Practical Issues > Fishing & Hunting > Hunting - Index

Open season on half-wit hunters
by Howie Carr
November 25, 2001

Hot damn - shotgun deer-hunting season begins tomorrow in the commonwealth. Bambi beware, because the drunken nimrods can start blasting away at you one-half hour - that is, approximately two beers - before dawn.

It'll be a perilous day to have antlers. If you're a cow, you'd be well-advised to paint yourself orange. And the biggest casualties of the day are going to be stop signs and, it goes without saying, Budweiser beers.

Of course, despite the toll of drunken carnage extracted in the woods every year, the pro-hunting forces see it as a ``sport,'' which in fact it would be, but only if the deer were armed.

``People are in greater jeopardy rushing to the newsstand to read your column than they are walking in the woods,'' said Bill Davis, a state wildlife biologist. ``Injuries to nonparticipants in this state are nonexistent and to participants dwindling.''

Oh sure, Bill. Tell it to the great cheese state of Wisconsin. Four Elmer Fudd wannabes were ``harvested'' by their own guns last weekend. A fifth hunter, a 12-year-old boy, died last Monday when his shotgun ``discharged unexpectedly.''

Them bleepin' deer, they're getting sneakier every year.

Did you ever notice how many hunting fatalities involve family members? A few cousins traipse into the woods, all likkered up, and pretty soon the ones who aren't in body bags are posting bond. That's why they call it a bonding experience.

A few recent hunting stories from the wires:

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. - A hunter named Samuel Matt was fatally shot in the back by his 20-year-old nephew when the younger man ``fell and tripped,'' blasting Uncle Sam in the back.

MONTREAL - A 66-year-old man was under arrest after ``accidentally'' shooting his 39-year-old son while hunting in the Eastern Townships.

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - A study at Marshall University indicates 84 hunters in the Mountaineer State have been hospitalized over seven years after falling out of tree stands.

On one particularly gruesome day in West Virginia earlier this month, a local optometrist toppled to his death out of a tree stand - he was No. 85 in the survey, I suppose. That overshadowed the shooting of a turkey-hunting doctor and a squirrel hunter, both of whom were wounded in separate incidents when they were ``mistaken for game.''

What hurts worse, a load of birdshot to the backside or knowing some blaze-vested tosspot thought you were a squirrel?

These morons kill themselves in the darnedest ways. Sometimes they plunge off country roads into rivers and drown. Or they leave their children in pickup trucks to freeze to death. In Charleston, N.Y., last spring, a 47-year-old hunter saw an injured turkey, stopped to shoot it and ended up shooting himself in the face.

The turkey survived. The bird, I mean. The hunter was DOA.

But the most dangerous predators in the woods for the next two weeks will be hunters with a load on. Just ask Richard Johnson, an ex-game warden up in Jackson, Maine. He wanted some hunter yahoos from Rhode Island to leave his property. He couldn't find them, so he left a note on their truck and then stuck a stick in the front seat that kept the truck's horn blaring.

A few minutes later, two pick-up trucks full of people whose president is Charlton Heston pulled up in Mr. Johnson's driveway. The first thing the Second Amendment devotees did was knock the hat off his head. Later, from the hospital, Mr. Johnson said the last thing he remembered was bending over to pick up his hat.

"I guess they mopped the dooryard with me,'' he told the local paper.

When he came to, Johnson had a concussion, blood spots in three different parts of his brain, a broken nose, bruises and an arm he could no longer lift.

Poor Johnson. But maybe he got off easy. Consider what kind of a butt-kicking the Rhode Island hunters might have put on him if he'd posted his land.

Yee-haw! Get them emergency rooms ready. Leroy and Billy Bob is taking a day off from the car wash tomorrow, and they's gonna bag their selves a 12-pointer. Or at least a cow or two.

Howie Carr's radio show can be heard every weekday afternoon on WRKO-AM 680.

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