No, he refers to “the men and women in orange” – as if that phrase were equivalent to “men and women in (some sort of altruistic) uniform” – and how they can enjoy themselves outdoors over the next few months.

His fearless band in orange will be “taking to the fields and thickets” to kill “pheasant, quail, rabbits, squirrels and . . . other small game” in whatever way is legal. He mentions “stocking” at least five times, as in “60,000 pheasants will be stocked on 24 wildlife management areas throughout the state.”

In other words, the pheasants will be brought in so the hunters can do their best to kill them. Does this sound like an adult version of hiding (or stocking?) Easter eggs for kids to find? No one can claim hunters are helping to control overpopulation in this hunt, since the population is expanded for the hunt!

Lucky rabbits! “The cottontail is one of New Jersey’s most popular game species,” Mr. Outdoors reports, mentioning that “use of a beagle or basset hound . . . can increase the likelihood of success and add to the overall enjoyment of the hunt.” Well, maybe not overall enjoyment.

Not to be outdone, those thoughtful gray squirrels “provide exciting opportunities for hunters.” To “the men and women in orange,” animals exist to serve humans in such ways. And what a glorious death: mobbed by happy hunters, shot and killed, then bagged. (“Daily bag limit is 5 per day.”)

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