|I have always admired the bluebill, a.k.a. lesser scaup.|
I have written a song about this incident and its protagonist, Dr. Walter Palmer. The song is on YouTube. I had it recorded at the Nashville TN studio of Bob Angello. Bob is a great guy who sees to it that their product is rendered with high competence and feeling. His studio is in the Nashville suburb of Hermitage. I invite you to listen to "Hey Walter Palmer" by clicking on the permalink. Thanks for listening.
My father came to Jesus in regard to hunting late in his life. I overheard him discuss this with a friend one day. He said he was inclined to a "live and let live" attitude. He took me hunting often when I was growing up. I suppose any activity that brings a father and son together can't be all bad.
We hunted ducks at Frog Lake (a.k.a. Gorder Lake) near Alberta MN. Frog Lake in the 1960s was a hunter's bonanza. A whole kaleidoscope of ducks passed overhead. I have great memories of observing these ducks. I don't care to think about the hunting aspect: firing a shotgun into the air, hoping to knock down one of these winged creatures. They'd land in the water, often not immediately dead. I don't care to describe it any further.
I'm proud of having been close to nature, not proud of having fired the gun. My first gun was a single-shot 16-gauge, which I gathered was a somewhat oddball gauge number. A 16-gauge was one notch down from the powerful 12-gauge. Many of my friends used the weaker .410. I remember the variety of interesting ducks along with the blue and snow geese which were too high in the sky to shoot at. Do the "blues and snows" still pass over this area? Believe it or not, Canadian geese were rare in the 1960s. We were awestruck when seeing them. It was very rare for the Canadians to get close enough for us to shoot at. If we could actually "bag" one, we probably felt as proud as did Dr. Walter Palmer in bagging his lion.
I remember redheads, canvasbacks and spoonbills around Frog Lake. I'm pulling these terms from my distant boyhood memories. Mallards were common and beautiful. Oh, and the "teals." Each year we anticipated the "northern flight." My father advised me that the flight could be very fleeting - over almost as soon as it started, and it might come through during the dark of night. The flight could be exciting because of the exotic breeds. The bluebills were fascinating. A flock of bluebills passing overhead produced a sound like a jet plane! It's a shame to fire a shotgun into that. It's fun to just observe. The "bufflehead" was another exotic duck.
In the late '70s my father and I did some hunting at Flax Lake next to Frog Lake. That's how I got to know Carl Benson. Dad and I also did some hunting at Mud Lake.
As I look back, I realize how dangerous this activity was. It's bad enough for a hunting party to have members each toting around a loaded gun, for crying out loud. But in addition, being out on the (very cold) water wearing heavy clothing spells danger, if for some reason you end up in the water. I never thought about that at the time.
My father was very well-intentioned planning these activities for us. In hindsight I could have gotten involved in far more constructive activities.
Dr. Walter Palmer will spend the rest of his life trying to explain his trip to Africa that cost him $55,000. He should have been far more contrite in the aftermath. Even if he was insincere, he should have been contrite. If I were him, I would have immediately volunteered to serve with some of those traveling clinics that serve the underprivileged. He really could save face doing this. He could have publicly stated that he was searching his soul over the "hobby" of big game hunting.
Our societal attitudes are shifting. After over 157,000 people signed a petition asking Delta Airlines to stop transporting hunting trophies, the airline announced it had officially banned the practice. Shortly after, American Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada announced they had joined Delta in banning trophies. Get the drift, Walter?