In a strange way I feel like a real American now. Armed to defend life, liberty, etc.; well, at least life on my side of the muzzle. Never thought I would own one. I remember as a kid playing at a family cabin with a neighbor with a pellet gun and he shot a bird, an Oregon Junko, a tiny bird and actually an extraordinary shot. I remember the bird looking at me before his eyes glazed over as if to say, “Dude, did you really need this? WTF?” It struck me as a stupid, wasteful thing to do and I pretty much hated guns after that.
Fast forward thirty-five years and my son wants a pellet gun. I remember the Junko. I say,” No.” Turns into one of the epiphinal moments that will inevitably happen between generations, between fathers and sons, where the son looks up with Junko eyes as if to say, “You’re killing something here that need not be killed.”
Fast forward another decade and a half and I’m managing a vineyard and spraying lots of Roundup. Not really liking it but spraying with a vengeance nonetheless having learned the first year the weeds would not respect the kinder, gentler approach. We are rafting the Grand Ronde river in Oregon and happen upon a group of environmental interns spraying Roundup on invasive species with their faces twisted into snarls. It struck me.
The gun is really about the deer eating my grapevines. It’s a 30.06 with evil l00king three inch cartridges. I stalk the deer. I walk their paths, I know where they sleep, yet in the steep terrain I move with all the delicacy of a Panzer division. They know I’m there. That may be all I need. Having seen no deer I put the crosshairs on rocks, and trees. The shots echo across the canyon. I’m getting better.
If I ever shoot a deer I will dress it and eat it. Waste is evil. Nature isn’t nice.