I killed six animals in the past two days. I lured them in with bait and then callously snuffed them out.
It gets worse. Not only did I not bother eating what I killed, but I also tossed their nasty carcasses into a garbage can.
Sounds awful, I know. But the subject is a timely one, given that the baiting of big game is becoming an issue in Utah. Deer hunters, for example, will put out a supply of apples to draw in the game and then kill whichever one they want.
Killing an animal while it’s enjoying a snack is not considered sporting to other hunters because it further tips the balance in favor of the hunter. But it’s legal in Utah.
I bait hunt. The bait is the seed that falls from the bird feeders I set out. Birds are slobs. The seed goes everywhere. But since I like birds, and they don’t try to come into the house, I tolerate it.
Mice — attracted by the seed — do try to come inside. So I kill them. Knowing they’re unintentionally baited by the seed makes it easier. I set the traps at night, so as to not catch a bird accidentally, then gather the head-flattened, eyes-popped mice corpses in the morning.
I considered trapping them alive and unharmed. That would be more humane, right?
Wrong. The word “humane” has its roots set in the word “human,” as in human compassion or benevolence. This, of course, is nonsense. There’s nothing more human than killing stuff, especially when we enjoy it.
When I realized that we had a mouse problem — by stepping on one in the kitchen last year — I considered a more gentle way of getting rid of them. Could there be any possible benefit in taking them alive?
Taking one to church and turning it loose immediately came to mind, but since everyone in the congregation would immediately blame me, I decided to kill them instead. The mice. Not the … well, you know.
It’s not that I’m overly concerned about killing mice. There was a time when I hunted. Deer, elk, rabbits, and ducks mostly, but not anymore. Today, I’ll only shoot animals (or blow them up) if there’s a legitimate need:
• If one is trying to eat me.
• If one is trying to eat someone or something that I care about.
If, for example, I’m helping to push cows at Tavaputs Ranch, I’ll shoot coyotes on sight. I use a handgun because that’s normally all I have at the time. I’d shoot them with a rifle, a machine gun or a bazooka. Hell, I’d throw grenades at them if that’s what it took to get the job done.
Killing coyotes isn’t for sport. It’s just business — like I do with the mice at my house. And the business, in this case, is protecting livestock from being eaten.
What? Yes, so we can eat them ourselves later. What the hell did you think was going to happen to them?
I’m not anti-hunting. It’s just too much work. Besides, what’s sporting about using a telescopic sight to shoot an unsuspecting bull elk on the other side of a canyon?
If you want to call hunting a sport, even the odds a bit. Scatter some apples around, fine. But then you should be required to kill your selected deer with a hammer or a tire iron.
Even the animal being hunted might admit that’s sporting.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.