Monday, June 04, 2007

Fred, Fred the Pig is Dead

A couple of days ago, a picture began appearing on the internet of an 11 year old boy holding a rifle and leaning on top of what appeared to be a rhino. In actuality, the story was that this was a huge feral hog, over nine feet long and weighing over a thousand pounds. It had been brought down by young Jamison Stone after a stalking of more than an hour and God knows how many shots to knock them damn thing down. It was quite a trophy, and made for some pretty big pork chops.

Well it turns out that the pig had only been "in the wild" (actually on a fenced in farm where animals are hunted) for four days. Indeed, the pig had been a Christmas present, when it was a piglet, in December of 2004 to one Rhonda Blissett from her husband Phil. She had named it Fred and they had kept it on their farm, along with some other pigs until about four days before Fred's untimely demise. At that time, they had given it to one Eddy Borden who had apparently immediatly consigned it to the killing fields of his "Lost Creek Plantation" in the wilds of Fruithurst, Alabama. Eddy has not been returning calls on the matter. He is possibly out gathering up the cats and dogs that Lost Creek is passing off as big game to the other "Great White Hunters" of Alabama.

None of this takes anything away from the marksmanship of young Jamison Stone. I'm sure that he faced his moment of truth when he took aim at a nine foot long, thousand pound pig who, only three Christmases ago was being bottle fed by Rhonda.In fact, now that he knows the pig's name, he can have the name "Fred" placed on the mounting when he sticks the pig head up in the family trophy room among all of the other Alabama wild game, the parakeet, the gold fish and the vicious box turtle.

I actually don't see any difference in the shooting of Fred and the way most people in my home state of Texas hunt deer. While we don't exactly bottle feed them here, we do fence them in so that they can't escape the Texas sharpshooters who engage in the state sanctioned slaughter every November. This allows for better selective breeding so that the ranchers (actaully, former ranchers, now "game managers") can guarantee the big racks so prized by those who stalk the dangerous white tail.

I have nothing against hunting, real hunting, at all. I object to these lodges who take $30,000 from you and guarantee that you are going to slaughter some exotic or another. I think it is unsporting the way we trap deer so that they can't get out and have a fair chance of avoiding becoming venison sausage. There is a huge difference in my mind between the sport of hunting and the hobby of shooting trapped, and/or tamed animals and birds. When I was growing up we disdained "catching fish in a barrell" because it was not true sport. I bet old Curt Gowdy on "The American Sportsman"never killed his game that way. When he and Bing Crosby and Phil Harris went bird hunting together, it was the real deal. Man (and a huge rifle and the ABC film crew) against nature.Not man against a family pet, fenced in on a hunting lodge. In death, Fred will be missed. In life, only a blind hunter could have ever missed. That's the real tragedy.

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