Washington’s “waterfowl” (duck and goose) season is finally over—and not a moment too soon. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Elmers were out in force on the last day of the season, declaring all-out war-on-all-things-avian for the last time…until the next fall.
But the war is over for now and, as if right on cue, the geese are pairing up for their breeding season. Hunting them this time of year is especially cruel, considering that geese mate for life.
Farley Mowat writes here of the wrongheadedness of hunting intelligent animals such as geese:
the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that cam drifting, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. The sound of the shots seemed puny, and was lost at once in the immensity of wind and wings.
One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiralled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstreched, calling…calling…calling after the fast-disappearing flock.
Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done…