Saturday, January 15, 2011

Poor Bambi

My son-in-law Wade is a big-time hunter which is ironic since my daughter is an animal lover.
While he looks forward to heading out on the next deer-elk-antelope-moose-bear-whatever hunt, Kari prays for non-success.
He comes home with a kill proud and happy.
She freezes over to find freshly bagged meat in the refrigerator.
So when he told her he was invited to go on a buffalo hunt, she was less than impressed.
But the trip was pretty much his friend Wade's idea and undertaking so she agreed to support the fun.
Off he went to a little town in Montana that sponsors a buffalo hunt at $800 a pop.
The town is near an Indian reservation so the buffalo there are off-limits except to the Native Americans. It's also next to a wildlife preserve so the buffalo there are off-limits.
The buffalo in the town proper are so domesticated that it would be unsportsmanlike to shoot them and besides, one could hit a townsperson so shooting inside the town limits is off-limits.
A real guy
That leaves a narrow band of land open to hunters which is frustrating to them since the buffalo all seem to know that's a danger zone.
Wade and Wade and his friend's dad drove for 8 hours to get to the hunt. Then they tramped around all day long searching for a hapless buffalo buck who wanted to become a family room rug or wall trophy.
Finally, discouraged and mad, they were ready to give it up when they ran into a wildlife officer. He said the agency had just pushed a herd into the hunting zone so their chances of success were better.
They stayed and soon spotted a herd of about a dozen buffalo hanging out in the grass.
Here was their chance but they couldn't tell if any of the beasts were bucks.
"They're big," said the friend's dad. "Look for a big one."
But they were all big.
Wade told Wade he thought a particular buffalo could be a buck but he wasn't sure.
Agitated and unsure, Wade tried to wait when the herd started to suspect something was up. When they began to pack up to leave, he shot.
A buffalo fell. The others scattered, except for one — a young buffalo calf who started to wail.
Oh no. Had he killed the baby buffalo's mother?
He hoped not. He told himself the chances were slim. Any of the other cows could be the mom. What are the odds, anyway?
But when they returned the next morning to harvest their kill, the baby was still standing a few feet away, unwilling to leave the dead buffalo's side.
It was true. They killed Bambi Bison's mom.
I'm horrified. And while the bison steak I tried a while ago hurt my tummy, this hurts my heart.

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