Be a decent hunter for the sake of others

Don’t leave your illegal kills out for my dog to eat.

Labrador Retrievers are wonderful dogs. They are great family dogs, loyal and gentle, and have been bred to retrieve. Our dog Max is a chocolate. We call him our Labrador “un-retriever” because, well, he doesn’t! It would seem Max didn’t get the retriever gene from either parent. He did, however, get a gene from both parents — searching out and eating trash. Any casual observer of Labs know that they frantically search for and consume anything remotely resembling food. One might assume Labs are chronically underfed; they aren’t, they just live to eat!

My husband Joe is a runner. He has run with Max since Max was a puppy. Their daily run takes them along a road with no houses and little to no traffic. It borders managed forest land and there is a deep ravine along one side of the road. Joe releases Max from the leash at a certain point and they trot happily along.

During hunting season the road is too close to weapons for comfort, so “the boys” take themselves elsewhere until hunting season is over. Typically on returning to the road after hunting season, Max dashes off into the ravine and returns with a full belly and some quantity of carcass in his mouth. You see, some hunters dress their kill and illegally dump the remains into the gully along the road. (The washer and dryer dumped on the roadside shouldn’t have been dumped either, but Max can’t eat those.) In the interest of preventing Max from eating putrefying remains, Joe periodically will climb down into the gully and properly bag and dispose of whatever Max has found. Yes, the other option would be to keep Max on the leash, but Joe would rather clean up.

Recently Max came home and didn’t eat his breakfast, the clear sign he’d found “food” in the woods. Joe followed Max the following morning and sure enough, there was a carcass along with multiple large trash bags of remains. This occurred the third week of January. Clearly this hunter went to work after hunting season, which is illegal. Then he proceeded to dress his kill, bag up remains in plastic bags (which can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, according to Google) and throw them down into the ravine, which is also illegal. That it occurred after hunting season is enough, but when Joe began the grisly and heavy work of cleanup, he found the carcass belonged to a cow, who had been pregnant with two babies.

Enumclaw is a rural community. Hunting is legal. Decent people hunt with a license, with a weapon appropriate to the season. Decent people follow hunting etiquette and dispose of remains properly after dressing the kill. According to the dictionary, “decency” is behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability. Where has common decency gone? When did it become okay to simply ignore the law and do as one pleases in this country? Decent people consider how their actions might affect others around them. I hope if you’re reading this, “decent” applies to you and yours.

Jody Miller

Enumclaw

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