This is one time of year that I really dread. No, it's not the rampant consumerism of the season (although that does bother me, a lot). It's hunting season. That means men and boys (and sometimes women) in camouflage clothing, vehicles - everything - invading the quiet corners of the country. Regular readers will remember that I wrote about the whole phenomena here.
Many of these people have no respect for private property. They feel that when they see wide open spaces, they're entitled to hunt there (despite there being laws to the contrary). We who live in the country are forced to wear a color called "blaze orange" on our own farms in order to not get shot at.
Last year, my husband was in the woods behind our house, minding his own business, when a hunter took a shot in his direction. As he ran out of the woods, yelling at the careless hunter, the man jumped in his truck and took off. I hope that this hunter was so shaken up by the possibility that he could have killed someone that he no longer hunts like that. Not long ago, my husband talked to a fellow goat farmer who told him that he and his wife have actually been shot SEVERAL times during past hunting seasons! So this poor man wears blaze orange, even when he's inside during this time of year.
And don't even get me started on the hunters who use dogs to hunt. Jack, my little beagle/basset hound mix who passed away almost two years ago, was a former hunting dog. He was abandoned to fend for himself because he didn't live up to hunting expectations. (We're glad he became a part of our family, though.) Even many of the dogs who do perform well are ill-treated. They're not fed enough food so they're "hungry" when they hunt. Recently, two local hunting dogs attacked our chickens, killing several and maiming others that were so bad off that my husband had to euthanize them. All for sport. Most of these dogs are beagles who do not naturally attack chickens or other livestock. It's just that they were so hungry that they were desperate. Just so their owners can use them to hunt deer. And most of these hunters don't even want the meat; they want the antlers as trophies.
I suppose I'll just grin and bear it - and try to avoid getting shot. On several occasions I have told my husband that I'd like to follow one of these hunters home to the city one day and then sit in front of his house with a loaded rifle in my lap. I wonder how he'd feel about that.
(Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1355961)