A true story about turkey hunting in the Missouri Ozarks and how things can just go all to shit when you least expect it.
If it seems like I’ve been doing this a long time it’s because I’ve been doing this a long time. My first cartoon about outdoor sports was published in Sports Afield…or maybe it was Field & Stream, in 1964.It was followed by a long stream of others too humorus to mention.
A recent Associated Press article in the Florida Times Union States that Governor Ron Desantis signed a bill to protect black bears against poachers. I don’t even like poached eggs so I can imagine how yucky a poached bear would taste.
Anyway, the main reason some people were poaching bears is because the Florida bear population has skyrocketed. Which is a good thing if you like bears. In the ‘70s the Florida black bear population was only in the low hundreds. It has now rebounded to around 4000. But some Floridians don’t LIKE bears, at least the ones that poop on their suburban yards and turn over their garbage cans which seems hypocritical to me because some HUMAN Floridians do these things all the time.
But wait… there’s MORE! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has drafted a 10-year management plan that it says takes a scientific approach toward addressing the rising bear numbers. And what is that plan, you ask? They are going to keep the bears off-limits to hunters. Do you see where I’m going with this? How is keeping more bears from winding up as a rug in front of the fireplace in some guy’s man-cave going to address the rising bear numbers?
I don’t know about you but I can’t bear to think about this any more.
They stalk the suburbs by night. With catlike quickness they pounce upon their unsuspecting prey. With no respect for the concept of fair play the nocturnal monsters toy with their helpless victims, often flinging them into the air or swatting them with cruel paws. Eventually tiring of this sadistic game, they commit the unthinkable… they DEVOUR their prey, often while the pitiful creatures ARE STILL ALIVE!
Though these hairy monsters assume their evil deeds are hidden by the cloak of darkness we, thanks to the ubiquitous trail cam, know the truth.
Every year hunting apparel manufacturers bring out at least one new camouflage pattern. Pity the poor soul who shows up at hunting camp sporting last year’s pattern. And if you’re seen wearing the original old government issue brown-over-more-brown pattern…well…turn in your man card and go play jumprope with the girls.
This story was published in the November 2003 issue of Bowhunting magazine.
I had just started writing and illustrating The Sporting Life column for Wyoming Wildlife News. My new Lab pup Maggie was ready to be trained. I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder so throwing training dummies for her was out. That’s how I came up with one-armed retriever training…indoor version.