If you’re like me you haven’t been able to pick up the newspaper or watch TV these past few days without hearing or reading about someone with an opinion on the Cheney hunting accident. I suppose such criticism and opinions are to be expected, but P-A-H-L-E-E-Z-E…will someone first give these reporters and news mongers a few critical lessons about our sport? Their descriptions of the incident shows a hunting aptitude akin to me trying to describe the finer points of pairs figure skating at the Olympics. Sure, I can tell the skaters lace on their skates…but aside from that I wouldn’t know the difference between a Toe Loop and a Lutz while being performed in front of my face. More importantly, if I tried to hoodwink people into believing I knew what I was talking about…it would be blatantly obvious to any figure skating aficionado that I was pulling words directly from some orifice on my body.
Same holds true for the pundits and so-called experts trying to analyze the recent hunting mishap with Dick Cheney. We can get caught up in the details of when news of the incident was first reported to the media…but to that I say what does it really matter? How would notifying the media immediately of the occurrence have changed anything about the incident? The nit-picking and dissecting the details of the day seem to overshadow the fact that one friend accidentally shot another friend while hunting. Report the facts then let it go.
Here’s my big gripe about reading and hearing many of the accounts of this incident. The folks discussing the incident often make themselves out to be some expert intimately familiar with the sport of hunting…when nothing could be further from the truth.
I’ve developed this little test to aid the media in determining if they have the skills necessary to report on anyone in a similar hunting situation. I’ve even made it a simple test…true or false…so the wannabe experts can guess at the answers much like they do when writing their columns or shooting off their mouths. A true sportsman will know the answer to the questions without the need for an answer key…but for those who are unsure, the answer for this test will be printed at the end.
Ten questions, here we go:
1. Buckshot is the preferred load size when hunting quail or any upland game bird? (True or False)
2. When quail flush into flight, the entire covey always flies in a predictable and coordinated pattern straight away from the shooter? (True or False)
3. A 28–gauge shotgun is bigger and more lethal than a 12–gauge shotgun? (True or False)
4. Hunting is one of the most dangerous sports a person can participate in because it involves the use of a gun. (True or False)
5. Everyone knows that alcohol is almost always the primary factor in most hunting-related accidents. (True or False)
6. When hunters wear blaze orange clothing this makes them easily seen no matter where the sun is positioned in the sky. (True or False)
7. Most hunters lack the proper training and knowledge necessary to safely carry and shoot a gun. (True or False)
8. From the precise moment a quail flushes from cover and until a shot must be made…the hunter has at least five seconds of critical judgment time before deciding to pull the trigger. (True or False)
9. Hunters routinely show-off and take chances when making shots at game because they feel macho enough to down a bird directly in front of their hunting partners. (True or False)
10. Most hunting experienced in America today is “canned” hunting on game refuges where the animals involved are placed there and given few chances to survive the hunter’s gun. (True or False)
Okay, let’s correct your answers. If you answered TRUE to any of the questions above…you need to go back to journalism school and polish up on checking your facts before shooting off your mouth or writing a biased story. It might even be wise to brush up on your observation skills to report what you see and not what you want to believe is true.
Truth is, almost without exception, you can tell which reporters and writers have even the most basic experience with hunting…as well as those who don’t have a clue what the sport is truly all about. Just like I wouldn’t place myself in a position to be embarrassed by commenting or writing about figure skating…I wish the vast majority of the media types who wrote or commented about Cheney’s misfortune had at least a foundational understanding of hunting. Makes you wonder if every time these blow-hards comment on some other aspect of the news they really have taken the time to first learn about what they are purporting to be true.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.