Friday, April 27, 2012

Duck Hunting Ain’t SEAL Hunting

Davy Crockett was all the rage when I was a youngster. I’d put on my genuine Davy Crockett coonskin cap and load my toy gun to help Davy shoot the bad guys whenever I’d watch the hit Walt Disney Show. My parents didn’t worry any about their little sniper. They knew that “let’s pretend” is just a phase that kids go through.
Nowadays I shoot real guns that are recent constructions of old designs perfected late in the 1800s. And the coonskin cap’s been replaced with traditional cotton duck and wool duds occasionally enhanced with modern fabrics like nylon and Gore-Tex. But while I often feel linked afield to generations of hunters who’ve gone before, I don’t ever pretend I’m Davy Crockett any more. It’s really clear to me that I’m a hunter, not a fighting man. When the critters start shooting back, I’ll definitely be rethinking my participation.
That’s why I’m not a fan of recent advertising campaigns touting certain hunting products. Pictured in these campaigns are strapping young men badly in need of a shave who appear to be frighteningly earnest about shooting ducks. My buddies and I head out to forests and fields just to enjoy being there with our dogs, and, if we’re lucky, to bring home a bird or two for the weekend’s meal. An old fashioned hunt might plumb tucker our aging asses out, but it’s never confused with a grim and deadly slog. And we certainly don’t pretend we’re SEALs.
In fact, suggesting that hunters are like “special forces” diminishes both groups. The sooner these advertising campaigns are discontinued, the better. I’d rather that advertisers seek to connect a technologically enhanced present with a past that’s rich in tradition.