Over the weekend it was decreed from lofty heights by his Royal High-Hunting Master the Mighty Zumbo that black-rifles need not apply for a tag or permission to hunt, at least not alongside the lovely figured walnut and other wooden stocked and blue-steel belted magnum rifle versions costing thousands more – and such a wild-hair did erupt upon that statement as to get His Holy Hunterness excoriated from one end of the blogosphere to the other, and have his own blog removed in flames and his mea-culpa dashed against the ground.
Meanwhile with this utterance the Evil Brady Ones with long slinky fingers and dull creepy eyes have taken this schism and declared in their own words, “Look See!” – that even the use of a scope makes a hunter nothing more than an animal-sniper.
Back to the hunt though, in his ancient time my Grandfather hunted with the poor-man’s ex-military “schawartz-shooter” of his day, an M1898 Krag-Jorgenson and also an ex-military M1917 Remington in .30-06 with a scope. Cheap actions he got for a few dollars and put into a stock. Oooh no he didn’t know anybody with a fancy gun back in 1930’s Nebraska nor were there any fancy people with elegant Purdey’s and Holland & Holland rifles living out in the sandhills off the North Platte. Twenty-odd years later in life during the mid 1950’s and before I was born he achieved a level of affluence unheard of prior to that, and got all fancy-pants with an honest-to-God Browning Light-Twelve. He passsed away at the age of 98 in 2000, and now I have the Browning and the old Krag – but I don’t know anybody who hunts and I have not yet even fired it.
I admire the black-rifle shooters at my club who print finer targets than myself and wish I could get one, but it’s fraught with difficulty here in California because basically they have been banned. Those who have them still were “grandfathered” through The System, and a few clever (and in my mind very brave) individuals have sought out gray-market receivers upon which to build a gun that potentially can have them thrown in jail and at a minimum cost them a lawyer induced financial bleed-out.
I’m not that brave, maybe if I was a hunter I would be braver but I don’t know anybody who hunts. Actually I do, my cousin takes off with his dog and shotgun into the marshes of the North Bay at the butt-crack of pre-dawn – but that’s also never really been an invitation on the table and the logistics of it is terrible.
I’m an old-fart now, balding and past middle age and probably unable to learn many new tricks. I don’t foresee hunting as being in my future and I understand that this great American tradition is faltering, that fewer kids are taking it up and opportunities are dwindling – the pressure is mounting and the demographics are shifting to the Urban-dwellers who only hunt each other – and since they do that the Brady’s and the other Anti-Gunners have more examples to say, “Ban Them All.”
When that happens only the political elites will have fine shotguns and spotted dogs and fields to roam, and guys like John Kerry will not be made to look foolish because nobody will see how poorly he handles his $31,000 Rizini-engraved Italian over-under, because they will not be allowed near. America is unique in that the Sport of Kings was practiced and enjoyed by the common man, but perhaps that is changing as a new class of political Royalty ascends to power – because if you can’t afford it you really shouldn’t even ask.
FINAL XUMBO UPDATE: As I posted in a few comments including at Oscar Poppa, Hallelujah I have seen the light! This experience and exposure, the rock turned-over as it were, ‘sprain it to me ‘Rucy: it is how we can have all these great hunters and outdoorsmen here in California, AND yet still have a ban on AR’s and AK’s, including the long-range shooter-favorite .50BMG, and also a Nationally-Known Clowndome, an almost surreally-incompetent Bozo-Legislature – but one with no fear of a gunowner backlash…I get it now – we’re Zumbofied.