I haven’t done a whole lot of coyote hunting over the years. But the coyote populations have been up lately, at least around where I live, and the more of ‘em I see, the more I get the itch to go hunting.
Besides, I have a new rifle I’d like to take out shooting. But that’s where my moral dilemma comes in. I don’t have a problem with hunting animals I’m not going to eat, as long as it’s done in the spirit of fair chase. And if you’ve ever hunted coyotes, you know there’s plenty of fair chase involved in that endeavor.
That’s not what causes me concern. I have no trouble with the hunt itself. And if I’m lucky enough to get one or two, I have plans to use the pelts, so it’s not like I’ll be just killing ‘em and leaving ‘em. No, the problem’s with the new rifle.
It’s a sweet gun, and I’ve been wanting one for a couple of years now. I bought it with the intention of using it only for target shooting, and maybe a competition or two, but not for hunting of any kind. There’s nothing wrong with it for a hunting gun, other than its looks. It’s an AR-15 clone, so it has that tactical rifle look to it. To me, it’s a really pretty gun, but the problem comes with what other people might see when they look at it.
Here’s the thing. It’s very similar to what our troops carry overseas, and some of the anti-hunting crowd equate it with a fully automatic rifle. It’s not, but it looks like one. So I guess if I take it coyote hunting, which is perfectly legal and within my rights, I do need to be discreet about it. I won’t be posting photos on the Web of myself posing with 30 dead coyotes and a black rifle like I just conquered Iraq. I won’t crack off 20 rounds at a running animal. I’ll behave like an ethical sportsman who is engaging in some responsible fun. It’s what we should all do, regardless of the style of rifle or bow we take with us to the field. The future of our sport might depend on it.