circa 1975 Sense and Nonsense

Tomorrow is the first day of hunting season. The rifles have been sighted in, the regulations deciphered and there is anticipation in the heart of the hunter.

There is anticipation in the heart of the hunter’s wife, too, as she cleans the home freezer of last year’s crop of Swiss chard and the freezer-burned bear ribs that someone told her make “wonderful sweet and sours”.

There are two schools of thought regarding bear meat. Some say, “Throw away the meat and keep the fat.” Others consider the fat superfluous and insist that the meat is a delicacy.

Someday (when I’m hungry enough) I may venture an unbiased opinion on the subject.

I read a very funny article in an Outdoor Life magazine entitled “Let’s go Deer Hunting, Honey.” It was written by a wife whose husband had magnanimously decided to invite her along on one of his hunting expeditions. It was her contention that some men (her husband included) “consider the days between Jan. 1st and Nov.1st as numbered squares put on the calendar solely for the purpose of separating one deer season from the next.”

No wonder the Ray family calendar has so few pages… and I thought September 15th was New Years Day!

Some hunters will swear on a stack of “Outdoor Life” magazines that moose and deer can read and write. I doubt very much if they can write, but have often wondered whether they can read. Before and after hunting season, these animals are often visible and flaunt themselves fearlessly near human habitation. At dawn on the morn of hunting season, they pull the disappearing act.

If these animals can read they must also possess superb eyesight and super-human deciphering abilities. Last year’s set of hunting regulations was so complicated as to discourage the most fervent hunter. In Region 7 moose hunters were restricted to antlered bulls with “two tines or less.” In other regions they were not.

A large well-antlered bull was spotted, browsing contentedly somewhere near an invisible dividing line separating Regions 6 and 7. Nearby, a hunter was seen scanning a copy of the hunting regulations and frantically peering at tiny maps. I wonder if the fellow ever determined whether the multi-antlered animal was legal or not!

Last fall my cousin, whose husband is a biologist, wrote that the college where he teaches was suffering from a severe shortage of “moose teeth” for studies. The only teeth in our house were firmly embedded in human jaws, so I contacted the local Fisheries and Wildlife office.

I received a gracious reply assuring me that they would send their surplus teeth to the college after they had enough for their “own aging.”

My mind travels in peculiar circles (so I’ve been told) An incongruous picture of a group of game biologists worrying about dental problems in their declining years flashed through my mind.

Our resident hunter filled me in. Moose teeth grow in layers similar to the way trees grow. “Aging” describes the process of cutting a tooth and counting these layers to determine the age of the animal.

I understand the BC Minister of the Environment had recently approved an 18,000 dollar programme to collect and study moose droppings. The government plans on asking help from the public and will pay for collected specimens.

Maybe I’ll accompany my husband on his hunting expeditions…. while he’s searching for a moose I’ll gather up some profitable evidence of where it’s been!





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