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Opinion

Hunters ready for buck season

November 17, 2006

Grab the guns and a case of Miller High Life. Yeah, it’s “gettin’ ta be dat time a-year,” as Da Yoopers -- singers of that god-awful “Turdy Point Buck” song -- would say. Time for Wisconsin and Minnesota’s most coveted holiday-that-really-isn’t-a-holiday: deer hunting season.

Many brave and still semi-intoxicated souls are going to stumble out of bed before daybreak this Saturday morning into the chilly autumn air hoping to bag the big one.

Hunting season is about the only time you’ll see grown men strutting around public establishments sporting their blaze orange apparel as if to say, “I am man; I have killed” -- or hope to kill, anyway.
And like the whitetails, these hunters gather at the local watering holes to mingle and discuss nice racks mounted on the deer they just tagged and the females surrounding them.

There’s a certain sense of camaraderie that comes with being a hunter. And hunting is a sport where intelligence or physical size isn’t tremendously important. Nearly anyone can succeed given the right setting.

Hunting, to give it its deserved credit, is a respectable sport. It represents one of the fiercest rivalries ever to grace the earth: man versus nature -- except man has a hunting rifle and nature is an innocent, unknowing animal that’s virtually colorblind. Even so, the playing field is leveled a bit because, let’s face it, it’s difficult to tango with Mother Nature.

To level the playing field even more, many hunters put a great deal of effort into making the season a successful one. They map terrain, scout possible tree stand locations and study weather reports leading up to opening day.

Hunting has its attractive, albeit dubious, aspects, because it’s not so much the particular act of hunting that hunters find appealing -- it’s everything else that is associated with hunting. The hunting cabins, the rifle calibers, the outdoors, the gross beer, the scratching, the farting -- all part of the enticing hunting environment.

Some knock the morality or integrity of the sport, but they seem to be missing the bigger picture. There was once a time when hunting animals was essential to human survival, and its ritualistic practice a means of celebrating a practical tradition. Furthermore, deer hunting is a method of managing deer populations, which keeps them from being stuck to the front ends of cars.

Being part of a time-honored tradition that’s intended to control the overpopulation of a species: that’s what will be on my mind on Saturday morning -- that and the turdy-pointer.

Ben Jipson is a student at UW-River Falls.

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