Living near prime wildlife habitat means that at any given moment you might get to see Vs of migratory ducks or cackling Canada geese flying right overhead. If you’re lucky, trumpeter swans might be among the waterfowl feeding and calling in the nearby estuary. And wood ducks or hooded mergansers might pay your inland pond a visit while searching for a quiet place to nest.
The down side of living near a natural wonderland? Being awakened Sunday morning at first light by the repeated volley of shotgun blasts, as though all-out war has been declared on all things avian (as is currently happening this morning). The Elmers out there (no doubt dressed in the latest expensive camo-pattern—a fashion statement apparently meant to impress the other Elmers out there) must be reveling in the fact that the dense morning fog allows them to “sneak” (in their loud outboard motor boats) up close enough to the flocks so that a large number of birds will end up dead, winged or otherwise wounded when they stand up and spray lead.
Duck hunting is the ultimate betrayal. It happens well into the winter, long after about other any hunting season is over, when the birds are congregated in flocks on their wintering grounds. And it happens often on lands supposedly set aside as wildlife “refuges.” Pro-kill groups like Ducks Unlimited (DU—an acronym, or perhaps an abbreviation for “duh”) insist that they have the animals’ best interests in mind. But when it comes right down to it, all they really want to preserve land for is to have a playground for killing (just listen to them scream if you try to propose a refuge closed to hunting).
Interestingly, they always seem to choose Sunday as their special day for bird killing. It’s no secret that most American hunters count themselves as good Christians. In choosing to hunt in lieu of church this time of year, they must feel closest to their gods in the killing fields.