I didn’t remember setting my alarm to “gunfire” last night…or setting it to “before dawn”. But today I was rousted from my sleep, pre-daylight by the sound of an artillery battery practicing the 1812 overture.
I guess it’s shooting sleeping duck season. I assume that because, I guess ducks have to sleep sometime, and the sun has yet to rise on the snowy New England scene. I have to admit I do not come from a hunting tradition. We grew up in North Hollywood in the 1950’s. The closest we got to hunting was a Snipe Hunt at Boy Scout camp. My Dad always told the story of his Uncle bringing home pheasant and how he always got at least one buckshot pellet in his dinner. I think that turned him off.
When I think of hunting I always think of the illustrations I remember seeing in magazines growing up…the Abercrombie and Fitch ads
We can tackle that aberration at a later date.
Now – back to this hunting thing and why the hell do you have to do it at 5 am? Oh sure, I know ducks are wily creatures…what with them sitting motionless in a body of water with iridescent green heads. Yup…ya gotta get up pretty early to catch them doing what they do all day long. Oh right…they got that flying thing. Well, hunters do have that shotgun thing.
A shotgun is the point and shoot of firearms. It requires aiming in the direction of your target and making sure it’s not a political ally of some kind. It’s sort of like fishing with sticks of dynamite.
In New Jersey there were hunters. They were bow hunters…they were quiet. They were more like assassins. They tied little chairs up in trees and sat there until something they wanted to kill walked by. I guess that’s from the legacy of our Native American friends (formerly known as Indians) the Delaware tribe who, interestingly, lived in New Jersey and New York.
We all, presumably, learned of the exploits of the Delaware tribe from the stories of Natty Bumppo…the last of the Mohicans. Being from New Jersey he went by many aliases – Straight-Tongue, The Pigeon, Lap-Ear, Deerslayer, Hawkeye, La Longue Carabine, Pathfinder and Leatherstocking.
Which reminds me of an incident from my high school years. In wood shop, at the beginning of the semester you picked a project. I had a friend who decided to make a crossbow. The kit included the bow and the hardware, you had to make the stock. At the end of the semester he had built a beautiful crossbow…fortunately the school rules required his parents to come to school and pick up the arrows.
We, being typical adolescent boys, felt that the sooner the bow was tested the better. So we began a search for a suitable substitute for a crossbow arrow. I’m proud to claim that it was my idea to use a triangle ruler we liberated from the drafting class. It fit perfectly into the groove and was about the length of the actual arrows.
We, of course needed a suitable target. The shop classes were right next to the brand new gym building so taking the “broad side of a barn” analogy to heart we snuck around the back of the gym. There, the woodworker in question pulled back the bow, loaded the drafting ruler and let fly.
Have you ever seen photos of pieces of straw driven through a telephone pole by a tornado? Well, evidently a crossbow approximates the velocity of a tornado’s winds. The ruler made a direct hit on the cement block gym wall and embedded itself into the wall exactly 7 3/4 inches. I know…it was a ruler…
I believe his parents “put it away”. Which is parent-speak for “You’ll never see this again”.
It’s 9 am, I’m fully awake, the guns are silenced…can you find the duck hunters in the picture?
Damn, those ducks will never see them…in their living room
As a side note: This will be the last blast from this bully pulpit until the new year as we are embarking on our Holiday Cross Country Junket. And what the hell …it’s duck season.