Real Hunters Do It For Art

For a few years, I worked a relatively dead-end job at a custom framing store. Had I been an artist, this job would have made a lot of sense because framing can get expensive. For me, this job made as much sense as my getting an internship with a chiropractor to further my literary pursuits.

"Are you a doctor?""Me? No, no. I'm a writer with no interest in medicine."
“Are you my doctor?”
“Me? No, no. I’m a writer with absolutely no interest in medicine.”

Ultimately, I did get many things of my own nicely framed, things which continue to decorate my home to this day. Aside from that, I got a story or two to tell.

******

A man came in to frame two stamps and their corresponding lithographs. The stamps were part of a series that showcased breeds of ducks (apparently, there had been great demand for duck stamps and the USPS jumped at the chance to benefit from this overwhelming public opinion to the tune of, what I presume, to be dozens of dollars.) As he set them on the counter, I said, “Those are really pretty. What kind of ducks are those?”

Pointing to the first, the man said, “Well, this one here is a blah-blah-blah.” I nodded, then he described the second, “This one here is called a something-something.”

"I do so love watching their insides explode. It's quite the sight. Nature truly is amazing."
“Birdwatching is fine for some, but not me. I do so enjoy watching their insides explode. It’s quite the sight.”

“Are you a birdwatcher?” I asked, despite knowing full well the answer to that question sat atop his head in the form of a camouflage cap.

“Oh, no, no, no,” he said, as though he were trying to quell any suspicion or rumor regarding his manhood. “I’m a sportsman.” (I couldn’t help but imagine those men on trial at Nuremburg answering to the charges of crimes against humanity with a chuckle, “Nein, nein. Ve ver sportsmen.”)

"It iz true zat I killed zose men, but, you must understand, I am a sportsman. It iz not as though I ate zem. I'm not an animal."
“It iz true zat I killed zose men, but, you must understand, I am a sportsman. It iz not as though I ate zem. I’m not an animal.”

“I had duck once,” I said, “but I didn’t care for it much. It was on the dry side.”

“Meh, I don’t eat ’em, either,” he said. “I get ’em stuffed, hang ’em up in the house.”

“So, you hunt strictly for aesthetic purposes,” I said.

“The what?”

“Nothing. So, do you have any ideas how you would like to…”

“This one here,” the man said, again pointing to the second duck, “is a beautiful bird. It’s very rare, though. I think, only a few thousand left in the wild.”

Then, before I could continue this topic using the words ‘endangered’ and/or ‘species’, the man smiled proudly. “My son shot one just last weekend.”

"Those two over there are the rarest of the rare. They were in the process of curing cancer when I shot 'em both. Sure do collect a lot of dust, though."
“Those two animals over there are the rarest of the rare. They were in the process of curing cancer when I shot ’em both. Regret it? I sure do! They collect a heck of a lotta dust.”

43 thoughts on “Real Hunters Do It For Art

      1. I wish it would’ve had swear words! Sadly, I’m so bad at confrontation – I’m one of the people who three days later wakes up in the middle of the night with a brilliant line and goes, “That’s what I should have said!!” And then gets sad that I didn’t say it, and falls back asleep…

        My answer to him probably would’ve been, *open mouthed gasp* “Whaaaaa??”

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  1. They use the word sport to describe hunting. Personally I prefer basketball. Basketball is also the sport of preference for most ducks, deer, and other wildlife I know.

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  2. Wow. I’m not a hunter, but fortunately, those hunters I do know are nothing like this guy. They eat what they kill, and are, in their own way, very environmentally conscious. They also tend to be very conscientious regarding the use of firearms. I’m aware that this experience may not be typical.

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    1. My father-in-law is very much the conscientious type. He only hunts one animal a year and uses every part of it in one form or another. He also won’t use vehicles or electronics past a certain point in the wild. I don’t know which type of hunter is the more predominant, though. I’m glad your friends are of the better kind.

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      1. Based on my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, I’d say that most folks who grew up hunting and hunt regularly are largely the ‘good’ kind. I’m thinking the bad kind are more prevalent among dudes who get real drunk and say, “Hey, I know what would be fun, fellers–let’s go shoot up some critters!”

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