When I was a young boy, I received a BB gun for a present. Oh how I loved setting up soda cans for target practice on the low stone wall in my backyard, and then taking aim and shooting them off one by one. There was something energizing about the shrill metallic sound that rang out when my BB made contact with the cans. One day, when I was alone in the backyard improving my markmanship, a robin landed in the grass nearby. For some reason, I thought it would be fun to take a shot at it. I fired the gun, the robin took two hops forward and then fell over dead. Now I know a lot of boys would have beamed with pride at their accomplishment. They would have felt that they had earned some badge of honor. Yet, my actions sickened me. I felt so horrible. I never used my gun again after that.
Over the years, I have read many articles and heard many stories about fathers who teach their sons to hunt. It is something of a rite of manhood when they come of age. That first kill, whether it is a duck, a rabbit, or a deer, is something to be celebrated. Hunters claim they hunt for the satisfaction of outwitting the animals on their own turf. Yet, I find it morbid when I see photographs of hunters grinning ear to ear as they pose with some dead creature, that only moments earlier, was part of nature. It brings back those horrible feelings that I had when I killed that small bird in my backyard. I have even heard the argument that all humans have a predatory urge, and that hunting is a way to positively channel it so that they don't instead turn abusive or kill other humans. If that doesn't seem like caveman, backwoods logic, I don't know what is.
Ted Nugent has a defiant quote for all "bunny huggers", "you can't grill it until you kill it." Of course he is right, but it is one thing to kill an animal humanely and respectfully and honorably in order to provide food. It is another thing to kill for "sport". This killing of animals for the thrill or the fun of it, just doesn't sit right with me. My attitude was strengthened the other day when I saw a bumper sticker on a truck that read "If it flies, it dies." I have seen outdoors programs on T.V. where the hunter beams over his kill, declaring how beautiful and magnificent his prize is. In my mind, beauty and magnificence are not words for the dead, but for the living.