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Hunters From Indiana

and in other news....

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, October 23, 1996.

One of the happier events in the news of late. A spate of hunters around the nation are turning in their more disgusting members. Just recently, four psychotic yo-yo’s from Indiana were arrested after being turned in by other hunters in their home sate. Why? These drunken morons videotaped themselves while going to, being in, returning from Colorado. During this trip, they shot elk, deer, magpies, porcupines without actually leaving the car. They just killed these things, anything that moved, in season or out, for the.....what? Thrill of it? And bragging about it to acquaintances back home in the Hoosier State.

Actually, I may have lied a little here. I said they were drunken morons. I can only hope they were drunken morons.

The good new is, there are hunters who shoot to eat, or at least who respect the woods and animals, and if I can beef about hunting as a sport, I can acknowledge there is honor there. Because in Indiana, these four men were turned in by nauseated hunters. I know for a fact there are many places that would not have done that, because you don’t rat on neighbors and you don’t want to give hunting bad press.

But Colorado isn’t one of them. We have a long overdue measure against small animal traps and snares this year. Encourage passage. And we led the way in protecting the black bear. It was not so long ago that it was legal to hunt bears in the spring, when they are groggy from hibernation and protecting new born cubs. It was legal to hunt bears by leaving carcasses and other food in a clearing and shooting from your he-man pick-up. It was legal to hunt bears with dogs, some with radio collars, so you could saunter in and shoot the treed bear after dogs and bear had ripped each other to shreds.

Defenders of this charming pastime point to the long hours and hard effort it takes to bag a bear. Well, duh. Supposedly, that’s the point: a demonstration of skill and endurance beyond the average. But since bears can be shot from places or helicopters or autos, why exhaust yourself?

A few weeks ago I was walking to visit a friend and crossed Boulder Valley Ranch, after an hour, I reached the parking area and found the gate locked with a sign saying “Bear Alert.” I looked back over my shoulder and quietly formed a question for the first authority figure I met, which was if you can only afford one sign, would you in the future post it at my entrance and not my exit.

Sure enough, along they came. Yes, there had been a bears. A small, black bear. Maybe a couple of years old. There was no danger if you had an IQ in three digits. No, we aren’t going to trap it unless it does something stupid. Yes, we think it will go back the way it came today or tomorrow. It made a wrong turn. Bye.

Nobody but me was in anyway agitated or alarmed, including people feeding their horses and cows. This, I thought, is very good. Nobody broke out a gun, or seemed to even think about it. Nobody was looking for an excuse to kill under the guise of protecting stock and people.