Brennan: Scaring rabbits in the woods

By Tom Brennan |

The last time I agreed with editorial writers at The New York Times I was still looking forward to puberty. It has been awhile.

The Times is a great newspaper, but the credit goes to its reporters and not to the opinion drafters. They lean way too left for me. What I agree with The Times’ editorial writers on is the need for a few critical restrictions on guns, primarily the amount of firepower available to the average person. 

The Times is also touting a “red flag” law that would keep weapons out of the hands of unstable people who might flip out and mow down their neighbors. That’s not a bad idea but to take a weapon away from an American you would need some kind of adjudication making the individual’s goofiness a matter of official record. I suspect if you review the cases of mass murderers you would find very few who who were certified as insane before they flipped out. If anyone is officially goofy, by all means, take his guns.

The average person does not need — and the law should generally prohibit — high-capacity weapons. As a famous gun-designer once said, the average person doesn’t need more than ten rounds in a clip. You might even limit clip size to six rounds or so.

I am a long-time gun owner and have a variety of rifles, shotguns and pistols in my gun safe. My dad gave me a single-shot .22 rifle when I was in my teens and I’ve since added a couple of shotguns, a .308 rifle and a couple of pistols, a .22 and a .44 magnum. 

I use the rifles and shotguns for hunting and skeet-shooting. I bought the .44 for times when I’m carrying a shotgun while bird-hunting and might run into an obnoxious bear. I’ve never had to use the .44 and, I must admit, have gotten too soft-hearted to shoot birds. The last few times I went duck-hunting I just sat in a blind with my Labrador Retriever and watched the birds fly past the decoys. My Lab died a few years ago and I now leave the hunting to my sons and grandkids.

My first pistol was a .22 that I bought for a unique reason. It was back in Massachusetts many years ago. My hunting buddy Harvey Rayner and I both worked at The Worcester Telegram. I was a reporter and he was an editorial writer. We were primarily interested in partridge (the New England version of the grouse) and Harvey had a beagle named Teddy that would flush birds and rabbits.

Teddy was an old and slow dog. When he kicked out a hare it would take off through the woods and run in a big circle, with Teddy howling along behind. The hare would run just fast enough to stay ahead of the dog, staying in a miles-long circle and eventually returning to the spot where the pursuit started.

The hare would run for a while, then stop and wait until Teddy got near, then take off again. Harvey and I would stand listening to the beagle howling and getting closer. Pretty soon the rabbit would hop out of the brush in front of us, stop and sit there staring over his shoulder. Shooting it with a shotgun was too easy. Since preparing and cooking a hare was a chore, I never wanted to take more than one per season.

I hit on a remedy — a .22 semi-automatic pistol. I wasn’t very accurate with the pistol so the hare would hop out in front of me and sit there. I would draw the .22 and blaze away. I very rarely hit the rabbit so most days I would have the excitement of the hunt and firing my gun but the rabbit hardly ever got hurt. Most days Harvey and I would go home, Teddy would go home and the rabbit would go on about his business. 

A great day in the woods with no casualties.

2 Responses to Brennan: Scaring rabbits in the woods

  1. Donna Evans August 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Let me get this right. Basically, because you don’t own one type of gun, therefor, no one else should either.
    The average person doesn’t need a car that is able to go over 50 MPH, either. Maybe we should ban cars that do? Let’s restrict their magazines, oops, I mean, gas tanks to 5 gallons while we’re at it. I’m sure that will stop people from killing other people then!
    Fact is, the people who kill other people are already breaking numerous laws and they know it. More laws won’t change that. If you find a way to abolish the black market, I will listen to you. If you find a solution to saving us all from death, I would really pay attention.

  2. Paul August 11, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    In 1986, three individuals murdered a man from Palmer in Denali State Park. Shortly after that, we got a heavy late fall rain that melted the early snow in the hills that washed out bridges and roads all over the upper Susitna valley.
    As I would shut out the lights at night in Trapper Creek with my wife and infant daughter, I would wonder where the three killers were, and reflect happily that the Troopers couldn’t drive to our house.
    I decided that my double 12 ga was not as great a home defense gun as I had previously thought.
    I now own an AR15 with more than one 20 rd magazines, and I refuse to let someone who has lived their life within 10 minutes of a police station tell me I don’t need it.
    As a State Trooper once told me, “If you call 911 and say there’s a crazy man chainsawing through your door screaming he’s going to kill you all, we’ll be there in hopefully 90 minutes. Take care of yourself.”


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