The Opening of Deer Season
Hunting season started last Saturday, and I awoke at daybreak to gunshots really really close. So I get in the truck with Samson and go look and sure enough right up the road, right by a NO HUNTING sign is a guy with his bloody hands in the guts of a deer and another guy standing looking on. I get the license numbers and yell that the place is posted. I just had to put up new signs since the old ones burnt up.
They shrug of course. They look like they are from Hayfork. The Eureka hunters tend to wear camoflage and have huge trucks.
I drive back to my place. As I pass them again, the onlooker's hand reflexively jerks in a wave and I know for sure they are local. I call my buddy Aaron Adkins, the game warden, (see previous blog for details) and report the violation and give the license numbers.
Aaron shows up and interviews me. I give the details and off he goes to catch the guilty. He says my place is well posted--so there!!!! About an hour later he comes back and says he's got them and they are prominent members of the Hayfork community and they want to talk to me and apologize. I think about it and say, No, I'm tired. I was awakened early to gunshots and don't feel llike talking to them. I'm very at peace with this--let them be prosecuted--Mr. Prominent Member of Hayfork. They are teachers and coaches, he says and their 12 year old son shot the deer, two of them.
About two hours later, I have come to a different state of mind. I'm sure it is too late, but I think, well, I could have had them drive back to Hayfork and buy No Hunting signs and put them up all along the road here and then their punishment fits the crime and I'm thinking how cool this would be as I drive down to Richards to tell him the news. Lo and behold, there they are by the side of the road with the game warden. They are waiting for a friend to show up. Four skulking teenage boys with BUSTED written all over them and the father, Mr. Prominent. I stop and talk to the warden and then tell the guy if he will do drive and get the hunting signs and put them up, I won't press charges. "Oh thank you, you are so sweet, thank you so much" the guy is truely grateful relief written all over him. They have been standing with the warden for these two hours--it's almost noon, with guns and deer confiscated and a large fine coming their way because it is open and shut case. Other hunters have been driving by and have seen the bust which is very cool.
So I drive on and tell Richard who thinks I have blown a great opportunity to PUNISH WRONGDOERS. When I tell Marion she says the warden was supposed to prosecute whether I wanted him to or not--like a battered woman changing her mind about her abusive husband. Sigh. Jennifer remarks that too bad the deer didn't get a second chance and I am then left twisting and turning and trying to second guess myself.
However, that evening the new no hunting signs went up and I began once more to feel like I did the right thing. I don't think they will be so careless next time.