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Fair Game

Dec. 23, 2002
Dec. 23, 2002

Table of Contents
Dec. 23, 2002

Pro Basketball

Fair Game

I love hunting. Man versus nature. My cunning against the
animal's. That's why I take only the most basic gear, because I
believe in the hunter's code of "fair chase."

This is an article from the Dec. 23, 2002 issue Original Layout

For instance, some hunters who track coyotes use semiautomatic
rifles that fire 30 to 40 shots in about 10 seconds. That's not
hunting. The magazine on my Browning semiautomatic ($690) limits
me to only five shots every two seconds. And don't forget: It
takes at least another 10 seconds to reload.

I believe in the burden of the hunt before the glory of the kill.
That's why I won't use camouflaged remote digital movie cameras
when deer hunting. How hard is it to sit in the cabin and watch
on a monitor until the deer show up? I use only my
motion-activated Buckshot 35 Infrared Scouting still camera
($380) with date and time stamping.

Of course, in the interest of maintaining a fair and equitable
hunt, I do allow myself some of the same advantages as the game.
For example, deer can maneuver their ears to pinpoint sound. To
make up for that, I allow myself to use the Game Finder Mega Ears
Hearing Muff ($160), which allows me to hear a bug's arthritic
knees creak.

And because deer can see better than us in low light--their eyes
can gather 10 times as much light as humans'--it's only fair that
I use the U.S. Night Vision 441 riflescope ($2,570) with infrared
light source. With one of those puppies I could see to the back
of a Tora Bora cave. In daylight I'll switch to my Bushnell Mini
HOLOsight ($250) scope, which projects a red laser dot on the
hide of the target. Hey, if a deer could use one on me, you don't
think the sonuvagun would?

Deer are a worthy adversary because of their keen sense of smell.
That's why I feel forced to put every stitch of my ultrawarm
hunting clothing through the charcoal-filtration system of my
portable Scent Master ($160) to remove all human odors.

I'll also wear my Primetime Scent Wafers ($9)--now in cow elk
urine! I'll use my Scent Machine ($50) to release a precisely
measured aerosol spray of scent every 3.5 minutes as I walk. And
when my Wildlife Research Ultimate Scrape Dripper ($20) drips doe
urine scent, it convinces bucks that does are around, not me. You
ought to see the bucks' faces when their date with a hottie
becomes a date with hot lead! Doh!

O.K., I admit I allow myself a few creature comforts. For
instance, I'll hunt from my heated camouflaged tree stand ($240)
with cushioned back, armrests, lumbar support, umbrella and
footrest, but at least I didn't do what some guys do and add a
DVD player. Like I say, I'm a purist.

And true, I'll pack my handheld Global Positioning System device
($350) with electronic compass, barometer and database; my
radio-controlled, 400,000-candlepower spotlight ($216); my
hands-free, voice-activated, two-way radio ($130); my Carry-Lite
Deer Decoy ($140); my Rattlin' Antlers ($23); my Cough Silencer
($20); and my Grunt-Snort-Wheeze Deer Call ($15). But what are
you going to do, put the genie back in the bottle?

It's a battle of wits, I tell you. Sure, some of my hunting
buddies laugh at my full-length Shaggie camouflage coat and hood
($150)--the one that makes me look like Cousin Itt from The
Addams Family--but think about the risks I take wearing it! Some
tanked-up yokel sees what looks like a giant pile of leaves
clomping through the forest, you don't think he'll fire on me
like I'm in a carnival shooting gallery? And remember, Bobby
Knight could be out there!

It's the same with duck hunting. Those ducks are smart! I don't
think there's anything wrong with leveling the playing pond a
little with my remote-control Mallard Machine ($190) that I can
make swim, bob, shake, thrash and dive, with the touch of a
button, from my duck blind. I mean, everybody has his tricks.
Charles Schwab planted hundreds of acres of rice on his property
just to lure ducks he could shoot--and he got a federal subsidy
for planting the rice!

Besides, think of this: I could use an amphibious, eight-wheel
rover ATV ($7,000 to $12,000), complete with gun rests for firing
on the run, but I don't. I take a six-wheeler.

Because for me, hunting is not about ease, comfort or tilting the
scales to satisfy a hunter's thirst for a trophy. That's why I
won't go to one of those awful 100-acre, fenced-in "canned
hunting" ranches that are springing up around the country. These
privately owned clubs simply truck the game in, and the members
hunt until they bag something. It's like hunting at the Milwaukee
County Zoo. Even Shaq, among many thousands of Americans, has
done it.

No, I refuse to go to that kind of place. The land I hunt is far
more fair and honorable. It's 500 fenced-in acres. I could be out
there for more than an hour before I bag my kill. Do you know
what that does to my bunions?

But, hey, that's the price you pay when you choose to respect the
honor, dignity and honest competition of true hunting.

God, I love this sport.

B/W PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA
Because deer can see better than us in low light, it's only fair
that I use the U.S. Night Vision 441 scope ($2,570).