Don’t Forget Your Orange Vest (I Hate Hunting Season)

Every year at this time, hunters are out in the woods shooting at stuff.  Ideally they only shoot at what they can clearly see are deer.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I read this article in the Worcester Telegram on Tuesday morning, and ran on the road instead of in the woods (that was short-lived).

There is no hunting allowed on Sundays, so we don’t even have to think about not running that day.  The rest of the time, there is no hunting allowed on the east side of the river.  That theoretically means that running on the east side is safe. But during the whole run, I wonder how far a bullet (piece of shotgun shell?) can travel.  In some places the river isn’t very wide, and a hunter would never even know they shot someone on the other side.

I’m trying to be charitable, and think that hunters only have the woods for a few weeks, while the rest of us have the other eleven months.  Turns out I was wrong about that.  I found this chart from Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife that lists hunting seasons for all sorts of things.  There is hunting allowed for something almost all year long.

Some of these things make perfect sense to hunt.  Deer are good to eat, and so are wild turkeys.  I suppose that other birds like quail, ducks, and pheasant would also make good eating.  Rabbits too, but I’d have to be awfully hungry to eat a squirrel. But I don’t like the idea of killing stuff just for trophies, that’s sort of like killing trees to be Christmas decorations.  It just seems wrong.  But why else would someone hunt a fox, coyote, raccoon,  beavers, or opossum? Doesn’t seem like they would be good to eat.

And then there are seasons to hunt some really weird things. Crows can be hunted for most of the year, except during the early summer. Frogs can be hunted at the end of the summer, and snapping turtles can be hunted all year long. What does one do with a bunch of dead crows or turtles.  Not eat them I hope!

Most things are hunted with some sort of gun (rifle, shotgun, or primitive firearms).  Deer can also be hunted with a bow, and you can use a falcon to hunt for crows (I didn’t realize people still did that!) That seems a little more fair.  After all, the deer or turkeys can’t shoot back. There was an article in this morning’s Telegram about a guy who harvested (killed, not harvested.  Let’s not be mincing words here) a record size deer with a bow in Rutland last week. That’s sportsmanship!

But now that I know that some kind of hunting can go on year-round, I’m back to resenting the hunters.  Most of us (except for the dog people) share the trails very nicely.  By the time deer hunting season ends, there may be snow covering the trails.  Snowshoeing is always an option, but it’s not as good as running.  So here’s hoping for a snowless winter. And I’ve invested in a couple of bright orange running tops, and a neon yellow jacket.  One of those combined with purple tights, bright green shoes, and pink gloves, should make it clear that I’m not something to be shot at.

Now go out and run, but stay on the east side of the river, and don’t forget your orange vest!

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