It’s Monday morning, August 20th, and although autumn—the traditional season for hunting—is over a month away, I’m already hearing the echo of gunfire emanating from the hills around my place. If I weren’t so damned informed, I’d be thinking, “What the hell is someone shooting at this time of year?” But unfortunately I know all too well…
Judging by the intensity of the rifle report, it is not the sound of a kid with a .22 blasting at bottles or pigeons this time. Considering that the noise originated in an area where black bears and blackberries are numerous, there’s no doubt in my mind that the shooter is a bear hunter. The wild berries are just now ripening and, since bear hunting season begins on August 1st here in Washington, the loathsome scum who enjoy making sport of animal murder are out trying to end the life of a humble being whose only focus these days is filling up on fresh fruit.
Adding to my frustration, there’s no way I can hike up there and check out the situation. My right foot has been out of commission for about a week now, ever since a log rolled onto it while I was cutting firewood. Every time I try to walk on it, the pain and swelling gets worse so I’m stuck having to sit with my foot elevated, wondering whether one of my neighborhood bears has been shot to death or is now suffering from a painful gunshot wound.
Misfortune and misery are already all too common. The last thing this world needs is for a few selfish people to thoughtlessly cause suffering in the name of sport.