Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CRANE HUNTING SEASON REVISITED

A representative from TWRA gave a bird presentation at the Knoxville Ornithological Association this week. The questions came up about a crane hunting season. He told them that it was well under way and the plans were submitted to the commissioners; Whoever they are. He further said to them that TWRA is a "hook and bullet" organization by necessity meaning the only revenue they have is through hunting and fishing license. No tax money is directed to the organization from what I can understand. So that's that. It seems there's a lot of stuff out there to shoot at and kill already. I guess the reasoning is that there they are; might as well put a season on them. In Tennessee the hunters can lobby for changes to the hunting and game laws. A season on cranes is not going to cause more licenses to be sold. So there won't be increased revenue unless there's a crane stamp sold. So why do they need to be shot at? And there isn't any glory in shooting one of them as they just fly over like B29 bombers, slow and easy. Can't miss em. Terrible tasting. Not good to eat. They seem to run a gauntlet already flying North. They're shot in Minnesota and Wyoming, Montana and on up in British Colombia. Guess they'll have to run it back through Tennessee now. Wonder what if the Bald Eagle ever succeeded in a population explosion where they were common as crows if they would have a hunting season attached to them. There would be lots of em. Why not? Wonder what it is about this hunting thing. I used to do it a lot. Lived for it. Till one day, hunting on top a tall mountain in Central Pa. I shot a small doe with a black powder rifle at about a hundred yards. Broke her left hip. Remember seeing it flop around as she tried to run. I quickly poured powder and punched a slug down the barrel. Pushed the ram rod home. It split and wedged beside the slug the inside of the gun barrel. I had to take off running after that doe that now lay in the brush. Got real close. 25 feet. She up and ran. I ran after her. I stopped; she did too. She was all in. I took off the wool rich coat and took off after her with just my shirt on. Was 25 degrees that day in Central Pa. I got to ten feet of her and she went strait down the mountain and so did I. I was right on her. Could have touched her. I pulled out my knife and lunged onto her back. We both tumbled, but not before I dragged the knife across her throat. We rolled and rolled and finally stopped. She stood watching me. Then down on front knees and lay down. She assumed a sleeping pose as a cow would lay on a pasture. She stared at me. The blood pushed out the slit in her throat with each heart beat. She stared at me the whole time. I remember thinking she seems to be asking me "why did you do this to me?" Why? Her eyes slowly closed and she bent her head around and tucked her muzzle under the inside of her back leg and fell asleep. I felt terrible; misrable. And I asked myself why. All I accomplished was to put terror into that gentle animal. I did it because it was hunting season and that's what I was to do. That was the last animal I ever killed while hunting. I remember every second of that day. I remember the beautiful face that stared into mine pleading for an answer to her question; "Why did you do this to me?" There is no glory in it. None!