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|Sent: 5/13/2005 5:10 PM|
dumb fucking rednecks
Stow the rods, break out the rifles
Spring fish shooting cherished tradition in rural Vermont
Pam Belluck, New York Times
Tuesday, May 11, 2005
St. Albans Bay, Vt. -- The hunter's prey darted into the shadows, just out of reach of Henry Demar's gun.
"Come on, stand up and be counted," Demar muttered. "There was a ripple that came out of the weeds. There's something out there."
Dressed in camouflage, gripping his .357 Magnum, Demar was primed to shoot. But this time, no such luck. With a flick of its tail, his quarry -- a slick, silvery fish -- was gone.
Fish shooting is a sport in Vermont, and every spring, hunters break out their artillery -- high-caliber pistols, shotguns, even AK-47s -- and head to the marshes to exercise their right to bear arms against fish.
It is a controversial pastime, and Vermont's fish and wildlife regulators have repeatedly tried to ban it. They call it unsportsmanlike and dangerous, warning that a bullet striking water can ricochet across the water like a skipping stone.
But fish shooting has survived, a cherished tradition for some Vermont families and a novelty to some young people. Every spring, fixated fish hunters climb into trees overhanging the water or perch on the banks of marshes that lace Lake Champlain, on Vermont's northwest border.
"They call us crazy, I guess, to go sit in a tree and wait for fish to come out," said retired locomotive engineer Dean Paquette, 66, as he struggled to describe the fish-shooting rush. "It's something that once you've done it . . ."
There is art, or at least science, to shooting fish, aficionados say. Most fish hunters do not want to shoot the actual fish, because then "you can't really eat them," Paquette said. "They just kind of shatter."
Instead, said Demar, "you try to shoot just in front of the fish's nose or head." The bullet torpedoes to the marsh bottom and creates "enough concussion that it breaks the fish's air bladder, and it floats to the surface. "
Permitted from March 25 to May 25, and only on Lake Champlain, fish shooting has probably existed for a century.
Virginia used to have several fish-shooting areas, said Alan Weaver, a fish biologist with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Today, Weaver said, the only place is the Clinch River in remote Scott County, where, six weeks a year, people can shoot bottom-feeders like "quill-back suckers and red-horse suckers." Virginia is the only other state where fish shooting is still legal, Vermont officials said.
In 1969, fish and wildlife officials in New York and Vermont banned fish shooting. But Vermonters were loath to sever the primal link between fish and firearms, so in 1970, the Legislature not only reinstated the sport, it also added fish like carp and shad to the target list, bringing the number to 10.
Since then, there have been several efforts to stop fish shooting, also called fish hunting (since it requires a hunting license) or pickerel shooting (although the main target is northern pike, a pickerel cousin). But they have been stopped by noisy objections from a small but dedicated bunch.
Hunters like Demar, 45, joined recently by his half brother, Calvin Rushford, 56, and Calvin's 9-year-old grandson, Cody, say they make sure that their bullets hit the water no more than 10 feet from where they stand. That way, said Rushford, who like Demaris is a disabled former construction worker, "you'll have no problem because the bullet won't ricochet."
Indeed, state officials say they know of no gunshot injuries from the sport.
State officials also say that fish shooting disturbs nesting birds and that killing spawning females could endanger the northern pike population (although so far there is no evidence it has).
Worst of all, state officials say, many shooters do not retrieve all the fish they kill. They leave behind fish they cannot find or do not want to wade after and fish that exceed the state's five-pike-a-day limit or fall under the 20-inch minimum length for northern pike.
Recommend Message 7 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameAnji Sent: 5/13/2005 6:16 PM
Indeed they have... often. I actually like this post. I've never heard of fish shooting... this entertains me
The number of members that recommended this message. 0 recommendations Message 8 of 15 in Discussion
Sent: 5/13/2005 6:50 PM
This message has been deleted by the author.
Recommend Message 9 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameSteppenw00lfe Sent: 5/13/2005 6:52 PM
Poli is the weirdo who doesn't like guns or democracy?
Recommend Message 10 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameFlat_Paul Sent: 5/13/2005 7:57 PM
What is your point PoliRat?
Are you afraid of people owning guns?
If so why?
Recommend Message 11 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameLargs® Sent: 5/13/2005 8:14 PM
I think I might be afraid of someone who goes fishing with a .357 magnum.
Recommend Message 12 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameNorthernprospector1 Sent: 5/13/2005 8:25 PM
When I want to stock the larder my favourite way to fish is a stick of powder (dynamite) with a short fuse. Sumpin like shooting fish in a barrel.
Recommend Message 13 of 15 in Discussion
From: Sitsonsix Sent: 5/13/2005 8:39 PM
"dumb fucking rednecks"
No kidding. It's difficult to find a state that votes more solidly for the Democrats.
Recommend Message 14 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameRedneck_Dave Sent: 5/13/2005 8:52 PM
Who is slandering rednecks?
Recommend Message 15 of 15 in Discussion
From: MSN NicknameFlat_Paul Sent: 5/14/2005 12:09 PM
Don't forget the nets Prospector, otherwise they could swim away on ya!
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