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Posts Tagged ‘hunting’

I often get question on my methods and intentions as to how I tend to take an ‘in-your-face’ approach to addressing absurdities and things that I view as bad behavior. When describing such things, I am quick to point out that I do such things ‘when appropropriate’. What this means is not only do I judge whether a situation is worth (deserves) speaking out about, but whether it can be done in a manner that will not bring harm unto myself. (see my blog post on the Golden Rule) When pressed for an example of what I’m talking about, there is one particular story that always pops into my head.

When I was still living with my folks and going to college, I did a greater deal of my hunting at a small plot of old Dodge family donated land in NE Oakland county called simply “Dodge Park #10” up off of Oakwood Road north of Oxford, MI. As it was not an official ‘park’ (with any facilities or a day use area) the bulk of the people using it were hunters in the fall. However, in that it was rather remote down the dirt portion of Oakwood road surrounded by undeveloped land on the north and a large aggregate gravel pit on the south, it was often a hangout for local high school kids outside of the hunting season.
One particular year, the state Department of Natural Resources was having trouble with kids ‘baha-ing’ off of the state access service road behind the main parking area. Initially they had up a rather basic locked swing gate. The kids broke off the lock. Then they bolted the gate shut. The kids unbolted it. Finally they brought in a whole dump-truck full of dirt and broken up concrete, put it across the entire service road making it inaccessible even to themselves and again put up the bolted gate.

oakwoodOne particular fall during bow season, I show up at the main parking lot to find 3 cars of hunters – all standing around gawking, and a jeep full of high school kids in various states of industry. By the time I showed up, the kids had already unbolted the gate again and they were in the process (about 8 of them) of removing the concrete blocks one by one. I surveyed the scene and most of the hunters were looking at one another and shrugging. Reluctant to leave thinking they should do something, but the looks on their faces amounting to “what can we do?”
I wasted no time and quickly went about donning my hunting gear and feigning to be oblivious to what was going on as I listened to the conversations on both sides. The kids were content in ignoring the other hunters and myself, realizing they felt they could do nothing about it and taking advantage of that fact. The hunters kept making comments to one another quiet enough not to be heard by the kids along the lines of ‘what gall’ and again, ‘well, what can you do?’ (mind you, this was before wide scale use of personal cell phones)

I eventually finished getting my gear on, threw my bow over my shoulder and took one last look at the hunters with an attempt to put a very obvious ‘disappointed’ look on my face communicating ‘how pathetic you are!’ I locked up the back of the truck, went to the front and reached into the console where I always kept a pad of paper and a pen for just such events. (I should also point out that when I came into the parking lot, I backed into my space so my truck would be facing forward)
I then took the pen and pad and walked so as to be as obvious as possible up behind the jeep and scribbled something down. A couple of the kids looked up at me as I did this and I just gave them a wave and a sarcastic smile, walked back over to my truck, put the pen back in the visor and threw the still-open pad of paper onto the dashboard where it would be well within view of anyone that wandered over to look. I then re-situated my bow on my shoulder, tipped my camo wool stetson at the hunters with a look of ‘was that hard?’ then gave another sarcastic smile to one of the kids still watching me, tipping my hat again and proceeded to walk into the woods.

Knowing that there was going to be quite a spectacle going on behind me and guessing that no one would make a move until I was well out of sight, I headed for a thick spot in the brush, walked into it and proceeded to do a ‘j-hook’ so I could watch what resulted. Since I was in full camo and tend to be quite stealthy in the woods, I was quite certain no one saw me pull off this maneuver and since it was a thick stand of alders, I was also confident no one saw me looking on.

First one of the hunters came over and looked at the slip and threw his hands up turning to his buddies and laughing. “why didn’t I think of that?” he said – or something of the sort. Most of the kids had gone back to working on removing the blocks except for the main two who watched me writing. The one that continued to watch me then walked over to take a look at the slip himself.It was obvious he had a good idea what was on the slip already, but he then quickly went over to grab one of the larger boys (probably either the one who was driving or the one who had the bright idea to go out baha’ing that particular afternoon). They both walked over and looked at the slip again as the hunters started to laugh and grab there own things finally assuming the most likely result.
The two boys talked to one another briefly, took a look around to see if they could spot where I went but I was well out of sight, paused briefly, looked back at my truck, looked at the other hunters watching them intently then finally shrugged and told their friends to pack it in. They all loaded into the jeep and left and I never saw the jeep or the kids there again – and the bricks remained until I stopped hunting there years later.

What did I right down? Well in case you hadn’t figured it out all ready, just a couple of letters and numbers. I simply wrote down their license plate and a short description of the jeep.

The point being, that as long as the kids felt no one could – and no one would – do anything to stop them, they felt emboldened to do whatever they pleased. As long as it was obvious that the hunters were just going to stand there and do nothing, there was no problem with doing something that was obviously wrong. It wasn’t until someone ‘stood up’ and did ‘something’ that said – “no, not gonna happen – not on my watch – not without appropriate consequences” that they decided to give up their venture.

licenseI didn’t make a huge scene. I didn’t get in any arguments. I didn’t tell them what to do or what not to do. I simply made it clear that they were being watched, and that I had taken note of who they were and what they were doing with one simple gesture.

As an aside, I had already used this practice – most specifically against other hunters who were behaving badly. (it’s a subject for another blog, but I am far harder on other hunters behaving badly then I would ever be to ‘day users’ because, in a manner of speaking, those hunters represent me) In those cases, such as when hunters are shooting at anything that moves or at road signs, dumping trash, drinking beer, etc. I wait for said hunters to be well back in the woods and simply write down their license plate number and stick it – by itself – under their own windshield wiper. There’s nothing funnier but to watch than one of them coming back to the car and going through the chain of thought necessary to realize that if someone had the where-with-all to write it down once, that they could write it down twice – then to think back through their own mind to what they might have done to inspire it. It requires them to come to their own conclusions as to what they may have been doing to ‘inspire’ such a gesture, then make their own choice how to proceed.

Apathy sux! Pass it along…

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There’s no such thing as an ‘assault’ weapon. There are weapons better geared to be used in armed assaults, but I wouldn’t take a deer rifle to a gun fight.

Let me expound on what I mean by that. Yes, there are weapons that aren’t suited to ‘hunting’. Most hunters hunt for the meat, or sometimes the hide, maybe the horns. (I personally have not found a good recipe for horn yet, so I hunt for my love of venison and wild game) You would not, for example, want to use a bazooka to shoot a deer if your intention was to get dinner. (that is unless you have a pallet that prefers bruised, blood, bone and hair speckled hamburger) But technically you ‘could’ use a bazooka to shoot a deer, just the results would not be suitable. So it’s safe to say a bazooka does not make for a good deer rifle.


Squirrel Hunting with an AK-47
But any time you create a ‘classification’ and intend to define things by way of that classification, if another classification equally applies, the stereotyping of that item is potentially invalidated. I know, for example a great many hunters who like to use AK-47’s because they are one of the most reliable weapons ever made. You can literally drop them in the mud, drag them through the sand, bury them in 12″ of top soil, pull them out and still get them to fire accurately enough to take down a deer. So although built to be used for armed assaults, they make very effective weapons for just about any purpose.

But let’s focus on those most ‘evil’ of weapons folks try to demonize. Weapons that are designed with the full intention of killing as many enemies as possible. Large round, full metal jacket, metal spraying machines who’s primary design and purpose is to hurl as much lethal stuff at human bodies as possible in the shortest span of time. They probably wouldn’t be suitable for hosing down deer if, as in most places, you are only provided 1 or 2 kill tags.

The problem is that any weapon created for the purpose of carrying out assaults works equally well for the purpose of defending against those assaults. Any weapon that poses a threat to others is capable of posing a deterrent to others as well. Thus any so-called ‘assault’ weapon is equally classifiable as an ‘anti-assault’ weapon. It’s all in how it is used.

Despite the desires of the anti-gun crowd to suggest otherwise, I have conducted multiple experiments. I have, for example, taken out my Ruger 10/22, thrown a fully loaded 30 round banana clip into it and set it on the table in such a configuration that it met one of the original qualifications as an ‘assault’ weapon. I set it out thus and left it there, properly supervised of course, for over 3 days straight. It never once got up off the table, ran out, and started mowing down innocent civilians and children. As I say, I have repeated this and similar experiments with my other weapons many times. Not once has any of them gone out and performed a killing spree on their own.

So the notion of an ‘assault’ weapon is nothing more than a rhetorical myth created by people who want to demonize something they do not wish to bear any responsibility for. But be damn sure, if they ever need that ‘anti-assault’ capability, they’ll be finding someone properly trained and throw those guns into their hands, all the while begging them “save me save me!” All I can say is ‘how pathetic!’

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I resent Earth day. So I think it’s about time I had a good ole Earth-Day-Mirth-Day rant.274_cartoon_happy_earth_day_large

I resent Earth Day in part because I’ve been involved in countering animal “rights” and environmental extremist groups for over 2 1/2 decades and thus I am very familiar with both the green movement (and all of it’s predecessors) as well as Earth Day itself.  This nouveau populist pap  is a manufactured feel-good-bullshit day created by a bunch of ludite, anti-industrial marxists who perverted concern for the environment into a political cause to advance their own pet agendas and abrogate rights of free loving people around the world with one pseudo-science-crisis after another.

The other reason I despise the sentiment of Earth Day is because it gives all the lazy assholes who couldn’t give a flying rat’s butt what happens to that McDonald’s wrapper or the pop can they hurl out the car window during rush hour, an excuse to think because they ‘think green’ on and off a couple of times during the 18 waking hours of one day out of the year, that they are being environmentally friendly and responsible.

I have been involved in conservation and responsible use efforts since I was old enough to tag along with my father when he did the same. I am watching out for the environment every single day out of the year.

But these pompous, self-righteous, pretentious fuck heads more-often-than-not will curl their nose up at me when I tell them I actually hunt and fish rather than buying plastic windmills (made from oil byproducts) and synthetic clothing (made from oil by-products) and eating tofu (made from soy beans grown on land that could be used for habitat instead of growing their god damn tasteless bean paste), etc.

So every day for me is earth day bitches! Ya don’t like? Well guess what, on your precious Lenin’s birt… er I mean ‘earth day’….  that will now be my one day out of the year where I don’t do jack squat dick bupkiss, when I won’t stop to think about doo-wah-diddly-dip, and shall not think for a second about not making a big ass mess of anywhere I go!

In fact, I think I’ll take my gas guzzling SUV, drive a bigass long way tomorrow to go to public land, catch as many fish as I can stuff on a stringer, clean them right there in the lake and splay the fish entrails all over the futha mucking dock!

Natural? Ya want Natural? There’s a little bit of #($)@( “NATURAL” for ya !!!! that’s as #@()#($() natural as it gets mutha @(#!@#$@!

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We have all gotten soft.  We lead our lives in a sanitized way where we are able to avoid the thoughts of the blood that is on all of our hands.  We have built a society where it is possible for us to abdicate the job of ‘killing’ in our name onto others.  The job of killing for our food, the job of killing for our defense and public safety, the job of killing to build our homes.

This train of thought is one that I have visited before many times in regards to the practice of hunting, but was raised more recently after someone posted a video of police officers killing an aggressive dog in LaGrange, MO.  Many of the links and comments on this video follow a simple theme.  People are outraged.

Perhaps the outrage is justified, but I felt it necessary to take a contrarian role since most people will react to such videos based on the emotional ‘gut’ reaction of watching something die rather than stopping to think further.  My initial comments included:

Worthy of criticism? Of course. Condemnation? I can’t say – I wasn’t there. It’s easy to sit outside such a situation and pass judgement based on ‘feelings’ – but I try not to pass judgments based solely on feelings.

Anthropomorphizing is the real enemy here. We all see our pets as members of the family and transfer those feelings onto other animals that come to harm. I guess my experience has given me a more grounded approach when it comes to animals.

A=A – is what is. An animal is not a human – or to counter the Ingrid Newkirks of the world, a rat is NOT a pig is NOT a dog is NOT a boy.

There is obvious grounds for critique on whatever causes led these guys to this action, but that does not necessarily equate to critique of the officers themselves.

To paraphrase Ted Nugent, the truth is that we all have a blood trail and a series of gutpiles behind us.  Things have to die to make our food, things have to die to make our clothing, things have to die to build our houses and so we can drive our cars.

When I was very young, I used to often explore the Z Farms behind our house.  Before too long the Z Farms were sold to make way for a new subdivision.  For a number of years, the majority of the landmass remained undeveloped as houses slowly popped up one after another.  But the roads made it easy access to a kid on a bike.

I used to love running around Heather Lake (renamed from it’s prior name ‘Dennis Lake’ which didn’t work as well for the new sub’s marketing) and seeing the various wildlife.  We saw deer, quail, mink, rabbits, woodcock, partridge, pheasant.  One year there was an entire family of fox that we found living under a bunch of fallen logs.  They kenneled up there for 3 years straight, each year bearing about 3-6 kits.  The only reason they stopped kenneling there was – you guessed it – someone decided to build a house there.

Dennis Lake used to be great for fishing too.  There was one spot that would get so many pumpkinseeds bedding up, that you could literally catch them with a bare hook – not snagging, they were so hungry they would bite at just about anything.  Oh, I should also add that this bedding area was just below the fox dens and it too was destroyed when the house was built.

The irony of it all is, that the people that moved into that house turned out to be rather outspoken pro-animal “rights” types, a reporter for a local news station in Detroit.  (I took great joys stopping by every now and again and pointing out that their driveway used to be a fox den and their new sand beach used to be a breeding area for the fish)

Swear off meat, give away all your leather and fur, ride a bike to work and start living in a tree – and stuff will still die so you can survive.  Ask any farmer how many small animals die below the tilling blades of their combines to make room for those soybeans and sprouts.  Ask any biologist how many animals have to be killed or displaced to build our neighborhoods and yes, even farms.

By the time I got to college, I had become an outspoken hunting advocate.  One of the projects I helped sponsor for a hunting, fishing and shooting club I started on campus was to encourage all of our members to keep track of ‘roadkill’ they saw as a means to raise awareness to just the sort of thing I am talking about here – stuff dies so we can live.  Oakland University was a commuters campus (where most of the students drove to college from home) and each of us came from a different direction.  There were five of us regularly keeping track of what we saw, trying also to not count any dead, roadside animals we had seen previously.

By the time we were done, the numbers even shocked me.  With five of us keeping regular track over a period of about 2 months, we didn’t just see dozens, or hundreds.  We literally counted THOUSANDS of animals.  The largest category was one I dubbed ‘UFO’ for ‘unidentifiably flattened organisms’.

The entire concept was culminated when someone chose to challenge me one day on the ‘morality’ of my hunting.  The person in question was wearing leather shoes and a leather jacket.  Upon questioning, they were not a vegetarian.  The crux of their argument was ‘how can you kill your own food?’  My question was, how can you challenge the morality of my killing my own without looking at the moral question of abdicating the job of killing yours?  Killing my own food (whenever possible) IS my moral code!

How many of us stop to think about the animal(s) that had to die to make our Whopper (and fries and coke) or the animals that were evicted to dig the foundation for our homes?  I do almost every time.  But, more importantly, how many of us cringe and immediately jump with an urge to shout foul any time we run across something that requires us to look upon the killing of an animal at all?

Death isn’t pretty.  But to reword a popular cliche, death happens.  (or if you prefer “Shit Dies!”)  It’s easy to try to see animals anthropomorphized as ‘human-like’.  But animals are not humans.  They can’t rationalize, identify, reduce, integrate, retain or conceptualize.  Animals do not have morals, are not sentient and do not have “rights”.

The goal of ‘humane’ behavior should be to keep unnecessary harm coming to animals.  But rational behavior is to know that sometimes, like it or not, the death of animals may be necessary or us humans to survive.

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In that both of my parents were school teachers, we used to spend our summers up at the Canada Creek Ranch during the summer break from school.  Many of the other kids that were up there for the duration of the summer were also children of school teachers.  Sure, there were other groups of kids that would come and go, but the one’s that tended to be up there for the entire summer tended to all be teacher-kids and thus we ended up hanging around together a lot  more than any of the other kids.

One such kid was my friend Mark.  He was an outdoors dork like me.  In fact, Mark could be a bit more of an outdoors dork than me sometimes.  We were both skinny little guys at the time, but Mark had dark, thick rimmed glasses, brown curly hair and was seldom seen without wearing a fishing hat like something you’d see Marty Stouffer wearing.

That particular summer, Mark had picked up a nickname.  Both his older brother and my older brother got to calling him ‘Ulee’.  Mark had taken to reading any magazine on fishing, hunting or the outdoors that he could get his hands on, and doing whatever the article said.

He drilled out all his crank baits and put BB’s inside. He started re-painting all his jigheads in flame orange and chartreuse. He broke the barbs on some of his fish-hooks to make it easier to set the hook. He stuck reflective tape on his spoons. He started building special rigs for perch fishing even though there were very few perch in any of the lakes.  He even started learning and tying all sorts of knots for practice.

…and this here knot used to be used to tie indians to posts for target practice…” (ok, that’s a tad of an exaggeration, but you get the idea)

Someone – it may have been his dad, one of his many older brothers or maybe even my dad – suggested one day that if Mark saw one of Ule Gibbons TV shows that told you how you could eat tree bark, Mark would be out there scraping at the trees with his pocket knife inside of 10 minutes.  My brother Tim and Mark’s brother John were within earshot of the comment and the nickname stuck.

Mark’s and my families both had canoes.  With a little coordinating, we figured out how we could canvas any of the three main lakes in the cabin area by keeping each of our canoes on a different lake and fishing together.  For example, we found out one day that it wasn’t horribly difficult to carry my family’s Michicraft up over the hill between the Lake Geneva beach and down to Wildfowl lake.  From there, it was a short paddle over to the docks and then just a short portage across the road over to Horsehead lake.

On this particular day, we had a plan and we were on a mission. I’m not sure which one of us had gotten the crazy idea first, but we had both seen a bunch of snakes hanging out sunning themselves on a beaver mound near the back corner of Horsehead lake.  Neither of us had seen any rattles on any of them so we determined that they must be northern water snakes.  The only snakes with any kind of venom to worry about were the rattlers.  (Massasauga rattlers are the only pit viper in Michigan)

Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake

Our idea was to clobber one of those water snakes to get it’s skin.  I was already diddling in leather work at the time and Mark kinda liked the crazy idea as a change of pace.  It was like huntin!!!  And we were frankly getting bored with fishing every day.

So we hauled the canoe across the hill, then over to Horsehead and set off for the Beaver mound.  We weren’t disappointed either.  Even before we got close we could make out a whole slew of snakes already slithering down into the branches or off into the water.

We pulled up along side the mound and scanned the remaining visible snakes.  We wanted to make damn sure we didn’t see any rattles on any of them.  After looking good and hard but not seeing any rattles, we picked out a snake and proceeded to clobber it over the head ‘but good’.  (of course, not without a few misses, a whole lot of splashing and nearly tipping over the canoe twice)

The snake ended up in the water just off the edge of the beaver mound. Since I was the one that would likely get the job of skinning it, I got stuck with the job of scooping it up in the net.

I got the snake into the net and picked it up out of the water, pausing to let the water drip out of the mesh, then moved the net into the boat.  The next thing you know, the snake starts to move around.  Both of us panic!

Even though the idea of a northern water snake didn’t really skeeze either of us out, the thought of a snake squirming around inside of a wobbly canoe wasn’t the most pleasant notion to consider.   Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was to donk it over the head again.  But I didn’t want to rip a hole in my net either so I told Mark to get his paddle ready because I was going to dump the snake out into the bottom of the boat.

As I flipped the net over, the snake’s “fangs” hung up in the net.

Mind you, I already mentioned that northern water snakes don’t have fangs.  Massasauga rattlers have fangs.  Massasauga rattlers are the only snakes in Michigan that are considered deadly poisonous.  So, obviously, this snake must be a Massasauga rattle snake and not a northern water snake.

This is approximately the same thought process that was running through both of our minds at that very moment; me holding a fish net out at arms length with a half stupefied snake hanging off it by it’s fangs, Mark holding his paddle dangling out over the side of the boat.  Both of our eyes scanned down to the tail at the same time as we continued our thought process in sync with one another.  Nope, no rattle – what the…. ?!?!?

Now is about the time a real panic started to set in.  Now is also about the time it would have been appropriate for someone, anywhere nearby to start the song ‘Dance of the Cuckoos’ because events quickly degraded into a bad scene from a Laurel and Hardy movie.

Ahhhh, why does it have fangs?” I said.

uh… uh… crap! THROW IT OUT – IT’S STILL MOVING,” stuttered mark.

*wobble wobble* said the canoe.

“No wait, I have an idea!” I responded as I slowly lowered the snake’s body back onto the floor of the boat.

“What the heck are you doing?!?!” cried Mark, “Get it out!”

“No trust me…. He’s stuck in the net.  I’m going to stretch him out see?”  Realizing the snake was still somewhat out of it, I stretched his body out in a straight line using the net to keep him ‘hung up’ so he couldn’t move – much.

“If I stretch them out like this they can’t coil to strike.  Right?”  I asked the question in part to put Mark a bit more at ease, in part hoping he might answer it and do the same for me ” He’s still dazed anyway!” I added, hoping that if it wasn’t so, that saying it might just make it so somehow.

At that point I grabbed for my paddle with my other hand.  Before I completely set the snake down, I stuck the blade of the paddle right across the middle of it’s neck behind the head.

“Just like that see?  Now hit my paddle.”

“OK, now hit my paddle with yours!”

Before I could say anything, Mark swung his paddle out to the side and gave a hefty lateral swing.  In his panic state he almost took out my fingers in the process, not to mention that he made me lose my hold on the snake with the end of the paddle.

“DAMMIT ULEE!!! NOT FROM THE SIDE YOU IDIOT!!!  FROM THE TOP… FROM THE TOP!!!”

I quickly moved the blade of my paddle back onto the neck of the snake.  My shouting seemed to snap Mark back to a reasonable level of sanity and he made sense of the idea.  He gave the top of the paddle a good 4 to 5 thumps with his.

We both stood back as I released the pressure off of the paddle and placed the net over the top of the snake, keeping it’s fangs hooked up in the net for ‘additional safety‘ I thought.  After a few seconds we looked at each other and nodded.  Without needing to say a word, we quickly sat down and paddled back to the dock.

I’m not sure which one of us landed on shore first, but we were leaping out of the canoe at the same time without any need for further instruction.

After a few minutes passed, we determined the snake was really a goner this time but still didn’t have the nerve to take it back to skin it right away.  Instead we stuck it down in a shallow marsh puddle behind where we pulled the canoe up and resolved to go hit the ‘Trading Post’ for a pop.  Then we would see if it was still wiggling by the time we came back.

It was a good 15 minutes, even from Horsehead lake, up the hill to the front gate of the Ranch on foot. So we figured that would be more than enough time to make sure it was dead.

Now I don’t know if those 4-5 whacks didn’t do the trick or if someone (or some critter) came by and spotted the snake, but there was no trace of it when we came back a half-an-hour later!  For the next few weeks we were extremely wary any time we fished Horsehead lake for fear there was an irked off rattlesnake wearing a neck brace lurking somewhere back in the bushes!

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Free e-text version:
http://www.literature.org/authors/burroughs-edgar-rice/tarzan-of-the-apes/

Free audiobook version:
http://librivox.org/tarzan-of-the-apes/

I always liked Burroughs. I read some of the Mars, Venus and even a little Pellucidar. I regret not having read this series sooner! Great objective examination from a very unique perspective. A child left to mature to manhood among apes – and excelling through not only his body but his power of reason!

But there was that which had raised him far above his fellows of the jungle–that little spark which spells the whole vast difference between man and brute–Reason.

Opinion was divided as to the bravery of the king of beasts –some maintaining that he was an arrant coward, but all agreeing that it was with a feeling of greater security that they gripped their express rifles when the monarch of the jungle roared about a camp at night.

D’Arnot and Tarzan had agreed that his past be kept secret, and so none other than the French officer knew of the ape-man’s familiarity with the beasts of the jungle.

“Monsieur Tarzan has not expressed himself,” said one of the party. “A man of his prowess who has spent some time in Africa, as I understand Monsieur Tarzan has, must have had experiences with lions–yes?”

“Some,” replied Tarzan, dryly. “Enough to know that each of you are right in your judgment of the characteristics of the lions–you have met. But one might as well judge all blacks by the fellow who ran amuck last week, or decide that all whites are cowards because one has met a cowardly white.

“There is as much individuality among the lower orders, gentlemen, as there is among ourselves. Today we may go out and stumble upon a lion which is over-timid–he runs away from us. To-morrow we may meet his uncle or his twin brother, and our friends wonder why we do not return from the jungle. For myself, I always assume that a lion is ferocious, and so I am never caught off my guard.”

“There would be little pleasure in hunting,” retorted the first speaker, “if one is afraid of the thing he hunts.”

D’Arnot smiled. Tarzan afraid!

“I do not exactly understand what you mean by fear,” said Tarzan. “Like lions, fear is a different thing in different men, but to me the only pleasure in the hunt is the knowledge that the hunted thing has power to harm me as much as I have to harm him. If I went out with a couple of rifles and a gun bearer, and twenty or thirty beaters, to hunt a lion, I should not feel that the lion had much chance, and so the pleasure of the hunt would be lessened in proportion to the increased safety which I felt.”

“Then I am to take it that Monsieur Tarzan would prefer to go naked into the jungle, armed only with a jackknife, to kill the king of beasts,” laughed the other, good naturedly, but with the merest touch of sarcasm in his tone.

“And a piece of rope,” added Tarzan.

Just then the deep roar of a lion sounded from the distant jungle, as though to challenge whoever dared enter the lists with him.

“There is your opportunity, Monsieur Tarzan,” bantered the Frenchman.

“I am not hungry,” said Tarzan simply.

The men laughed, all but D’Arnot. He alone knew that a savage beast had spoken its simple reason through the lips of the ape-man.

“But you are afraid, just as any of us would be, to go out there naked, armed only with a knife and a piece of rope,” said the banterer. “Is it not so?”

“No,” replied Tarzan. “Only a fool performs any act without reason.”

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