Monday, November 22, 2010

On avoiding getting shot


It's hunting season, which means the return of the sudden "blam" somewhere disconcertingly close to my house...followed by one or two more shots as I envision a panicked animal trying desperately to flee the inevitable. I understand why we hunt, and I appreciate those who have the courage to source their food while I whimper in line at the grocery store meat counter, buying anonymous flesh that's been tidied up by an equally anonymous stranger. I get it.

But still, every time I hear one of the shots, chills run down my spine.

November is also the return of what's called "blaze orange," a near-fluorescent incarnation of orange that could not possibly exist in nature. We clothe ourselves in this ghastly hue from head to toe in an attempt not to get shot. Where I live, we wear blaze orange when taking walks in the woods, when walking our dogs, when getting the mail, and even when walking out to the car in the morning.

It baffles me, but here people here are allowed to shoot at things on other people's land. What makes sense in theory becomes far more upsetting when you hear tales of women shot dead while hanging their laundry - and the hunter being dismissed with an understanding nod because, well, she sure did look like a deer to him. (In case you were wondering, there's always an abundance of empty beer cans in the woods after hunting season.)

Besides pinning blaze orange fabric all over your body, the only other way to avoid getting shot in your own yard is to post your land, which instead involves stapling signs every few feet around the entire perimeter of your property. An added benefit of posting your land is that you will also alienate yourself from pretty much everybody in town - the guys who plow the road, deliver your oil, and volunteer for the fire department. People with whom it's wise to stay on friendly terms.

So, since the woods are stocked with semi-intoxicated men with loaded guns who are really quite eager to fire at something, I tend to spend my November nesting inside. I find the orange of these maple pumpkin Claramels with ginger cinnamon pecans far more attractive than blaze orange. And if I eat enough of them, I'll be too full to leave the house at all - thus keeping me safe from hunters for another year.

It's an idea, right?

11 comments:

Denise said...

I lived near a woods for a few years and I can remember hearing gun shots all November. Luckily, they weren't allowed to shoot within so many yards of houses.

Those candies look yummy.

Jane said...

I'm listening to the pop pop now, safe in my little home. I don't have Claramels, though.

Minh said...

You just solved one of my eternal questions when I go to Maine "why does it say "Posted" everywhere?"

Stay warm and safe!

melissaknits said...

Here, we call them Six Pack Hunters. And we dress in Hi-Vis yellow, and pray a lot when we go for the mail. And I kill my own food....

besshaile said...

Oh it's too bad the people who hunt in your area are so ... bad. Everybody hunts around here and though there once was a hunting accident back in the 1970s that's the only one I am aware of. He was hurt but not badly. The local Baptist church participates in Hunters for the Hungry and have four commercial freezers they fill and distribute from every year, donating thousands of meals.

some of our land is not open for hunting and we were just walking through it a week ago - no evidence of litter, trash or alcohol. I guess it just depends on the hunters. Sorry yours are the crummy kind.

Liz said...

We're holed up, too. Can't wait for hunting season to be over... hopefully we can get a few walks in the woods before the snow gets too deep... ahh well... that is what snowshoes are for!

Kim S. said...

A few years ago when we had just become fond of hiking here in Michigan, we were sent running back to the car after shots rang out in the woods where we were hiking. Ever since then I've been afraid to hike in the fall. Good thing we have our wool for indoor days, huh?

Liz said...

The kids are banned from going into our woods without an adult chaperone until hunting season ends. Sometimes, hunters on adjoining land "forget" where the boundary walls are...
Those Claramels look tasty! Happy Thanksgiving.

Jennifer said...

Oh, that is really terrible that the hunters in your area are not more responsible, and thoughtful of others. The old adage "Just because you CAN ..." comes to mind. It would be nice if they asked to hunt on your property, at least out of consideration and respect.

It's different in this part of VA. I think the "old timers" used to be more like your neighbors, but now, if you're hunting on someone else's property, you better have a signed permission slip from the landowner on your person, all the time.

Living with an uber-responsible and frenetically careful hunter, I just cannot fathom anyone going into the woods with a weapon and alcoholic beverages. The epitome of stupidity.

And don't even get me started on not being held accountable for killing someone "by accident." Hunters need to be responsible for their own actions, just like everyone else.

Personally, I think hunting while under the influence should have the same consequences as driving while under the influence.

cat said...

I can personally vouch for the truth of this posting...since I clothed myself in shocking orange to go for a hike with you, and returned home to eat lots of your unbelievably delicious Claramels. Where I live (WA), hunters must carry written permission of private landowners to hunt on their land. And I think of my deer as family.

fig said...

I can relate, Clara. I raised my three daughters in rural Alabama in a farmhouse bordering wooded area beloved of hunters. The sounds of gunfire used to be quite unsettling, even as we stayed inside and baked a lot and played too much Barbies to escape it. Hey, a wee sampling of your Claramels sure would help purge these scary memories you've dredged up for me. How bout it?