The last two days saw high winds with higher gusts blowing intermittently. This is really not good weather for upland gunning. Still, I offered to take Mike, my newest hunting buddy, woodcock hunting on Sunday, the 23rd of October. It did not help that I woke up early Sunday morning reeling from a shocking headache and waves of nausea. “That’s what Advil and Pepto-Bismol are for,” I said to myself as I made ready to go meet Mike for our planned woodcock hunt. Despite the poor weather conditions and my personal malaise, I was on my way to meet Mike shortly after 7:00 am. Mike lives in Osgoode, a village not far from where I gun for grouse and woodcock in the Marlborough Forest. A lot of rain fell toward the end of the previous week and I hoped this would improve conditions in the woodcock covers. If so, I was confident we would get into some late season birds passing through and dropping in on the Marlborough Forest. I arrived at Mike’s house a little late (I texted, advising him I was running late) and he was ready to go. He opted to follow me in his vehicle. Off we went, bound for Schäfer’s Wood. Continue reading
The first thing I heard in the news this morning while out running Hera with my friend and hunting buddy Jason and his dog Nos was that of the terror attack in Orlando Florida. The attacker, Omar Mateen, gunned down 50 people and injured at least 53 in a gay night club called Pulse in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was killed in a shootout with police. According to a report in CNN, the attacker allied himself with ISIS. He was armed with a Glock pistol. His family said he disliked gay people. I am horrified and saddened by the news, but accept all there is to do when such an atrocity is perpetrated is bury the dead and comfort the living. Unfortunately, it will not be so simple. I am bracing myself for the histrionics and finger pointing to follow as it always does. The attacker was Muslim and in lawful possession of a firearm. People are going to point the finger at Muslims and gun owners alike in assessing blame for this horror.
I am a lifelong gun owner and hunter. I count among my friends and hunting buddies men who are observant Christians and Muslims. They know I am gay and in a relationship with my husband Mika and accept me. Like me, they judge a man according to the content of his character and nothing else. Here we are, a gay huntsman, Christian and Muslim family men who own and use guns for legitimate and peaceful sporting purposes. One of my friends and hunting buddies, Omer, with whom I have gone hunting since we met in 2000, made this observation on Facebook.
I’m also concerned of the inevitable conclusions against guns and Muslims. Whether or not there’s a connection, I’m afraid that is going to be the narrative by the media.
Such a heinous crime, I don’t have words to even condemn it properly.
I understand his concern and share it. What Omar Mateen did in the name of his faith is unconscionable. He was insane, and the fact that ISIS and its sympathizers praise him posthumously for this is beyond the pale. Yes, he was inspired by an interpretation of Islam to perpetrate this atrocity, but no, it does not mean every Muslim is somehow guilty by association. Yes, he used a legally acquired gun in his killing spree, but no, it does not mean every gun owner somehow shares the blame for his act of insanity. My friends, my hunting buddies and I, Muslim, Christian and of no faith alike, share a passion for hunting and the shooting sports. We will carry on, taking to the field this season as we have for many seasons before. The fact remains we are nobody’s enemy for being men of faith and gun owners. Though I never knew any of the people gunned down and injured in the attack, I am keeping them in my thoughts as they and their families mourn and get on with their lives.
Posted by Geoffrey
The 2013 hunting seasons open next month and my hunting buddies and I eagerly anticipate taking to the field with our dogs. One of our favourite past times is waterfowl hunting. My hunting buddies and I have successfully gunned for wild ducks and geese over land and water over the years. My first duck hunting experience was in 1976 when I was fifteen years old. I was new to the sport and really clueless. My father and I sat, waiting, in our Ford Pinto for legal shooting time to start; it had not occurred to us we could be sitting in our blind waiting for shooting time to start. I may have been clueless about waterfowl hunting, but I had taken to heart what I learned in the Ontario Hunter Education Program about hunter safety. New hunters are required to take this course and pass written and practical examinations before obtaining a hunting license. I have been careful over the years to strictly adhere to safe and ethical hunting practices, but found, one morning while out duck hunting, how the most minor lapse in judgement can result in disaster (near disaster in my case). What follows is an account of events from that morning, October 8, 2009. Continue reading