The Corner

Shotgate

Teresa, Barack, whatever. It’s time to get back to what matters. Shotgate. That earlier post on Kerry’s deer hunting ‘experience’ (crawling, apparently, around on his stomach with his “trusty 12-gauge double-barrel”) set off a, um, firestorm in my e-mail in-tray. Shotguns, it turns out, are not for deer.

Now, beyond the dinner plate, my relations with the animal kingdom have almost always been peaceful, so I’m no expert on this topic, but many, many people wrote in to explain that, when it comes to slaughtering Bambi’s mom, a rifle is the weapon of first choice, followed, good grief, by a handgun or, for the Hoods and Tells among us, a bow.

Shotguns, by contrast, are used on “vermin”, our feathered friends and “tiny innocent pieces of clay pottery.” Why’s this? Well, hunting deer with a shotgun would be like, pick your insulting analogy, either (1) “painting a wall by throwing the paint with your bare hands” or, (2) trying to kill the deer “by throwing rocks at it.”

The Nugent crowd, meanwhile, griped that shotgun pellets would spoil the meat, while sensitive sorts (what were they doing in the Corner?) worried that using a shotgun would be unnecessarily cruel.

The only dissenting voice came from a reader from (rifle-wielding) South Dakota, but what he had to say was, in the context of this growing stain on the Kerry candidacy, sort of important. A friend had told this reader that, “in flat, cold and frozen areas (such as New England) you are not allowed to use anything other than a shotgun with slugs. Shooting a high-powered rifle on flat frozen terrain can carry for miles (i.e. through farm yards), whereas a shotgun slug only has a range of about 100 yards, and is very effective in that range.” If this rather surprising revelation is actually, ahem, true it could, so to speak, blow a hole through the criticism listed above, but as my knowledge of Massachusetts hunting regulations is even less than my knowledge of Massachusetts geography, I couldn’t possibly comment. Can anyone solve this mystery? And, while I’m blegging, there’s one other thing. New England is “flat, cold and frozen” and South Dakota is not? Please advise.

A trivial topic? Of course. About the same as the spelling of potato, I would think.

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