Thanks to a bill passed by Congress, hunters will now be allowed to shoot hibernating mother bears and their cubs in their sleep. But that’s just one of the unusual and challenging sports that some American outdoorsmen enjoy.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to overturn a ban on certain hunting tactics on the 76 million acres of federal wildlife refuges in Alaska. In addition to blowing away hibernating bears, hunters will be free to chase them down with airplanes or snare them with old-fashioned steel-jawed leg traps, as well as gun down wolf pups in their dens — or lure them out with food and shoot them at point-blank range.
Animal lovers have expressed horror and outrage at the move, but many hunting organizations and gun-rights activists hail it.
“These sissified city-slickers, namby-pamby snowflakes and other do-gooders don’t appreciate the skill and guts it takes to bring down a hibernating bear,” declared 45-year-old Joe K., an Oregon businessman who takes frequent hunting jaunts in Alaska. “Ever wonder what happens if the bear wakes up when you’re tip-toeing toward it? And the females are the most dangerous. There’s no more terrifying animal than an angry mama bear. And remember, a lot of times they’re pregnant and about to give birth while hibernating. If you don’t know how mean and crazed a female can be when she’s expecting, obviously you’ve never been married.”
As for hunting predators from planes, the macho outdoorsman pointed out that this can be just as dangerous.
“Suppose the plane crashes in the wilderness and the grizzlies or wolves turn on you? Ever see that Liam Neeson movie, The Grey?’”
There are many other activities pitting man against nature that are just as exciting as hibernating-bear-hunting. Here are a few:
Sloth racing – With their hooked claws, sloths are better suited for travel through trees than on land, but beating one in a foot race is a great way to show off your running prowess.
Electrocuting fish in a barrel – Most people have heard the phrase, “like shooting fish in a barrel,” but that’s trickier than it sounds. One bad shot can put a hole in a barrel, causing the water to pour out. Today, some savvy fishermen prefer to place a battery-operated device in the barrel to electrocute the fish.
Chimpanzee chess – Chimps are the most intelligent of all our primate cousins. Some have been taught to play tic-tac-toe, checkers and chess, and defeating the brainy beasts takes plenty of concentration.
Rabbit wrestling – What’s up, Doc? Try getting a squirming bunny into a leg lock, and you’ll learn how difficult this sport really is.
Ant-mashing – Army ants are among the most dangerous and destructive creatures on earth, and a bite from their relative the fire ant can be almost as painful. Sportsmen pour a dozen of the insects out of a jar and into a box, then stomp on them as they scurry about at top speed. Enthusiasts say the sport requires “excellent eye-foot coordination.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth