Rabbit Hunt with Joe | Opinion
It has been a great week all over Alabama. The high temperature varied throughout the upper 70s and the days were getting shorter, faster. I was a freshman at university enjoying life away from home for the first time.
I had met people from all over the country, learning in the process that different wasn’t necessarily bad, just different.
For example, I met a guy from a place in the middle of New York who had a “thing” about filming things. Now don’t get me wrong about her pulling something fetish. It’s not like he fulfilled his gun fetish by hitting some budding little Mafia guy. He was neat, had good grades in fairly difficult subjects … especially math, and he was polite too.
His name, which I changed to protect the innocent, is Joe. Is that a good old name, all American, or what?
I was in the dining room one day sitting across from Joe when the subject started hunting. Joe was immediately involved in the conversation. I want to go hunting with “you guys and shoot something,” Joe said. ” Something in particular ? Came a question from a guy sitting next to Joe. It only took a few seconds for Joe to respond. “I want to shoot a rabbit. “
The table burst out laughing. Someone nearby overheard this part of the conversation and let out a campaign cry before hammering their fist on the dining room table. All this table group that was within earshot followed suit.
I explained that I wanted to continue the discussion later in the evening after dinner. At dinner time, there was no free space near where Joe was sitting. I asked the first “shoot something” question and just at the right time came Joe’s answer. “Yes that’s right. We’ll start with a rabbit and work your way up the food chain. The laughter was noticeably more contained than the lunchtime laugh.
For the remainder of the evening, the discussion centered around the logistics: which of us would bring Joe home for the weekend, what weapon would he use, and what would we look for.
In a few minutes, everything was decided. He would return home to Geneva with a pair of good old boys. I would provide him with some small caliber shotguns. He was told he should buy his own seashells. Probably a box each containing .410 and .20 caliber shells. I would be responsible for training him in the safety rules for chasing doves. It all seemed pretty straightforward.
I hadn’t slaughtered a rabbit since I was in seventh grade. It never occurred to me that we should be hunting anything other than doves at this time of year.
So we had to find a suitable open lot with an owner willing to let a car full of college kids tuck in the hedges and fences. By the time we arrived in Geneva, Joe had received a crash course in gun safety, how to safely load his .410 and .20 caliber single shot shotguns.
Once in Geneva, we found a field to hunt and we ran off. Joe stayed with me, in case he had any questions. By the time we had emptied Joe’s shell cans, it was time to go home for the night and go back to school the next day.
As we walked up the driveway to my mom and dad’s house in the country, I spotted what had made a lovely ending to my new friend’s trip to New York City.
A large “rabbit” jumped along the center track of the gravel driveway. He was also a big bunny. I gently pointed it out to Joe. I glanced at Joe’s empty room. He quietly aimed at the rabbit, which for the moment did not move. I watched Joe draw a bead on the bunny and pull the trigger. There was a big click … no gunpowder explosion … and the rabbit was gone as quickly as it had appeared.
I never told Joe how my mother hand-raised this big gray and white bunny. He was practically her pet. It was the last time I brought someone home with me who just wanted to shoot something.