Not to bring everyone down, but reader Lou Alexander sent me this story out of Kansas, and I agreed with her that it was very worth discussing. You may have already heard of it, it seems to be making the news rounds.
As reported in this Emporia Gazette article, 18-year-old Beau Arndt of Americus, Kansas was killed Saturday morning Dec. 15 by poachers, while hunting geese with his friends. According to the story, which relies heavily on an interview with Arndt's mother, the Emporia State University student was a careful, responsible hunter, who had been passionate about the field since early childhood. His goal was to become a guide in Canada.
Days before his 19th birthday, Arndt had come home from his first semester at school, so excited to go hunting that he hit the field before even unpacking. He headed out with two friends, set up their decoys, and got ready to start calling. That's when a pickup truck reportedly drove by, slowed down, and a shot was fired into the decoys, hitting Arndt. Of course, the article points out that it's illegal to shoot game from a vehicle; to shoot into land without the owner's permission; and to shoot game birds with a rifle.
I thought Lou (who's from Kansas herself) put it well when she sent me the story. After she'd seen the words "Hunting Accident" in the print version of the newspaper, she emailed, "I have a real problem with this because it is more like a drive by shooting than a hunting accident. In my book poachers are the scum of the earth and shouldn't be classified as hunters. The lack of local outrage is also disappointing. Road hunters risk harm to others and to property when they choose to shoot where they aren't welcome."
What do you make of the incident?
(Don't worry, tomorrow, I promise to have a cheerier post). -K.H.