Are You Smarter Than a Burmese Python?

pigeon shootThe Hegins Pigeon Shoot may not be known to you unless you like to murder pigeons or you grew up in Schuylkill County as I did. Hegins (pronounced ‘Higgens’ – don’t know why but perhaps since it is Germanic in nature it comes from some Pennsylvania Dutch usage in that area) was the location for a pigeon shoot that was finally banned in 2018 although the last one was held (I think) in 1998. Pigeon shoots may have gone underground sort of like dog fights. Of course the NRA was a major factor in the difficulty in banning the Hegins Shoot and the NRA fought it in court for a long. long time.
My first trip to the Hegins Shoot was around 1960. I have racked my brain to figure out how I got there. My father and grandfather were not hunters and did not have guns in the house. I had no friends at that time who were hunters so I suspect that my father took me to Hegins that first and only time. He was not a man who verbalized his lessons and usually left them for me to ascertain. It would have been like him to take me to Hegins to teach me a lesson about guns.
The Hegins Shoot consisted of men with shotguns who released pigeons and commenced to shoot them out of the air. Quite a sport, huh? They had boys my age or a bit older who would run out into the open field to pick up the carcasses. Pigeons that were still alive had their necks snapped by the boys to put them out of their misery. It was barbaric.
I bring this up because of the March for Lives and gun control movement that is growing today. It is way past time for serious gun control in this country.
Hunting was never something that drew my interest. I can understand hunting for sustenance in Alaska or wilderness areas. Hunting as sport, where one side does not have a sporting chance, seems to be an exercise in arrogance. I have never understood why great gobs of money is spent on high powered rifles and shotguns and things like camouflage gear in order to be necessary to hunt animals such as pigeons, ducks, deer, and possum. Are these animals able to outsmart people? Are they vicious when hunted? It seems from my experience in the wildlife center that all of these animals are peaceable – willing to eat out of your hand especially when they are young.
Here is a suggestion for hunting to make it more sporting. Buy a plane ticket to Miami, Florida. Travel to the Everglades and put on your best t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Carry no weapons and begin hunting Burmese Pythons mano a mano. Show that you are smarter than a Burmese Python.

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