Carnival of the Badger:

I see that Uncle Jimbo is going to be hosting the Carnival of the Badger, a blogger carnival about things associated with Wisconson. I don't ever get around to participating in these carnivals, though I probably should -- I just don't have the time to remember or keep up with them. Maybe I should appoint a Hall Warden in charge of making sure we get into at least a few of these things, like the Carnival of Cordite.

Anyway, this blog has nothing whatever to do with Wisconson, but Jimbo is doing hunting stories and I happen to know a couple of good ones. So, for your amusement, here is "Trophy Hunting for Dummies," or, "The Story of How Someone Gave Up Hunting Once and For All."

I have this story second hand, from a friend of mine down Atlanta way. An old friend of his had always lived in Atlanta, but had grown up on the great tales of safaris and hunters: Theodore Roosevelt's writings, the autobiography of Col. Patterson, the works of H. R. Haggard, that sort of thing. The Patterson book in particular could inspire a PETA volunteer to want to get out on safari at least once in his life.

So finally, one year this fellow decided that he would go wild boar hunting. You can do this down South pretty easily -- I don't know if they still do it, but they used to have annual wild pig hunts on Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast, and there are wild pigs all through Alabama and south Georgia. They're mean, dangerous animals and a man could feel like an honest-to-goodness big game hunter if he had successfully tracked one and taken it.

My old martial arts instructor, Ken Caton, used to hunt them with a boar spear. This fellow wasn't that brave, however -- he just wanted to hunt one. So, he found a place out in Alabama where he could hire a professional hunter to help him. He took his rifle, and went out.

The pro quickly came to understand how low the skill level was here, so he took the guy off to a tree stand and put him up in it. "The pigs come down this trail to the water," the pro explained. "Just wait here, quiet like, and you should get one." The pro went off, and the fellow waited. All day. No pigs.

Along about sundown, the pro came back. "Get any?" he asked.

"I haven't even seen any," the poor fellow said.

"Huh," the pro said. "Well, I think they might be coming any time now, what with sunset coming on. Just, ah, wait here."

The pro left again, and a few minutes later our friend heard what sounded like an all-terrain vehicle running around the brush. Sure enough, suddenly down out of the brush came a whole mess of the pigs, running in terror before the pro on his four-wheeler.

"Shoot! Shoot!" the guide called.

He just couldn't shoot. It wasn't right.

Now, this didn't put an end to the hunting thing. You don't give up on a lifelong dream just because of one bad experience. Roosevelt wouldn't have! So our boy sulked about it all winter and summer, but early next fall he booked a trip. This time there wasn't going to be any canned hunt; and this time, he was going to have the hunt of a lifetime. He booked his trip in Canada's north, way out in the wilderness.

His quarry? Bull moose.

Now, again, being a city boy he hired a professional guide to help him along. This guy was a real hunter, and together they carefully made their way into the forests and hills of Canada. Far away from civilization, they entered Bull Moose country.

Bull Moose are notoriously dangerous and bad tempered. The stories about them are downright frightening, and furthermore they are huge. So our city boy was a little nervous, fingering his rifle uncertainly as they proceeded through the grasses. Finally, the guide tapped his shoulder and pointed. A long rifle-shot off, standing by a lightly-wooded lake, a big bull was taking a drink of water.

Our hunter moved in closer, to be sure of his shot. He carefully, quietly got into position and slowly brought his rifle to bear.

Just before he could fire, the wind shifted. The moose raised his head, and looked right at him! The man froze. The moose froze.

Then, very carefully, the moose stepped sideways behind a thin little aspen tree. It just hid his eyes, but of course his great big shoulders and antlers stood out on either side, clear as can be. Having slipped into his clever hiding place, the moose stood perfectly still.

"Shoot!" whispered the guide urgently. But our boy couldn't shoot. It was just too pathetic. Instead, he laughed out loud, and laid down his rifle.

He took the story home instead of the antlers. It was probably a better trophy anyway.

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