Killer, not a hunter

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

I’ve been hunting most of my life — all types of hunting: bow hunting, black powder hunting and hunting with dogs. Hunting with dogs is very traditional and dates way back into early times.

My son, Tyler, who just turned 13, and I starting raising our own hunting dogs about seven years ago. I taught him at a very early age the responsibilities of caring for his dogs. He does the feeding, watering and most of the cleaning of pens and water bowls, and I provide the vaccinations, wormers and the feed. He has raised 14 puppies over the years and is in the process of raising six more.

I would say he has done as well as any adult could have done given the same opportunity. He treats his hunting dogs as pets with an obligation, meaning they are pets when in their pens, but when collared, loaded and turned loose to run game, that’s their obligation to him. From the time he turns them loose until the time he puts them away, they hunt and they hunt hard for him.

Last Saturday, when he carefully picked out eight dogs to get the job done, little did he know he would only have seven at the day’s end. You see, some coward who calls himself a hunter took the life of one of my son’s prized possessions (his name was Ranger) by shooting him with a slug gun.

We tracked Ranger most of Saturday night. We worried about him all night and finally, on Sunday morning while thinking we were close to retrieving him, we got close enough for my son to walk into the woods to retrieve Ranger and load him into the dog box.

What Tyler found was his dog covered in blood, dead from a gunshot wound. Try explaining to a young boy who has devoted the last five years raising this pet/friend/hunting dog how someone could do something this pathetic to an animal that was out for one reason — to make my son proud. I couldn’t explain it to him; neither could the animal control officer who showed up to write the report.

Tyler’s question to me before going to bed that night was, “How can a man with a loaded gun, that calls himself a hunter, shoot a 25-pound dog that was only doing what I taught him to do?”

Ranger was just hunting. He never messed with anyone, and he wasn’t even able to defend himself. All I could do was agree with Tyler because I can’t even imagine stooping that low.

My only hope is that the individual responsible for this senseless act have the guts to read this column and then look himself in the mirror and realize what he has done and whom he has affected.

Then, if you are a real man, find us. I would like to introduce you to the person you hurt the most, my son, and have you answer the question I was unable to answer.

How could you take the life of a harmless pet that was doing what he loved to do: just hunt. No matter how hard I try, I can’t explain to Tyler how or why you did what you did.

After that, we would be done and the law would handle the rest of your punishment, which in my opinion would be far less than what you really deserve.

Ranger will be sadly missed.