Friday, February 16, 2007

Sportsmen one, girlie gunners one

It's time to purloin California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's pet idiom for sissies and apply it to the so-called "hunters" who prefer their kills to be easy and effortless.

Call them "girlie gunners," a fractured version of Arnold's "girlie men."

Despite the best opposition of true sportsmen who stalk prey with the odds more or less even for hunter and hunted, the Idaho Senate approved legislation that would permit shooting of fenced animals. The legislation was pushed by commercial elk ranchers who market to girlie gunners who disdain the rugged outdoors and lack the endurance for tracking game.

Shooting big game in a virtual corral isn't sport. It's a sanitized convenience for urban couch potatoes seeking a synthetic manly thrill without the discomfort of the hardships of the trail. It's Idaho's version of the wholly repugnant and deplorable buffalo kills in Arizona corrals years ago that ultimately led to a ban as well as the late Glendon Swarthout's best-selling novel, "Bless The Beasts and Children."

But the loss for real hunters in the state Senate was partially offset by a win. Lawmakers struck preemptively with a ban in Idaho on remote-control game kills. This technological aberration allows a person to sit at a computer anywhere in the country and with a tap of the keys fire a gun on a Texas entrepreneur's ranch that would kill a caged or noosed animal.

The whole concept is utterly twisted.

What does the future hold? Will some fly fishermen of tomorrow plead for the comfort of making their trout catches in a warm state hatchery—or from a couch—rather than casting for hours in a cold stream as true anglers have for ages?

Wherefore the wild?

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