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Berger’s Burg: A-hunting I won’t go and I won’t eat Bambi

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This column is about hunting. No, not hunting for a husband or a wife, a job or for the best Chinese restaurant in Queens. It is about hunting for animals, be they large animals such as deer and bear, or smaller animals such as squirrels, rabbits and ducks. "What has hunting got to do with Queens?" you intelligently ask. Plenty. I was surprised to learn that many Queens residents actually go hunting on a regular basis. Their reasons vary. Some do it for recreational and sporting purposes, for the thrill of the chase and for the pleasure of being away from the maddening crowds. Others enjoy the sociability, the challenges presented, their connection with nature and the satisfaction of eating the meat for dinner or donating it to a neighbor or charity. Examples: Murray Lake of Whitestone was at my door a few weeks ago with a bag of venison from a deer shot by a member of his hunting party. Ugh! I respectfully declined. I got off easy by telling Murray I had a full freezer.A few days later, Andy Calascione of Little Neck called to present Gloria and me with a freshly caught fish he hooked off Queens' waters. Yipes! I diplomatically refused. We aren't fish eaters, I lied. And in the letters we receive from Gloria's wonderful cousins, Sherry and Rita Allen of Baldwin, Rita always describes in morbid detail their current hunting experiences. She recounts in great detail the preparation, the effort, the equipment needed, and the finding and ferreting out of the animal, and not necessarily, the killing of it.Their deer hunt is performed in a proper, convivial setting, surrounded by companionable, weapons-carrying, trailblazers such as themselves, all wearing those orange fluorescent vests. Oy! Why two highly intelligent, sober-minded individuals can make sport out of killing an animal is beyond me. I confess I once tried my hand in hunting many years ago. At the time, I was in the Air Force and stationed in Germany. My buddies from Alabama and Tennessee kept talking about the joy of hunting back home, so I decided to give it a try. I entered the Black Forest and checked into a hunting lodge, where a German guide offered to take me to elk country. He also promised he would make sure that there was an elk for me to shoot at. "But, I must first teach you to make the sound of a female elk in heat," he said. "Males come from 50 miles away for that sound. But, you must promise me one thing Ð when that male comes crashing through the woods at you, you must get him with your first shot." "Why the first shot?" I inquired. "Because if you don't," he answered, "that elk will make love to you." I never went hunting again.I learned many oddities about hunting. I always thought that hunting was a masculine thing and I was surprised to learn that women are now being taught to hunt. They gather together in the hunting fields, clad in plaid sweatshirts, jeans, and hiking boots, and away they go carrying a lighter gun that fits them. "Why should the guys have all the fun," one was heard to say. I guess many of them have never read or seen "Bambi.A hunter went hunting with his wife and mother-in-law. While they were asleep deep in the forest, the wife awoke to find her mother gone. Rushing to her husband, she insisted that he try to find her. The husband picked up his rifle, took a swig of whiskey, and started the search for the mother-in-law. In a clearing not far from camp, he and his wife came upon a chilling sight. The mother-in-law was backed up against thick, impenetrable brush. A large male bear stood facing her."What are we going to do," cried the wife. "Nothing," said the husband. "The bear got himself into this mess. Let him get out of it!"Anther oddity is that children have now gotten into the act. The New York Post recently reported that a 13-year-old hunting for the first time killed two deer with a single shot. He fired at the larger of two does and his bullet passed through her and into the companion. Readers, I ask you: Is that anything to be proud of?A final anti-hunting story: A novice hunter fought his way through thick and unforgiving underbrush. Finally, he came upon a lake. A young woman, her hair sparkling in the sunlight, was cavorting in the water completely nude. The hunter said, "Please forgive me, ma'am, but I am looking for game.""I am game," the woman answered. So he shot her!So I say "down with hunting!" I prefer getting my meat, fish and fowl from Waldbaum's.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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