The Hills Are a-LOUD with the Sound of Shooting

As seen in the fall 2016 issue of the C.A.S.H. (THE COMMITTEE TO ABOLISH SPORT HUNTING) Courier

by JIM ROBERTSON

Living as I had for nearly the past decade in Washington State’s Willapa Hills near the mouth of the Columbia River, that refrain all too often comes to mind with the first light of dawn this time of year. Nothing is more miraculous than a huge flock of dusky or cackling Canada geese passing right overhead. But every morning in the fall and winter this awe-inspiring scene is accompanied by the nerve-shattering sounds of self-important nimrods blindly blasting through the fog. Whether for fun or to fill their freezer with flesh, the slaughter is all really in the name of sport. While spring is the season for baseball in this country, fall seems to be the in-season for killing.

If only more hunters would be like Canadian author, Farley Mowat, when he turned his back on the carnage for good: “…and then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that drifted, 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. “One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiraled 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 outstretched, calling….calling….calling after the fast disappearing flock. “Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world–a world of oneness–and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity. I never hunted for sport again.”

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

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