Interpretations

Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

If I were a primitive savage — no voting on that one, please — and if I had never seen an ordinary, folding chair, what would I do with one if you gave it to me? Maybe it would make a great gate to keep my pigs in their pen. Maybe it would make good firewood. Maybe I would discover I could sit on it. But only maybe.

That same primitive savage might think dollar bills are merely strange leaves from a peculiar tree.

It’s all in how we interpret a thing we’ve never seen before. Interpretations are accepted based on everybody’s agreement on them. If we didn’t all agree a dollar was worth a dollar, finances would become chaotic and impossible.

There’s an old joke about two psychiatrists who meet one morning. One says, “Hello” and the other thinks, “I wonder what she meant by that!” It’s all in your interpretation.

And sometimes we interpret things by the standards that don’t apply to them. We don’t judge a small child’s behavior by grownup standards and we don’t judge a violin by standards designed for a tuba.

Yet, according to this week’s page 1 story by contributing writer, Steve Sorensen – our regular Everyday Hunter columnist – lots of us judge hunting by standards that simply do not apply.

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 1850 poem, “In Memoriam,” speaks of humans…

…Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law.
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed

Unfortunately, people who interpret nature, “…red in tooth and claw,” as opposed to God’s law of love are simply mistaken. A thing that works as it was created to work is neither unloving nor unnatural nor opposed to God. Nature’s predators are not violent, they are simply natural.

So the question is: “Is hunting natural, a part of nature?” If you do not think so, than it is natural for you to judge hunting by the standards of “nice behavior” among people. Treat bears and deer and elk and squirrels as if they were the nice people in your bridge club, or your bowling league, or your church. Never hurt them or stalk them or, certainly! never kill them. Now apply that interpretation to deer and bears.

Unfortunately, we have already distorted nature’s balance in myriad ways by building towns and cities and highways and airports and golf courses and ski slopes…etc. etc. etc. And we have removed ourselves from the list of nature’s own predators which, in ages past, held us as a natural part of nature’s balance.

True sportsmen and sportswomen who hunt responsibly do what nature does, we hunt, we kill, we eat… we help undo the imbalance we created. Wildlife management that includes hunting is conservation at its best.

Naturally, there is another side. Few of nature’s creatures hunt for the simple pleasure of killing, racking up huge tallies of bodies and trophies. If judged by nature’s own standards, such hunting cannot be interpreted as natural. But mass killings are wrong by human standards, too.

So, this week, Steve Sorensen and your Jamestown Gazette welcome everybody back to Western New York’s traditional hunting season. Interpret hunting by natures standards. It’s the natural thing to do.

Enjoy the read.