Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Welcome to Wyoming: Part Two -- One Eyed Willie


If you are sensitive to animals and don't agree with hunting, look away--baby--look away.

And now for the rest of you...I present part two:

After I'd gotten over the initial shock of moving to Wyoming, it was time for my husband to break me into life as a hunter's wife.   

(That's not me, btw)

Now, don't get me wrong, my idea of shooting something is stacking glass bottles out in a field and picking them off one by one.  My husband's idea is, well...a lot different than that.  Hunters, as I've learned, like to kill real live animals--an antelope, an elk, a bear, whatever.  But, that's not all!  After the "thrill of the kill" they actually pose for photos with the dead animal. In said photos, the hunter always has a smile plastered across his or her face (mostly his face), like it's the best day of their lives, but the animal, they're dead, so they're not smiling!

After we were married for a short time it became apparent to me just how passionate he was about hunting and that I hadn't really been on any of those fun little adventures with him.  The reason why is obvious--the only thing I've ever killed are the people in my books.  But, for him, hunting is more than a lifestyle, it's a passion, so I felt compelled to go along and learn what it was all about.

So when he told me he had an antelope tag, I decided it was time to be the supportive wife I knew I could be.  We drove out to a nice little field that had tons of antelope (which my smallest small calls "cantaloupe") and we turned onto the dirt road to find the perfect one.  They all looked exactly the same to me through the binoculars, but my husband has special vision; he's kinda like the male version of the Bionic Woman.  And he can tell the difference.

So we're out on this dirt road and the antelope are up one side of a mountain in a field away from the road.  There are signs posted saying not to venture off the dirt road, but from what my husband says, "that don't matter".  Hmm.  We veer off the road and drive the truck over all kinds of shrubs and rocks, and the weeds are scratching the side of his truck, but he doesn't seem to notice.  There's an antelope he's got his eye on, and he's honed in. 

When he gets close enough, he leaps out of the truck and starts running and then points his rifle and shoots.  It's about this time when I decide I want to be there for moral and spousal support, but I don't think I want to see the animal get shot. 

Too late.

He shoots--and he almost scores, and the poor antelope goes limping up the hill.  My husband takes off and I'm left in the truck on top of a hill, and after a minute or two he's so far away he looks like one of those green plastic GI Joe toys.  Another shot sounds in the distance and then my cell phone rings and he tells me to drive the truck over to where he's at.  Well, I don't know where he's at because I can't see him.  AND, I'm off-roading at this point, so I have no idea how I am going to drive his truck back off the mountain in my cute little tank top and flip flops and get to where he's at with no actual road to drive on. 

I consider myself a girlie-girl, but in that moment, I was proud to turn over a new leaf.  I felt like an ice road trucker out there on my own, and eventually I got to him, and the antelope.

He says, "Do you wanna get out and see it?"

I say, "Uh, no.  That's okay."

He says, "I needed to kill it, babe.  It only had one eye, so it would have just been killed anyway."  He said this like he was doing the antelope a favor by sparing it from certain death that would have befallen it had it been challenged to another duel.  But a bigger part of me felt bad, and I started thinking about how crazy it is that when we were put on this earth, that's what life was like--before all the grocery stores and all that.  In the beginning, men hunted for their food.  It was right, and it was natural.  So why do I feel so uncomfortable about it?  Maybe it's because we're pampered nowadays with stores, and we don't ever have to see how anything is done or what cows and chickens go through before they are packaged and sold on grocery store shelves.  If you're wondering what I mean, rent the movie Food, Inc.  'Nuff said.

For now, I'm still not any closer to killing an animal myself, and I doubt I ever will be.  But it's part of the rough and rugged lifestyle in Wyoming, so I guess I'd better get used to it.

Rest in peace, one-eyed Willie.  

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