Tag Archives: hunting

You Might Be A Redneck If…

If you’re from the U.S., you probably know that this is the famous hook the comedian Jeff Foxworthy uses in his comedy routine (“If you’ve ever mowed the grass and found your car, you might be a redneck.  If you’ve ever taken a beer to a job interview….”)

The kindest definition I’ve found of redneck is “a working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area”.  Which is actually the most accurate.  But the common usage is from Miriam-Webster, which defines it as “a white person who lives in a small town or in the country, especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive”.

I had this conversation today with Yard Guy, who is a certified redneck, only by virtue of being from the South and having a blue-collar job.  He has no objectionable opinions, is not a racist, and is one of the most environmentally conscious people I know.  He probably has little formal education, but as far as I’m concerned, that makes him smarter than a lot of people who do.

I told him I was going away for the week of Christmas, so he said he’d be sure to ask his Mama to keep an eye on my house (she lives around the corner).  Also, my next-door neighbor, Kathy.  While we were on the subject, he noted that his Mama and Kathy have become cranky and hard to deal with in their older years (both of them are about my age, and both are widowed).  I said that probably they were spending too much time alone.  He wanted to know why I’m not like them? I said, because I work.  I’m out almost every day.  I deal with the public.  He said, oh, yeah, well there is that.

While we were on the subject of dogs, he informed me that Mama now has a second dog, which like the first dog does not really belong to her, but to his niece who also owns the first dog.  The first dog is a pitbull mix named “Vicious”.  I swear I am not making that up.  The important thing here is the distinction between “keeping” and “owning” a dog.  It’s the same thing as “living” somewhere and “staying” somewhere.  You get mail at one place (where you live), but you don’t actually live there.  You “stay” somewhere else.  Got it?

Yard Guy went on to say that he hates Vicious, who once tried to attack him, and only failed because he happened to see her coming out of the corner of his eye and swung a Weedeater at her.  He told Mama that if Vicious ever actually bit him then he’s going to kill her.  He said he would patiently go to his truck, get his pistol, and shoot Vicious dead in Mama’s back yard.  Just so you know, Mama.  She said, oh surely you wouldn’t.  He said,  surely I would.

And I believe him.  And he can legally do it.  If I had a gun, I would do the same thing, as much as I love dogs.  So you see?  Yard Guy and I are simpatico.  We think alike.

Yard Guy asked where I was going.  I said, North Carolina, where I mostly grew up.  He said, you grew up in North Carolina?  So you’re a redneck too?  (Well, technically, you can’t be a redneck if you’re from North Carolina, you’re a hillbilly).  I said, I was born in Tennessee.  He was like, well that cinches it.  You’re a redneck.  Who knew?

Then he was off and running into a story about a friend, originally from the mountains of North Carolina, who hates it here.  There are just too many people.  The friend has three little daughters, whose favorite food is frog legs, or whatever else Daddy can catch.  Yard Guy and I are not that impressed.  We’ll eat deer meat (and as far as I know, he’d probably kill it himself), but seriously…feed the girls a Happy Meal once in a while.  Branch out.

While we were chatting outside, my dog Pippin was inside whining furiously.  He “knows” Yard Guy and wanted to say hello. I let him out and Yard Guy and Pippin spent a little bonding time.

I love the South.  The few years I spent outside it, I missed it warts and all.
 

 

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Fakename’s Animal Planet: Hunting Season in Florida

Yesterday while reading at the picnic table around dusk, I heard the unmistakable sound of shotguns firing.  Several, in fact. And I wondered what season it was.  The answer is:  wild turkey.  Turkey actually has two seasons, spring and fall.

I found this out from the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/

In the process I learned that several animals are permitted to be killed in Florida at any time of year by any means.  These animals are rabbits, wild hogs, raccoons, possums, coyotes, skunks, and nutria.  Bobcats and otters have a short season, but beyond that, you can kill them any time.  The difference is in how many of them you can kill in or out of season.  Even with raccoons and possums, there are certain restrictions, such as what type of gun you’re allowed to use, and “spotlighting” is prohibited.

Quail and squirrels have a distinct season, and beyond that season you aren’t permitted to hunt them at all.  This would be educational news for my neighbors across the street who would sit out in their back yards and kill them with BB guns, then eat them for dinner.  I’m not sure how many laws that breaks.  If I had a BB gun, I might shoot a few myself–except for the part about believing that you have to eat what you kill (or give it to someone who will).  And I am not eating a squirrel.  Although I have, as a child.  It was fried.  The only thing I ever flatly refused to eat was frog legs.

I have mixed feelings about hunting.  But I eat meat, so it would be a little hypocritical to be against it.  Meat does not magically appear in a styrofoam container with shrink wrap in the grocery store.  Of course, hunting and factory farming are two different subjects.

My attitude about hunting changed drastically when I moved to Iowa from Louisiana.  From the time I crossed the Missouri line until I covered the distance to Des Moines (about 80 miles), I saw 8 dead deer by the side of the Interstate.  This was in summer.  That fall, they made it legal to hunt bucks, does…and fawns.  What?  It was okay to kill Bambi?

Then I remembered my trip.  The deer were starving and desperate, taking risks they might not otherwise have taken.  Was it better to be hit by a car or starve than it was to be killed by a hunter?  Answer:  No.

But let’s think about some of the other animals on the “anytime” list in Florida.  Otters?  Noooo.  Those cute playful little things?  And nobody eats otters.  And rabbits–it’s okay to kill Thumper?  At least people eat rabbits.

Of all the species named, my least favorite are wild hogs and raccoons.  At least you can eat them (well, not me, but it happens).  I think of them as the most dangerous animals on the list–wild hogs because they are amazingly aggressive; raccoons because they are prime carriers of rabies.  Now that I think about it, I might eat a wild hog under certain conditions–slow-smoked and accompanied by massive amounts of beer first.

One of my employees has a newly planted vegetable garden which is being attacked by armadillos.  Every morning she comes in to work threatening to shoot them.  People do eat them, I learned, but she doesn’t plan to.  (And I’m in no danger of it either–I’d rather eat frog legs.)

So the question is, is it okay kill an animal for its fur or its horns or antlers for sport?  (No.)  Is it okay to kill an animal for food? (Yes.)  Is it okay to kill an animal who is danger of dying a slower and more painful death, such as starving or being hit by a car?  (Yes.)  Is it okay to kill an animal because it’s a pest?  (Pest being something that gets in your way, kind of like a weed.)  Therein lies the rub, as Hamlet would say.  Guardedly, I say, Yes.  If you’re growing a garden which will help feed your family, and an animal threatens it, then you don’t really have much choice, whether you can eat it or not. It’s war.  Kill or be killed.  Even if the thing killed didn’t “deserve” it, and was only doing what came naturally, including trying to feed itself in the way it knew how.

I have personally never killed an animal, except for a fish or two.  I’ve only ever fired a shotgun once, and that was at several clay targets which lived to tell the tale.  Fat chance I would hit any of them.  My shoulder was numb for a week.

However if I were threatened physically by an animal (including a human), I would do everything in my power to kill it.  That’s just the way it is.  Life is a series of moral judgements, and I’ve made mine.  Ghandi, I’m not.

Thoughts About Nature, and Other Stuff

Almost every day now, I can hear a Cooper’s hawk crying from inside the house.  Other than that, once the hawk cries, it gets silent as a tomb.  All the other little birds are frozen in place with their mouths and eyes closed (figuratively speaking), pretending to be invisible.  You know how that works.  When playing Hide And Seek, if you close your eyes and can’t see them, then they can’t see you.  And every time, I want to say to the Cooper’s hawk…if your goal is to catch and eat a bird, why don’t you shut the hell up?  I don’t see how they ever find food. 

Not that I really want them to find and eat one of my beloved Cardinals, but it’s kind of like what I’ve said previously about watching the Discovery Channel.  Hour One:  Run, baby antelope, run!  You can outrun that Cheetah!  Hour Two:  Go Cheetah!  You can catch that antelope!  It’s just a baby! 

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About an hour ago I went to the corner liquor store and bought a bottle of wine.  All I could afford was a small bottle of Yellowtail Pinot Grigio, which tastes like I imagine Aardvark urine would taste.  There’s your nature reference.

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On the drive home, I noticed that one of my neighbors’ Sagos had seeds.  This is a very pretty sight. 

I rushed right home and took a look at mine.  Alas, in my absence, Nature had not turned itself on its ear, and it’s still a male plant.  It won’t be making any seeds.  I do think it’s old enough now that it’s looking for a girlfriend, though.  It wouldn’t really say.  That’s how it is when you’re the parent.  At a certain point, they stop telling you anything. 

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On the way back to the door, crossing the yard, I observed that my Oriental magnolia has three buds.  Man! I thought…you are really stupid, even for a tree.  I guess it has failed to notice that it’s the middle of January and it’s been in the 20’s every night for a week.  And there will be more to come.  Normally budding doesn’t take place until mid-February.  If its little buds freeze off–or worse yet, if it flowers before mid-February–then it can’t say I didn’t tell it so. 

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Last week I watched a repeat of the now infamous episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”, the one in which she shoots a caribou.  Let’s not even go there about the current political brouhaha.  But I saw a whole new  side of her and thought, What is all the fuss about?  She was having a ball, bonding with her Dad, and very proud of herself for bagging this caribou, which in my opinion, she had every right to be.  She even made a joke (who knew she had a sense of humor?)  At the end of that very successful day, she was sitting out there on the frozen tundra, talking about how much she loved the place, “And”, she said, “You can see Russia from here!  (Pause)  Almost.”  I laughed myself silly.  All I can say is, if you’re a Vegan, don’t watch this. 

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On the WordPress home page there is a post I’ve been intending to read.  It’s called Adulthood:  No One Told Me There Would Be Laundry.  I can so relate to that!  And there is your Other Stuff.

Fakename’s Animal Planet: Home Edition

It really isn’t necessary to go to the zoo or watch the Discovery Channel when you live with three dogs and a cat.  You have plenty of opportunity to observe bizarre behavior right in your own back yard. 

Portions of my back yard are just dirt…and all the dogs and the cat love to roll around in it and give themselves dust baths, like birds.  The dogs also love to roll in leaves, and it’s an extra added attraction if there is something dead buried in the leaves.  This must have some evolutionary significance.  Possibly, if you smell bad enough, enemy dogs won’t touch you with a ten-foot pole.  Survival of the most putrid.  At least when the cat takes a dust bath, she spends the next hour cleaning herself. 

My dogs also love to eat acorns.  This never happened until Fakedog came to live with us a little over three years ago.  He brought that habit with him and taught all the other dogs to do it.  When it becomes suspiciously quiet in the back yard, I’ll look and they will all three be quietly grazing, as if the yard was a Milkbone patch.  Now, you can find articles on the Internet which say that acorns are poisonous to dogs and you should never let them eat them.  Others say, well, yes they are poisonous, but the dog would have to eat like five times its body weight to be affected.  Here in Fakeworld, no one has died yet.  There are some days when I consider that to be most unfortunate. 

Another common ritual around here is that when the female dog pees, the two males must race to pee on the same spot.  Sometimes they get there at the same time and end up peeing on each other in the process.  I’ve read that this is in an effort to disguise the female scent, in case Attila the Hun Dog is lurking nearby and wants to steal and ravish the women of the pack.   “Move along!” they are saying.  “We have no women here!”

As entertaining as they can be, dogs are really very predictable.  Cats are predictable too, but they seem to be more creative.  One of my cat’s favorite things to do is groom anything that stands still long enough unless it appears that thing might be edible.  The girl dog is all for that, but the males get really squirmy about it, like they don’t want to get cat cooties. 

A couple of weeks ago I observed that my cat Stormy was sitting perfectly still by the fence, gazing intently at some object on the ground that I was too lazy to go investigate.  After an hour or so, she suddenly leaped a foot in the air, all four feet leaving the ground.  You could practically hear her crying, “Eek!”  At that point, the girl dog raced in and stole Stormy’s prize, which turned out to be a turtle.  A yellow-bellied slider if I’m not mistaken.  I made the dog drop the turtle and I took it to the front yard, where it eventually proceeded on its journey. 

This week, Stormy became locked in a life and death struggle with a sneaker.  She grabbed it by the heel with both front paws and kicked it viciously and repeatedly in the toe with her back feet, while simultaneously biting it on the shoelace.  Eventually the sneaker surrendered, or perhaps was killed, allowing Stormy to walk away with what passes for cat dignity. 

Next episode:  Fighting for a spot on the couch.