Friday, October 13, 2006

More Hunting On Sunday

My Friend Jim From the Herald in Canada worte a great article on this topic and agreed to let me share it on my blog.

Thanks Jim!!!

Meek for Herald
For Oct. 7, 2006

“Now it’s time for Sunday hunting”

Now that we’re among the global sophisticates who can shop at Wal-Mart on Sundays, someone has to stand up for the “Men in Orange” – the guys who go into the woods of Nova Scotia and fire bullets at God’s creatures.

And that someone is me.

Hunting is now the only activity I can think of that is utterly banned on Sunday – or what used to be known as the “Lord’s Day”. And it is palpably unfair that this is so. I say this as a non-hunting city dweller who doesn’t much care for the sport. But I say that my values are less important than their rights – and I say it seriously.

To the media and political elite in Halifax, hunters are forgotten people. They are neither urban nor urbane, and like barn-raisings and bingo games, they seem like quaint relics of a dimly-remembered past.

But I’ve got news for you city folk.

To begin with, Nova Scotia has thousands of hunters who love their sport. If they are qualified, they can bait bears, trap beavers and shoot deer. If they win a loto, they can even hunt moose in the Highlands of Cape Breton.

And why should people be allowed to golf on the old Christian Sabbath, but not be permitted to hunt? I mention the old links game with a purpose, for hunters and golfers are more alike than either would like to admit.

Like our distant ancestors, both types of sportsmen satisfy the primal male urge to carry spear-like devices into nature – and either whack or fire away at things.

What score did you “shoot” on the course yesterday, anyway? And were your irons “on target”?

And let’s not even mention hockey players, who are taught from a young age to use their sticks as weapons.

At least the hunters know what these rituals are about – they are about bringing down prey to feed families, getting through another hard winter, making life possible for another few months.

This is what primitive man did. And we don’t call ancient societies “hunting and gathering cultures” for nothing.

Men hunted animals while women gathered vegetative food and firewood, which helps explain why so many modern men prefer to golf and sweat and swear in the absence of distaff companions.

And ancient female “gathering” traditions have now evolved into “shopping” - on any day of the week.

Don’t get me wrong.

Shopping too is a profound ritual, the gathering of foods and goods – including $2,300 espresso machines - to make the home a safer, friendlier, warmer sanctuary.

Nor should it be a surprise that women sometimes want men nearer to hearth and home.

Those old hunting outings weren’t just fun for the boys. They were also dangerous – you could get lost, you could starve, you could die.

And if a man never came home, his family would suffer or die too. I know - you’ll tell me this has all changed. And I’ll ask you who takes the dangerous jobs today. And why did it seem that only women lost their firefighting partners five years ago, during the World Trade Center tragedy.

Call it love if you like - this womanly impulse to gather together the family, to keep everyone close and safe.

But it’s also about something that is more basic – survival.

Sunday was the traditional day for this “gathering-together” in our society. It was a holiday sanctioned by Christian tradition, just as Saturdays or Fridays were the “Sabbath” for people who followed Jewish or Islamic traditions.

The idea – a day of rest from hunting and shopping-gathering – was important then.

And by then, I mean last week in Nova Scotia.

But it’s not so important now. You can hire someone to do your shopping, and meet your kids once a week at a restaurant.

So if this is really a just, equitable, fair, and secular society, the liberalization of Sunday hunting laws will quickly follow the decision to open our stores on this former “day of rest”.

Who am I to fight progress, after all?

So call me Iron Jim, and meet me on the first tee on Sunday morning. Just don’t bring your shooting irons to the golf course.

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