A couple years ago, I encountered a guy with a gun in a pickup. It was an hour after sundown on a crisp December night, and my son and I were outside, talking with our good friend Mike. (Mike is also the landowner of the property I hunt.) All three of us jumped. My son grabbed my pant leg and squeezed. A single rifle shot exploded from the road, about a 1/4-mile from the driveway leading into Mike’s property. Someone had just illegally shot at a deer from the gravel road.
As a hunter, I felt responsible. My first instinct was to say, “Mike, I’m really sorry.” Then I said, “Watch Aidan, and I’ll go find out what just happened?”
I jumped into my truck, pulled out of the driveway, and onto the gravel road. The second my headlights illuminated Lone Tree Road, a dark, gray pickup revved its engine, turned on its headlights, and started barreling down the road toward me. I pulled over a bit and turned on my brights. I tried to block the road–I wanted to get his license plate number–but the driver drove off the road and into the bean field. He was out of sight before I could get a look at him. I called the event into the Sheriff’s office and drove back to Mike’s. When I pulled up to his house, I could see his wife and daughter sitting at the dining room table, eating dinner in front of the picture window. Mike and Aidan were still standing on the driveway. Aidan was still shaking a bit.
I wish I could tell that guy with a gun in a pickup that when he fired that shot in the dark, he scared a 7-year old boy. I wish I could tell him that he risked the lives of five people just beyond that deer in the woods. Most of all, I wish I could tell him to sell his gun to someone who would actually hunt with it. Guns deserve better. So do we.