Shhhhh: He's got one in his sights - don't move a muscle. Now he has to remember to squeeze the trigger, not jerk it. That's right: Gently, gently, and - Blam!
Another bear bites the dust. Or maybe it's not a bear this time; maybe it's a cougar, or even an elk. Whatever, it's a beaut, isn't it?It's the law of the jungle: the brave hunter stalking his prey. Kill or be killed. Kill for the food to survive. Or even kill for the sheer competitive rush of it - man against animal, matching wits and will, one on one.
Not quite. It seems this particular jungle is heavy on the killing but kind of light on the stalking, let alone the wit-matching. This particular jungle is in Bennington, Okla. It has a fence around it. And it's only about the size of a football field. The brave hunters have their shotguns, presumably. And what do the animals have - shoulder pads? This is not exactly sporting.
Try telling that to the folks who've been paying up to $4,000 apiece for the chance to gun down some not-quite-wildlife of their very own. Or who were paying, at least, until just the other day, when more than two dozen fish and game agents raided the place.
A "game preserve," the story in the paper called it.
Interesting choice of words - the agents say 200 to 300 animals met their maker there during the various shoot-em-ups. Animals purchased from other preserves, from zoos, at auctions. All of them raised in captivity. For all they knew, humans were the ones with the food and the slop buckets - until the humans with the guns showed up. Like shooting fish in a barrel, the brave hunters must have figured, but better: You don't even get wet.
One small field for a man, one more down-and-out pattern for a grizzly. You can imagine what the roar of the crowd must have been like when the shooting started, can't you?
The story doesn't say whether the brave hunters were shooting from outside the fence (a longer shot - it might have taken two blams to make their kill) or even (be still, pounding heart!) from inside the fence, looking danger right in the eye. What danger, you wonder. Plenty of danger. How about the danger that the very first blam will pass through too many animals to pile them all on the hood of the car the way you're supposed to? Or even the danger that the brave hunters might have to buy a wide-angle lens to capture all those dead animals on film at the same time?
They did capture them on film, of course. According to the story, they not only left behind their names and addresses, but plenty of brave-and-proud-hunter-with-dead-animal photographs. Brave hunters do that sort of thing. The authorities are looking into it.
If what went on in Bennington is against the law, the police ought to be rounding up the suspects any time now. They'll probably have to haul them out of their lodges, where they'll be sitting under stuffed and mounted this-and-that, regaling one and all with tales of their adventures in the wild.
And if they are arrested, I'm sort of hoping the police put them all together in a big holding pen - about the size of a football field, say.
Then I'm sort of hoping the police let one surviving bear loose in the pen. With a loaded shotgun. Maybe nothing will happen. Or maybe not.
Now, that would be a sport.