Aw, Shoot!

By Alisa Mullins and Carla Bennett

Want to commit the perfect murder? Get a gun and hunting license. Then
"accidentally" shoot your victim, and just say, "Oops."

There are so many hunting "accidents" that People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA) has toyed with the idea of quitting their campaign against
killing for kicks and just letting the good ol' boys keep pulling those
triggers as fast as they pull Budweiser tabs and finish themselves off.

For example, there were seven gunfire deaths in the nine-day gun season in
Wisconsin that ended Nov. 25, but Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) conservation warden Bill Schwengel called it the fifth safest season on
record.

As the hunters are shooting innocent bystanders as well as animals and other
nimrods, PETA offers this advice to everyone aiming to get through hunting
season alive.

  • Wear a fluorescent orange vest. A Wisconsin woman walking her two dogs
    down a public street was fatally shot by a man in a wooded area who said he
    thought she was a deer. She was wearing a white cap and dark clothing. Her
    mistake. DNR's Bill Schwengel said people who live in hunting areas should
    wear bright colors or the standard blaze orange during the season. And DNR's
    Tom Bokelman backed him up, saying the hunter did not break the law, because
    he was more than 50 feet from the center of the road. But who would have
    thought a deer would be walking dogs?

  • Forget wearing a fluorescent orange vest. In California, a 67-year-old
    man killed his 39-year-old son in a hunting accident. He thought, naturally,
    that his son was a deer. The son was wearing a fluorescent vest. The father
    must have fallen for the silly rumor that spread like wildfire through
    newspaper outdoors columns last year that PETA had outfitted a bunch of deer
    with these vests. (For the record, we couldn't find any in their size.)

  • Don't walk around with a turkey decoy under your arm. In South Carolina,
    a man carrying a turkey decoy under his arm was shot by a hunter who thought
    the decoy was real, fired at it and hit the victim. Those decoys are foolers,
    by golly, even under someone's arm. .

  • Don't get out of your tree stand. In New York, Benjamin Peterson was shot
    and killed by Brian Racks while the two were hunting deer. Racks said he
    thought Ben was in a tree stand or ahead of him, so when he saw Peterson he
    thought he was a deer and pulled the trigger..

  • Don't blush, wear blush or get sunburned. In Kentucky, a hunter saw
    something red behind a tree and thought it was a turkey. The victim whistled
    to signal his presence and then yelled, "Don't shoot!" But the hunter shot
    him anyway. Here again, the victim had only himself to blame. He wasn't
    wearing a face mask-a necessity according to the Hunter Education
    Association-and the hunter thought his red face was a turkey. (He many have
    had wattles, too.)

  • Don't sit or sleep in bed during hunting season. A four-year-old Maryland
    boy was struck by a hunter's bullet as he lay in bed sleeping.

  • Don't go out in your yard. A woman in Maine who dared venture into her
    own back yard was shot to death by a hunter who mistook her for a deer. It
    was her own fault, though. She was wearing a pair of white mittens and,
    oops!, the hunter mistook them for a deer's tail. With a woman attached. Next
    to a house.

  • Don't stop to fix your car. A New Jersey couple was shot by deer hunters
    while tending to their disabled vehicle alongside the road.

  • Don't amble out to the mailbox, birdfeeder or other distant destination.
    A New Hampshire man took a hunter's bullet within 500 feet of his house. He
    should have heeded Eric Seaborg's advice in the Washington Post: "On the days
    designated 'either sex,' when hunters don't even have to pretend to see
    antlers, we go to the movies."

  • Keep all your animals, including cows, indoors. Animals in a variety of
    shapes and sizes are frequently shot by hunters "by mistake," including an
    Olympics-bound Belgian draft horse named Big Foot. (Now that's a BIG deer!)
    One hunter who fired after he "saw the antlers" chased down his wounded
    quarry to find a black bear.

  • Don't be in a Christmas display. This means you, too, Santa. Last week
    Blitzen, a tame reindeer, wandered off from a Christmas display at a garden
    center in Pennsylvania and was shot and killed by a hunter. He'll have a
    tough time explaining that one to the kids.

All these deaths were stupid, tragic accidents. The wounding and killing of
millions of animals this year was done on purpose. Whatever the reasons
behind all this mayhem, it's time to stop slaughtering for sport. We should
have progressed beyond this by now.

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