Saturday, 29 December 2012

essay-guns part III

My father wasn't much of a hunter,even with a closet full of guns.He was busy working,sometimes at two jobs,and we lived in town,so the guns never came out much.And,while we were not wealthy,there was no real need to supplement the food we bought with wild game.

But the province of New Brunswick was then,and is now,mostly woods.Even if you lived in the city you could usually be in some place suitable for hunting in much less than a half hour.Hunting,fishing and trapping was a big part of the culture.For some people,it was just recreational,a chance to get out in the woods.Others lived in the woods for at least part of the year and lived a traditional lifestyle,taking most of their food from he land.The gun culture,such as it is in Canada was never far in the background.

When we visited the town where my mother's parents lived,you could not escape the reality of guns and hunting.Nearly everyone there hunted and fished,and some had large collections of fire arms.

My mother's sister and her husband owned a gas station on the road out of town.It was a place where people came to buy gas and groceries,but also a place where men,and women from all over town congregated to gossip and talk.All fall,all through hunting season people talked about guns,and hunting,and the deer or ducks they killed.Occasionally a car would come out of the woods with a deer strapped to the roof rack.It was not an uncommon site.And,because it was a small town,you could often hear far off gunshots as people hunted in the woods just outside of town.

Some of the men who came to the store were farmers,and they talked of guns too.They hunted like everyone else,of course,but they sometimes used guns for other things as well.Occasionally an animal would be injured in the course of life on a working farm,and would have to be humanely destroyed to end its suffering.The nearest vet would be miles away,so usually the farmer would handle the matter himself.And of course,on the farm there was the problem of predators,usually foxes or weasels that would come for chickens,but sometimes wolves or bears which could attack the larger livestock.Most farmers were poor and could not afford to lose animals.

The men in my uncles store liked to brag.About their guns,and how powerful they were.About the game they killed,or how good a shot they were,and,about what they would do if anyone ever came to break into their place.Most agreed that they would happily blow a burglar,or trespasser to Kingdom Come,if it ever came to it.This made more sense coming from farmers who lived miles away from the nearest police station,but it seemed silly for a city person to talk like that.If you had a handgun,I guess it was logical,but again,we lived in Canada.In the end,I'd never heard of anyone shooting someone for breaking in.By the time I'd found and loaded one of my fathers rifles or shotguns,Any half accomplished burglar would have come and gone.At least in the city,it would have made more sense to defend yourself with a baseball bat or a hockey stick.Even throwing a toaster at the offender would have been more practical.For a long gun of any sort to be effective,you would have to have it loaded and within arms reach by the bed,and I simply didn't know anyone that paranoid.Crime was very low then,and it was much more likely that you would blow all the down out of your feather bed getting up in the middle of the night to relieve yourself.Most people had guns for one purpose-hunting.And most people I knew hunted in a more or less responsible way.

                                          TO BE CONTINUED.  

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