Antonin Scalia is dead, a famous U.S. Supreme Court judge who loved to hunt. He died in bed on a hunting trip, apparently of natural causes.
There were 35 hunters in his group. They flew to a farm in Texas designed to give folks with money a chance to spend it shooting wildlife.
I’m not interested in Judge Scalia's court decisions or who will replace him. I’m interested in what motivated him to hunt. He made enough money to buy his meat. So I have to assume he hunted for sport.
My question has always been, where’s the sport?
Where’s the sport in hunting down and killing an animal you might not eat but want to stuff and hang over your mantel?
I don’t hunt or fish but I would if I didn’t earn enough to feed a family. Any edible animal in season I would kill so we could eat. So killing an animal isn’t the issue. It’s why an animal is killed that I sometimes don’t understand.
I see no sport in shooting quail or duck or deer or any animal that cannot kill me and simply wants to be left alone to eat and mate.
Nor do I see any sport in pulling a giant bass out of the water simply because it fights so hard to stay there and would make a great trophy.
As a kid I fished for bluegill and catfish and if we caught any, someone’s mother fried them up and we ate every one.
We didn’t fish for sport. We fished to eat the fish. Truth be told, I just went along with friends who came from families who fished but the lady who fried those fish knew what she was doing. Nothing quite like a plateful of fried catfish with hush puppies, slaw and fries.
But I still need someone to tell me where the sport lies in killing a wild animal that can’t kill me and doesn’t even want to see me. Don’t tell me they’re tough to corner and expect that to be an answer. I’d be tough to corner too if someone was coming at me with a gun.
If I wanted to kill for sport, I'd join the army and look forward to killing people who wanted to kill my fellow citizens and me. I’d have no problem shooting the enemy provided they wanted to bomb our country or spread chemical gas in our subways. They would be fair game in my eyes.
So would anyone coming through my bedroom window at midnight.
But I see no sport in shooting wild animals. Except, of course, for a mountain lion jumping off a cliff and about to land on me. Or a cottonmouth in the grass ready to strike just above my ankle. But that’s not sport—that’s survival.
If someone who hunts for sport reads this, please tell us your side. Maybe Judge Scalia addressed this issue at some point in his life, and I might use Google to try to find his explanation. But in the meantime, I thought others who hunt for sport and not for food might like to explain where the sport is.
So far, I can’t find it.
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here: http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html