Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blow Away That Symbol of Peace!

I have been studying the road atlas so that I can figure out the details of our winter plans.  I have been reading more of the road atlas than ever before in my life.
And I am shocked.  While I have been busy studying those maps in the front, there has been a whole section that I could have been enjoying in the back pages….The Festivals of the USA!
The festival section has lots of pictures and ideas, including:
For the kids!
-Photo of a boy in a kid’s rodeo called Mutton Busting. Kids cling to terrified sheep in a rodeo arena.
-Photo and description of kids in the specially flooded Center St. of Spanish Fork, Utah.  The center of town is turned into an artificial pond and is stocked with hundreds of trout.  The kids can use their hands or plastic bags to catch a trout and every kid who participates gets to take home a 10 inch trout for their family.
(What better way to teach kids about our connection with the natural world and the other animals in our big animal family)
For the Adults
-Endless rodeos and Renaissance Festivals where you can grab some lamb or a turkey leg and show off your unique human skills.
I actually could not find a single page that did not include some glorification and celebration of violence in our culture…..
I pretty much held my breath in horror as I looked through page after page of “Americana”.   As I was reading them to JC he was sure I must be making some of this stuff up…especially when I was reading to him about “Mike the Headless Chicken Festival” in Colorado.  I am not kidding.
Finally I let out a sigh of relief when…at the bottom of one page, I got to the National Lentil Festival in Pullman Washington….There was of a guy dressed as a giant brown lentil wearing a baseball cap.  Now there is a festival I can get excited about…..Between that and the Gilroy CA garlic festival, they are finally talking my language.  (Well truthfully the lentil looks like an M &M and is very corny.....but I am desperate to find a non-violent image in the atlas!)
I like anything that makes me feel like I almost belong in this country.

Today, JC, Bean and I were hiking in the beautiful national forest.  About an hour into our hike, a gunshot was fired less than 50 yards from us.  Bean came running back to us and I watched the smoke from the gun rise above the bushes just in front of us.  We held Bean close and I whistled and shouted so the hunters would stop shooting.  They did not answer my whistle or shout, which makes me assume they were hunting illegally.
We turned around and left the area just before getting to our destination on the ridge top.
I came home and looked up the hunting season in New Mexico to see if they were poaching. 
Fish and Game….a government agency supported by tax dollars….has a website that is almost as shocking as the Rand McNally Road Atlas.
A few of the “highlights”:

Private land owners are now paid to allow hunters to kill on their land.  And the most exciting part is that these private lands are open just in time for killing the world symbol for PEACE (doves)!  Here is the news from their website:
New Mexico landowners and the Department of Game and Fish are working together to provide New Mexico hunters more opportunities to pursue game on private land across the state, including more than 102,000 acres available just in time for the Sept. 1 opening of dove season.
The 5-year-old program is funded by $4 Habitat Management and Access validations required with every hunting and fishing license. This year, 19 landowners have enrolled in the program to offer public dove hunting.
“This program is great for dove hunters because some of the best dove hunting is around water tanks and agricultural fields on private land,” said Aaron Roberts, coordinator of the Open Gate Program. “At the same time, it benefits the landowners by putting some money in their pockets and keeping the birds off their crops.”
Participating landowners are paid for allowing hunters or anglers access to their property or for allowing access across their property to landlocked public land. Lease agreements are negotiated individually and can vary according to property descriptions, easements and hunting opportunities. Statewide, landowners have enrolled more than 105,000 acres for dove, quail, turkey, waterfowl, javelina and deer hunting, and some angling. 

Dove hunter with his kill. 
How I imagine this boy 50 years later........

And more “great news”…..Kids “learn to kill” programs are in full swing.  And for you adults who are not satisfied with viewing the glorious Sandhill Crane, you can legally shoot them and carry them home in the trunk of your car. 
Applications are due Wednesday, Sept. 8, for 2010-2011 youth waterfowl hunts at Bernardo Wildlife Area and for special-permit sandhill crane hunts. More than 200 youth waterfowl hunts are available at Bernardo and hundreds of special crane permits are available in various areas around the state.

OK, call me a stick in the mud, but I actually think that all land should be considered no hunting unless it is marked as a place that some land owner has decided to allow hunting.  Instead most states have strict regulations for exactly how you must post your land if you do not want hunting on it.  Is it me or is this backwards? 

The NRA works so hard to ensure hunters have the right to go out there and blast away.  But what about land owner and hiker’s rights?  Private land and National forests are suddenly war zones during hunting seasons across the USA.  Most people head to the forest for silence and beauty.  The most beautiful time of year for being in the woods, turns into an act of courage (or insanity) if you love hiking.  The Fish and Wildlife page reminds those of us who are not hunting to wear bright colors.  Right.  Hunters never shoot other hunters in bright colors.  Right.  Hunters always make sure that their target is clearly identified.  Right.  Hunters are never blurry eyed and hung-over because they never drink on their hunting trips.  Right.  Hunters are very responsible guys who love following regulations.  Right. 

All of this reminds me…it is that time of year….time to pull out one of my favorites:
A Holiday Thought.  You can find this on our website ( in pdf form to print out or send around:

A Holiday Thought…
    Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.
    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal -  health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.
    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.
    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.
    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once-a-year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."
    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~


  1. One could argue that a culture of terror and death is the american way. Certainly for those with little or no power this is the matter what type of animal you are. And we celebrate this.

  2. I am so glad to hear you liked the image of our mascot, Tase T. Lentil, at the National Lentil Festival. There is more information about our Festival at if you are interested. It truly is a good example of small town Americana. The Festival draws about 20,000 people over the three days and is free to the public. It isn't a huge Festival and not nearly as well known as the Gilroy Garlic Festival but we can honestly say that we are the only Lentil Festival in the country. There is a small lentil celebration in France, otherwise we would certainly be the International Lentil Festival. Come enjoy the non-violent, family friendly lentil activities next August! You have the Atlas, you know how to find us!