Marolt: Here’s to hunting season for the non-judgmental with an opinion | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: Here’s to hunting season for the non-judgmental with an opinion

Jill Beathard
Editor’s Note

Roger Marolt

It's hunting season and let me start by saying that I make no moral judgment about it. While I don't particularly care for venison, there is nobody who loves a good steak more than I. As a meal, aside from flavor, in my mind there is no difference between an elk and a heifer. I wouldn't mount the head of either above my fireplace.

While I have nothing against hunting, I don't really have anything for it, either. I consider myself a fairly neutral bystander on the subject and thus have more questions than opinions, mostly because I have never cared enough to look that closely into things.

Here I would like to say something that surely roils the blood of hunters: I personally could not pull the trigger on a majestic animal standing unaware in my gun sight and don't really understand how anybody else could, either. It kind of makes me sick thinking about it, but that is different than a moral judgment. It's an involuntary physical reaction independent of political leanings.

To this, most hunters would roll their eyes and crank the Ted Nugent. It is the epitome of hypocrisy to expect somebody else to begin the messy process of putting together your roast beef sandwich for you. I don't see it that way. I might have a similar reaction if I had to pump out my own septic system. Are hunters hypocritical for not rolling up their sleeves to do that for themselves?

Alright, alright: I know that's not a good example. Other factors come into comparing pumping sewage and killing an animal besides empathy for the object. The truth is that it would break my heart to fire a bullet through the heart of another living creature. There are varying degrees of this. Shooting a deer would make me incredibly sad. Shooting a charging grizzly would give me some relief before feeling awful and justifying my action. Shooting another human would damn my soul to hell for all of eternity, which is something I want to avoid at all costs.

One thing I will never understand about hunting is the camouflage. It's camo boots, pants, shirts, jackets, gloves, wrist watches, face paint and a bright orange hat. I know it's the law (of the state and common sense) that hunters wear something bright enough to blind would-be errant marksmen looking through a high-powered sight. Can't deer see it, too? If (and let's all understand this is a big "if") this is so, doesn't it make the camo kind of superfluous?

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OK, you got me. It actually turns out that deer cannot see bright orange! I'm embarrassed.

At the risk of sounding more foolish, though: Since animals can't see bright orange, doesn't this make the camo superfluous? Why not a Broncos jersey or prison jumper to hunt in?

I know it is one of the most clichéd hunting analogies put forth, but I really do think it would be a great adventure to track down animals in the wild and shoot photos of them. Nothing is stopping anyone from setting up photo camp up in the hills. You could dress up in bright orange, silently track targets through the woods, sneaking so close to the animals that you might even touch them. Nobody gets hurt, except possibly the shooter. Now we have risk/reward factored into the game.

Back at home, an enlarged photo of a majestic animal hanging above the mantle inspires all kinds of imaginative thought. How many offspring has this beast sired? Where is it now? What ceiling as a chandelier or barbecue restaurant wall as a dust collector might its rack hang from one day?

I don't know; it seems funny that there are certain times of the year you can't ride a bike quietly past a herd of elk, but at other times it is perfectly OK to shoot arrows and bullets at them. That it's illegal to lure an animal by a salt lick, but perfectly OK to do so by imitating a mating call remains a mystery. I'll never understand why in so many cases a hunting rifle inclines its owner to believe that everyone ought to be able to purchase an AK-47 as easily as a soccer ball or running shorts.

Anyway, I like wild animals running wild. I see the sense in killing one if you're hungry, but not to cover a bare spot on the wall. How's that summary from a guy who has no desire to hunt and thinks you're crazy if you do, but go ahead and knock yourself out anyway? And, yes, an elk tenderloin tastes pretty good when cooked right.

Roger Marolt usually forgets to wear orange in the wild during hunting season. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com