Wildfowling magazine - wildfowling waterfowling duck hunting goose shooting
Animals, Guns and Freedom
A warning from  J. Dawson Gieger

I shot the pictured ducks with a camera. Could have done it with a gun, but I was in an industrial park. They frown on shooting. I like shooting.

Own seven guns. But I like ducks. Used to have one as a pet when I was a kid. My dad had to kill it with a hammer after it got run over by a neighbor. We had had that duck for several years. Her name was Maybel. We got her a friend, named him Shorty. Turned out to be a misnomer. He was small when we got him. We didn't know he was a male and got much bigger 
than Maybel. After Maybel's death we took Shorty to the city park and let him go. He seemed to love it. There were hundreds just like him there.

Where I live now, in an apartment, I had a neighbor who was a devout duck hunter. Great guy. I liked him. One morning I heard him loading and hitching his boat to go duck hunting. I live in Oregon and it was a horrible day, even for Oregon. Cold, rainy and windy. I asked him later, "Why did you go hunting on such a horrible day?" He answered, "True duck hunters love lousy weather." When he said that, I thought to myself, I like guns and shooting, but not in bad weather.

I could always tell when he was successful. The garbage lid to the garbage bin would be open and he would be out there de-feathering his ducks. Even if I missed seeing him do it, I could tell he was successful when the garbage man emptied the container and duck feathers 
covered the neighborhood. I really liked that guy. He made only one mistake. His last name was Wood and he married a girl named Holly.

Speaking of marriage. I was married twenty years. The first house we bought had a huge side yard that had been let go and was almost chest high in weeds. I rented a large blade weed cutter and went to work. I ran over a nest of jackrabbits and killed all of them except the one on the very bottom.

I carefully carried into the house. My wife and I made several phone calls and ended up with doll's bottle and a formula that was mostly milk. Soon, the rabbit, we named Briar Rabbit, sorry Uncle Remus, was big enough to eat solid food. We cleaned out the fireplace and that was his home. He got so fat, I remember him sitting on his haunches, leaning back into the corner of the fireplace, holding and munching on a carrot as the rolls of fat came down 
on both sides. Soon he was too big for the fireplace, so we let him roam the house.

Not a good idea. The vacuum cleaner soon began to sound like it was picking up little pebbles from the carpet. Briar Rabbit was not house broken. Time to set him free.

It was near sunset as I put Briar Rabbit and some food into the car and headed about twenty minutes out of town. I found an empty small valley surrounded by brush. I set the food and rabbit out and drove off.

It was dark by the time I got home. At bedtime, I went to bed. I had only slept about an hour when I woke up in a cold sweat. What have I done? I thought to myself. I don't know if a rabbit has the necessary food and water to survive where I set him free. What a horrible death. It would have been more merciful to have shot him between the eyes.

I couldn't sleep for most of the night. At about twenty minutes before daylight I headed back out to where I had let him go. The chances of finding him were nil, but I had to try. When I got to the turn-in for the small valley, I saw ten of fifteen people standing around. At first I thought they were hunters, but then I saw the binoculars. Bird watchers!. The very people who want to take our guns away. I ignored them as I turned in and drove within feet of them.

At about seventy yards, I stopped and got out of the car and looked around. There was the food I had left, but no rabbit. I cupped my hands to my mouth and started yelling, "Briar Rabbit, here Briar Rabbit," I did this as I slowly did a three hundred and sixty degree turn.

The bird watchers could clearly hear me. I noticed they were all looking my way when Briar Rabbit came hopping out of the brush and right up to me. I reached down, picked him up and put him in the car. The bird watchers' mouths were all open as I drove past them and onto the road.

I let Briar Rabbit go within a half mile of our home where I knew a lot of rabbits lived. For the next two or three years, once or twice a year, a great big rabbit would come and sit at our sliding glass door and look in at us.

I love animals, guns and freedom. I own pistols, no rifles, so they are coming after me first. Every year there is voted in a new restriction on hand guns. They say they are not infringing on my rights and they love hunters. Don't believe them. They want your shotguns, too.

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