I received a couple of e-mails on the post I wrote last night on Swamp People. While it's no excuse, let me just say that I had an emotional response to the show. Swamp People really dramatizes the kill shot, with slow-motion effects and a tense musical score. It's no different than any other reality show in that regard, and that's probably why it gets to me.
Because I'm not against hunting. Not at all. I understand that it's a way of life for these people, and that many make a good living at it. The animals are plentiful throughout the American South, and the population is being effectively managed. When hunters take deer or waterfowl (or in this case reptiles) for the dinner table or as a legitimate means of earning a living, I think that makes perfect sense.
A colleague at the college, who has taken more than his share of alligators over the years, posed an interesting question: Is there a more humane way of taking an animal than with a gunshot? Wouldn't it be more traumatic to use a knife, or to allow the the animals to drown on the trotlines?
I actually think hunters should take a page from the manuals of nursing homes throughout the country and just smother them with a pillow, but that might be a little dangerous for the hunter.
A friend in Oregon raised the point of how traumatic it is just to hook a fish, even if I'm practicing catch-and-release fishing. I've heard this argument a lot, and I suppose it's the reason that I tamp down the barbs on my hooks and make sure I properly vent any deepwater species before releasing them. I respect bag and slot limits and happily purchase my licenses each year because those funds funnel directly into species management.
I believe hunters are important stewards of wildlife management and preservation. I suppose the reason I reacted the way that I did was because I'm not familiar with this form of hunting, and because it just looks cruel on television.
I was wrong for using the term "rubes." Denigrating folks based on practices I'm not familiar with is a poor argument, and I'm guilty for using that term. Sorry for that.
And while I do think it's lazy to use trotlines, I'm pretty impressed with Willie's abilities with the treble hook. He sees the bubbles and goes after them. To me, that's how it should be done...
Now, speaking of reality television, I think Atom got jobbed. I had him 47-45 over Zeus, but I'm sure he'll get another shot down the road.
Enjoy the Super Bowl! For what it's worth, I like the Patriots 38-31 in an entertaining game. Take the Pats to cover and the over if you're getting down...