Archive for May 21st, 2008


Poles? We Don’t Need no Stinkin’ Poles!

Most people are looking forward to the upcoming long weekend, but for some avid sportsmen in Vermont, May 25 signals the end of days. That’s because this coming Sunday is the final day of the annual Vermont fish shooting season, an activity allowed only on the northeastern part of Lake Champlain and nowhere else in the country. From March 25 to May 25 fishermen (hunters?) are allowed to use guns and particularly shotguns in order to go after the carp, bowfin and pike that reside in the lake.

‘It’s harder to shoot a swimming fish than it is a flying duck, though it’s not easy to shoot either,” said Ron Gallant, a hunter from New Hampshire. John Noyes of Vermont said: ”Some people think it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s not that easy. It takes a lot more stamina than sitting on a river bank with a pole.”

So long as you are not using a semi-automatic weapon able to house 7 or more rounds, anything goes. You want to use a .357 Magnum, go nuts. I’m not a hunter, I’ve never gone ever, although I wouldn’t be totally opposed, I’ve just never had the opportunity, nor do I think I have the requisite patience required for such an affair. Fishing I’ve done, and found it to be incredibly mind-numbingly boring, although, I did once catch a speedboat from a bridge overpass, and the dude whose boat it was cussed me out pretty good, helping my 8 year old self learn some valuable swear words.

According to a Vermont gaming spokesman, the annual fish shooting is not a ”sporting event,” and he added: ”We’ve always had people try to stop the shoot. The idea of banning it has been introduced in the Legislature, but it never got off the ground.”

Apparently “the hunters regard the fish shoot as a way to take advantage of the good weather after a long, cold winter. ”It’s a way to get out of doors with the guys and a chance of landing a large pike,” Gallant said.

I’m not totally surprised by this, Vermont has some of the loosest gun laws in the country (despite their reputation for liberalism) and people in that area love to hunt from what I’ve gathered. That said, shooting fish just seems neither sporting nor difficult and more rednecky than anything else. At least it’s not dynamite fishing I suppose. It would seem to me that shooting fish would be more damaging to the good parts of the fish to eat, not to mention leaving lots of fun little pellets within the fish itself. Nothing I enjoy more than biting into some food and finding tiny metal shards used to bring said creature’s death about. Fun!

That said, who wants to get a gun and go shoot some fish, let’s make our own deadliest catch…

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May 2008