No, I am not a hunter — unless I’m looking for my glasses or cell phone.
I grew up in the city, and my pal Grubby and I would take our Red Ryder BB guns and go over to the city dump and hunt rats. Some of them were as big as raccoons.
My mother had a fit when I told her about our hunting trips.
I also want to say that I do not have a problem with hunting as long as the hunters know what they are doing and they eat what they kill. There are a lot of hunters who kill for the fun of the kill. I’m sorry to say, but I have a problem with that.
When I came to Wilmington College, two of my fraternity brothers (Gobblers) were from Jamestown and lived on farms. When football season ended, they asked me if I would like to go hunting — and according to them, the best pheasant hunting in Ohio was around Jamestown.
One said he had a 12-gauge shotgun I could use. I had no idea what he was talking about, but 12 was a low number, so I thought I could handle that.
I didn’t even know what a pheasant looked like, but it sounded like an adventure.
Driving to Jamestown, they gave me a mini course in hunting, and the one thing I thought made good sense was not to fire the gun if one of us was in the line of fire. I should have stopped right there, but I respected that rule for sure.
As we walked toward one of many fields, they said to fire the gun into the air, since I have never fired a shotgun before. The gun slammed against my shoulder so hard it almost knocked me down, and I was sore for a week or more.
Walking three abreast, with me in the middle, we had walked maybe 100 yards and a pheasant flew up right toward me. I looked to the right and I saw my friend’s gun heading over my head with the bird about 10 feet above.
I didn’t know that you could dig a hole that deep with your bare hands. He thought it was funny; I did not…
That day I did not fire my gun a single time after that practice shot. My friends got a pheasant, two or three rabbits, and a dozen or so other birds from sparrows to crows. When it moved, the one friend shot it.
That was my one and only hunting experience.
My wife is from New Vienna, and the week of Thanksgiving her dad and brothers and several relatives would hunt. Much of what they shot ended up on the Thanksgiving table. I recall her Uncle Russ, near 90 years old, came back from hunting so tired he crawled up the back steps and took a nap on the washroom floor.
Her dad had this oversize hunting jacket — he would pull out of the pockets a pheasant, several rabbits, maybe a quail. It had seen many a hunting trips and was very bloodstained and ugly.
Eating Thanksgiving dinner was something I will always remember. You would be chewing on a piece of the hunted game and several small pellets of shot might fall on your plate; or worse, you might swallow them.
Although I never hunted again, I have great memories of those days.
Tony Lamke of Wilmington writes a periodic column for AIM Media Midwest. He can be reached at [email protected]