View Full Version : Emotions in a Beginning Hunter: Doing the Hard Thing
November 16, 2011, 08:53 PM
Some of you may be aware, my wife and I recently purchased a new house, and we are fortunate to be out in the country where we are blessed with a few acres and privacy. We also have two cats, outdoor-only due to our allergies (I love cats and would sleep with them every night but I would pay the penalty through the nose - literally!), and I recently discovered we also have quite a few feral cats as well. The first weekend we went through half of a large bag of cat food, and our larger male cat showed up looking as if he had been in a tussle. Those facts combined with the fact that I noted a considerably lower-than-normal-for-the-area squirrel and bird population meant that they had to go.
I didn't really expect to have trouble with it - I mean, I've shot groundhogs who were going after the garden (cheeky little boogers, they taunt us around here), and I've dealt with a couple of other small pests with 22s and air rifles.
All the knowledge about invasive non-native species, disrupted ecology, missing cat food, etc, didn't make it any easier to contemplate in the end - my brain apparently has trouble distinguishing between domestic and feral cats on an emotional level. I really, really didn't want to do this, part of me wanted to just close my eyes and hope it would go away. But I knew I had to - it was my responsibility as a pet owner, I had accepted this when I chose to bring my two cats into my family even if I didn't know it at the time. And I knew that I would much rather cry over it than prove to myself that deep down I was too much of a coward to do what had to be done - to do the right thing. Upon seeing the bravest of the feral cats outside stealing food, I fought shaking hands to put on my boots. Oddly, as soon as the gun, a CZ-452 UltraLux, hit my palms, the shakes stopped. I worked the bolt. I opened the door - she bolted down the deck steps and stopped stock still down in the yard. I took aim, steady and smooth. The first shot took her in the neck or head, I couldn't tell which, and she went down, twitching and thrashing. I knew the first 40gr. hollow point did the job, but I put two more into her before she stopped twitching.
At this point, I was upset, but I was holding together. I put on some nitrile gloves, grabbed a shovel, and picked her up... she was totally limp, and she was still warm. There was something about the warmth that just made it more real and made my chest ache, I don't know why. I took her down to the edge of the woods, laid her down carefully, and started to dig into the soil. We have great soil at the new house, I found, moist and soft, with lots of organic matter. I was OK since I had one of our own cats to talk to (yes I talk to cats) - she was playing on the tree next to me - but that only lasted until I dropped the body into the hole.
She lay crumpled unnaturally, bent double, and I bent down to shift her to a more natural and fitting curled position. When my hand touched her shoulders, I lost it. I just knelt there for a few minutes, tears dripping into her bloody fur and holding my hand on her warm body. After the tears had slowed, I fixed her posture and felt the absurd need to apologize. I told her I was sorry, and that I hoped it had been quick, then I covered her over, reassured my little grey female that she wouldn't be bothered by that one again, and put the shovel away. I threw away the gloves, and went upstairs to my wife, who I am very thankful to say is understanding of a sensitive man.
It was such a complicated and powerful mix of feelings to deal with afterwards - the continued conviction that I had done the right thing to protect my cats and the wildlife, the knowledge that trapping and shelter life (or worse, shelter death) is no option at all, the knowledge that she had died instantly, and the unshakeable sadness at the same time. I know that my tears were the most sincere apology that cat would ever receive from anything in this world, and that she could never have hoped for a more dignified passing. I didn't feel like the tears were wrong, I felt like they were right and natural - I didn't fight them. Maybe I'm wrong, but I came from suburbia, the son of a veterinarian, and I've never even had to come to terms with where my food comes from... I figure it was a normal learning experience in the process of dealing with harsh reality. A learning experience I must go through, since my wife was an Ag major and we will be raising cattle a few years down the road. How could I possibly raise livestock if I couldn't deal with this?
I did decide one thing - that I would compose a hunting prayer. I don't know if anybody else says anything before setting out, but I don't really care. I will. At the risk of coming off as a total softie, PETA nut, and pseudo-treehugger, here it is:
"Lord, please keep us safe as we go out to harvest the bounty you have provided for us. Keep us mindful of our duty as the keepers of your world, that we should respect and be thankful for the animals we are fortunate enough to take. Keep our aim true, our bullets swift, and death for our quarry merciful and painless. Please lead us to do as You would have us do, and bring us home worthy of the arms we carry. Amen."
What I don't understand is why this was so hard. I have never been torn up like this over any dead animal before unless you count the time I watched my Dad put the family dog to sleep on the floor of his office and I saw the fear in her eyes as they clouded over. Why should this cat that I don't know, don't have any experience with, that ran at the very sight of me, elicit such a response?
Do any of you have similar experiences? Should I have used a different caliber? I assumed that a CNS hit from a subsonic 22lr would be enough for a cat, but I'm willing to be corrected.
November 16, 2011, 08:58 PM
The rifle and ammo you used is fine, but the emotional part is always going to be there. But you delt with it in a good way just think of it this way if you did not deal with it then your own cat could have had to bury your cat possibly ferl cats are really mean.
November 16, 2011, 09:50 PM
That has got to be hard. IF you find you are not up to it you may be able to hire some kind of exterminator to take care of it? :confused:
I wish I had better advise. :(
November 16, 2011, 10:24 PM
It's hard to stop thinking of feral cats as nice kitties, at least on the emotional level.
The truth of the matter though is they are not nice kitties. Hopefully they won't kill one of your domestic cats.
Don't leave any food for them. If you want to spend the money and time, live trap them and drop them at the pound.
Ultimately, you'll have to shoot some more. Eventually they'll stop dropping by.
November 16, 2011, 10:33 PM
I understand your feelings. My grandparents had wild cats on their farm that had to be shot when they sold. My uncle did most of the shooting but to this day I distinctly remembering shooting one particular younger cat. It bothered me for YEARS. Like you, I am a cat person. I guess the connection to "tame" cats is why it bothered me so much, even though these cats were literally untouchable.
It's also in how you are raised. My grandfather was "old school", he just did what had to be done. This is back probably 30 years ago, they had some really sick cats at one point and he literally picked them up with gloves on and drowned them in a bucket. They would've died, there was no saving them, even if they could have afforded the vet bill, but I could have never done it and it would have haunted me if I had.
Also, in my early years of deer hunting, I went through a time where I was bothered greatly by killing the animals. I wasn't sure I wanted to keep doing it even though I immensely enjoy the hunt. I finally got through it and am no longer bothered, just greatful.
November 16, 2011, 11:30 PM
We all handle these things in a personal way. I personally feel some anger or at least animosity towards those who turn them loose, those who feed them and those who defend these behaviors.
Seeing an obviously suffering car hit dog with mortal injuries is hard on me and I rather become the conductor of the "Big Black Train" by speeding up the passing from life to death. I have even had the law called on me for this act. One I do not enjoy and rather not have to do.
I am admittedly lacking in the softer emotions for most life other than that I am charged with providing for and some distant kin folk.
I do not kill for entertainment but it isn't something I rank up there high in the emotional concern dept.
November 16, 2011, 11:42 PM
Well, somebody's got to be the counter-point here so I guess it will be me. It's a chore that country folks must do occasionally. Like other unpleasantries I've had to conduct- I completely detach from it. If the offending critter has been a particular nuisance, I get a certain satisfaction from knowing that the problem has been solved. I have enjoyed killing game. But I was raised by hard men from another time.
Reckon we are all wired different.
November 16, 2011, 11:56 PM
Sarge - that is how I expected to feel, and how I have felt every other time I have killed nuisance animals. Satisfaction, not sadness. That's one reason why this puzzled me so thoroughly... why should this have been any different? I suppose it is as has been suggested, a great fondness for cats that extends beyond my rational mind.
I have no doubts that I will be able to take care of the rest of the (whatever you call a group of cats), and with less emotional turbulence. This caught me off-guard, because I very seldom experience emotions of extreme intensity - logic rules my world and many emotions are something to be controlled, or acknowledged if I can learn something from the presence of a feeling. Emotions are not, to me, appropriate guides in most situations.
I am not interested in feeling nothing because at that point I think I lose something that separates me from animals, but I will make an effort in the future to control these feelings now that I have had a chance to learn from them.
November 17, 2011, 12:42 AM
My wife got over the emotion part of shooting feral cats when she caught one raking baby birds out of her bird house.
I have no problem with feral cats, but I did have problems a couple weeks ago when I had to put down a horse.
Feral cats can be a real pain if left unchecked. Do it now, or do more later.
The problem with living in the country, city folks always think we need more cats so they drop them off. Never ending problem.
November 17, 2011, 01:18 AM
I don't even like cats and it bothers me to shoot one. But one thing to consider, a cat doesn't mind killing anything and will just for fun tormenting his prey as long as possible. Screw a cat.
November 17, 2011, 04:11 AM
... ....but if I had made up my mind to kill a feral cat it wouldn't bother me that much. Try again; the next one will be easier. Forgive me for being a little calloused. I've killed dogs and deer without losing sleep or appetite over it. I would have more emotion over a horse and hope I never have to kill one. Honestly, I kind of found this a little humorous; but now I'll let you laugh at me: I have a more kindred connection with squirrels. No kidding. I've never eaten one even though I've had opportunity to do so more than a few times. I've never shot one either. I tried once when I and another person both emptied our 45's on one in a nearby small tree. The squirrel never tried to get away but kept taunting us, jumping back and forth and barking at us 'til our guns were empty. Unscathed, the squirrel had won. But now they are like a kindred totem spirit to me. I make my living climbing trees and I have several squirrel friends. It bothers me when people run them over in their cars. The ones I have buried lie facing east to the rising sun and they have nuts with them to provision them on their passage to the other side.When I was a kid the neighbor boys liked to shoot song birds and I have to admit I went along with it a few times. But I quit going with them because it bothered me to kill something for no good reason. I couldn't exult in it like they did. I shot a robin once with a BBgun. The BB hit the Robin a glancing blow on top of it's head. I picked it up and saw that it had lost a few feathers but wasn't bleeding; it was unconcious but alive. I put it in a cage to see if it would recover and in a few minutes it did. At this point I only wanted it to live. I reached in the cage and gently but firmly took the bird out to release it. It bit me and I was glad because I felt I richly deserved it and I let the Robin fly away. I quit shooting tweety birds. I would probably shoot a sap-sucker if it was destroying my fruit trees. If I have a good reason then it doesn't bother me.
November 17, 2011, 07:12 AM
To hell with a feral cat or any cat IMO. I can tolerate a good mouser or barn cat but that's it. Feral cats will wipe out a covey of quail and are tough on other small game. Blow them away and quit worrying about it. Then again I was raised sort of like Sarge and don't get a weepy about needed killin'.
November 17, 2011, 08:52 AM
My previous residence was near the end of dirt road with a cul de sac. Many people would dump animals there for some reason. If the animals were tame enough to be caught we would take them to the pound if not we would do what needed to be done. I looked at it as doing what the owners should have done instead of creating a problem for someone else to deal with. The animals were caught in between, but I wasn't going to let things get out of hand creating a bigger problem.
November 17, 2011, 09:19 AM
When we retired back to the old home place we built a barn for our horses and picked up two 'barn cats' to keep the field mice out of the barn. Over the course of the following year I observed the cats bringing mice from the fields INTO the barn where they usually let them get loose. I also noticed blue bird feathers from time to time around the barn. After I saw one of the cats sitting on top of a blue bird house swatting at the mama bird I put both of them down. After I had no cats I was still finding bird feathers around my bird feeders and discovered there were a score of 'feral' cats that had been turned loose apparently by people living in a housing development about a half-mile away. I bought a big Hav-A-Hart cage and started baiting it under the feeders. The first five years after that I counted 47 cats that I caught in that trap. NONE of them were little house kitties. They were all snarling mean wild animals.
I dispatched all of them with a .22LR through the head. I haven't seen one around for almost a year now, but imagine if those 47 cats had been allowed to breed and propagate what the woods would be like. There wouldn't be a bird around here. Like Sarge said: "It's a chore country folks must do occasionally…." I, too was raised in another time where men had to do unpleasant things time to time.
I just detach from the emotion and put it out of my mind. Now, dogs are another story. I just can't hurt a dog. it kills my heart.
(Except for the pack of wild dogs that got into my chicken flock. They didn't fare very well!)
November 17, 2011, 09:38 AM
Interesting how one's background affects this sort of thing. Back around age seven, my chore when visiting my grandparents was to catch a hen for Sunday dinner. I'd catch; my grandfather commonly did the beheading with an axe and my grandmother did the plucking and butchering. I watched and learned where food comes from.
My parents bought a farm next door to the grandparents. I had 400 laying hens, selling eggs to the produce market. Using my .22 on feral cats and on any egg-eater was just part of life for me at age eleven.
Deer hunting was so common as to not be anything but a normal part of life, just like having chicken or turkey on the table. Slaughter a hog for the ham and bacon. Take a fatted calf to the processor and help with the change from sorta-pet to meat for the table.
Death is just part of life, even for the veggie-eaters. Lettuce and onions get the knife, just like the rump of a cow. I'm 77 and I'm gonna die long before a lot of you guys. Doesn't bother me a bit. Lotsa grinning from the fun I've had in really living, and I damned well never sat around existing with fears.
And I'll still pop a feral cat, just to protect the quail running around my place. :D
November 17, 2011, 10:08 AM
Art's story is almost identical with mine.
When I was VERY young my dad brought home a box of colored chicks for Easter. They were our (twin brother and myself) pets. Since our house was on the edge of a small town they just lived outside the house and would visit us by the screened in porch. My grandfather decided we didn't need the chickens anymore so took them over to his house to butcher. He had a tree stump and nailed one of their heads down and chopped off the head with an axe. The thing ran around the yard in circles, blood shooting out of it's neck and my twin brother and I (probably 3 years old) watching. I can only remember wondering how those chickens could run around without banging into something since they didn't have their heads to see where they were going. :D
We've had dogs that had to be put down due to old age. I won't have dogs anymore since I get too attached. We have (house) cats and I don't get as attached.
November 17, 2011, 10:36 AM
I find it strange how some people make a big deal out of eliminating vermin or killing something. I never gave it a thought when killing some animal that was causing problems, cats, dogs, foxes, coyotes, whatever. While not pleasant, killing sick pets and stock has to be done too. Not to mention slaughtering hogs, cattle, etc. or hunting.
Raised in the sticks, you quickly learn that killing is just part of living.
November 17, 2011, 10:47 AM
I'm not sure why so many people think that being "raised with it" separates it from emotion. I don't believe that has anything to do with it.
My father raised pigs, goats, sheep, bull calves and chickens while I was growing up. We killed them all at some point. Beyond that, there was my grandparents farm, which I've touched on before. I knew what "had to be done".
One day I came home from school and all "my" pet chickens were hanging on the porch, headless and featherless.
I watched my father shoot many a pig right between the eyes.
Our pet bull "Fred" went to my grandfathers farm one day and the next day our freezer was full of meat.
I helped my father slaughter turkeys even.
Still, knowing all that meat in the freezer was "Fred" made me sad. I liked Fred. We used to ride him around the pasture.
I was sad that all my chickens were dead.
I don't believe it has anything to do with "being raised" in it. Some people are emotional, some people aren't.
Some men cry at weddings. Some men don't cry at funerals. I doubt it's because they were or weren't "raised with it".
November 17, 2011, 10:56 AM
We save our emotions for LSU football games, so there’s not much left for hunting and vermin control.....Hog
November 17, 2011, 11:09 AM
That's probably the reason Hog! :)
In the case of cats I'm pretty sure it's the connection to pets because I kill "vermin" without any trouble whatsoever. I laugh when I kill woodchucks and people have told me I'm sick because of that, but I would probably cry to kill a cat and people think there's something wrong with that.
Although, in the case of a truly wild cat I don't think I have any problems with it. The cats on my Grandfathers farm were "Semi-Domesticated", I guess Is the right word. You certainly couldn't touch them, but you could get within about 20 feet of them without them running away. They would tear you to shreds if you ever caught one.
November 17, 2011, 11:13 AM
I have killed a lot of hogs with a 22 to the head. I was nominated to do it because "I was the best shot", which was BS. They just didn't like to do it any more than I did. The natural order of things is just harsh.
November 17, 2011, 11:51 AM
Do your best for a clean kill.
November 17, 2011, 12:05 PM
ok first off to answer the ammo question.
my brother used to hunt deer with a 22lr when we lived in a state without ammo restrictions. my grampa used to use a 22lr to deal with stray dogs until a city ordnance banned discharging firearms within city limits. the 22 is definitely suited for cats. the twitching is just random nerves firing. a direct shot to the head will instantly kill the animal but nerves will still fire for a couple minutes after it's dead. you see the same thing with deer, coyotes, ETC.
as to the emotional part.
I had to help put down one of our dgs once. I refused to pull the trigger but I held her in place and gave her a hotdog to distract her and give her a happy last couple seconds. even with that minor roll I still felt very guilty. granted she was a beloved pet that had her own place in the family. the feeling passes, as you said yourself, it is necessary if you care for your own cats. I think of a feral cat in much the same light as a feral dog. here they are a mix mostly of various protection dogs so mix in pitbull, doberman, rotweiler, german shepherd and bull mastiff and you get the normal rez mutts that roam free. these things are a greater nuisance than a coyote. they are larger, meaner, and generally run in packs where the coyotes usually stay solitary. these are just as much dogs as what I keep in my kennels but they are no longer pets, they dont play fetch or come sit at your feet when you're depressed. they are now just a wild animal at this point.
as to the prayer. I was never one to remember them but I usually do pray at the end of the day. as soon as I get an animal I offer thanks for the bounty, if I get nothing then I offer thanks for a day away from life as usual :D
November 17, 2011, 01:28 PM
I skimmed most of the replies,
The best way is just to supervise the feeding of your pets. Let them get thier fill then put the food away. The will adjust to eating the appropriate amount. I feed my cats and dogs in the same manner. I have one dog that comes up with creative ways to steal cat food. lol
On the other Hand, my friend feeds all of the cats on his farm every day and they cause no problems...but the cat food is figured into his feed for all of the farms animals. He is saloon given expired milk and hamburger meat by a local grocer.
November 17, 2011, 02:56 PM
I'm going to go off on a slightly different tangent here. This thread was labeled as emotions of a beginning hunter. However there is not one single thing in here about hunting. This is pest control. That is not, never has been, and never will be the same thing as hunting.
November 17, 2011, 03:05 PM
I commend you in your feelings/compassion for animals.
Too, I commend you for not letting your compassion for animals keep you from doing what has to be done. Life in the country is a bit different than city life
In the country, as you have found, feral cats are an ongoing problem. You may also find packs of dogs to become a problem in the future. Seems the country is the dumping ground for every unwanted pet belonging to those living in suburbia USA. Couple that with the irresponsible country pet owners letting their animals run wild, well, ridding these animals so your animals don't get sick is unfortunately a country way of life. Doesn't make the task any easier but it sure is better than watching your well kept animal suffer/die from parvo or some such disease.
Again, leaving food out at random will attract not only other dogs/cats but other critters you may not want around.
November 17, 2011, 03:10 PM
I'm going to go off on a slightly different tangent here. This thread was labeled as emotions of a beginning hunter. However there is not one single thing in here about hunting. This is pest control. That is not, never has been, and never will be the same thing as hunting.
many people routinely hunt magpies, crows, frogs, praire dogs, coyotes, wolves, cougars and other animals that are niether considered pests nor are they hunted for food(or at least I would hope they aren't). I hunt squirrels regularly but I dont eat them. hunting a feral cat is just as much hunting as hunting a feral hog. the main bullet point of this thread is the emotional ramifications of taking an animals life when there is little difference between the game and an animal that you've grown to love like a member of the family.
November 17, 2011, 03:16 PM
I suppose Daekar wanted to speak with a group who do kill animals and might have emotions similar to what he experienced.
I understand the necessity of killing a nuisance or dangerous animal but I don’t like having to do it.
The problem with having to kill an animal which is normally domesticated but has been thrown out to live on its own by some scumbag without the guts to do it his self is that we love pets. Perhaps the animal is a generation or two from domesticated, but still of the specie we regard as pets.
Recently I had to do the same as Daekar and it was not easy. All that little cat really wanted was to be taken in and loved but she had to fight for what she got and developed a personality to fit.
I’ve had dumped dogs come crawling to me on their belly begging to have a home.
Yes, it gets to me and I sometimes believe we’re shooting animals of the wrong specie.
November 17, 2011, 05:40 PM
I only get emotional when one of mine gets hurt by one of them. Any varmint out there can harm your pets. I been cleaning out varmints all my life it seems and I too get angry at the city folk come out and let their pets go.
I hate to kill any animal but I am also a realist and cannot afford the food for all of them so Ithin em out.
Might not ever get easier for you, if it gets to be too much get a live trap and catch them. Then find a shelter or someone wants a moving target....
November 17, 2011, 06:54 PM
I’ve had dumped dogs come crawling to me on their belly begging to have a home.
Yes, it gets to me…."
Amen, Clay! I've been there, too. Some of those memories still hurt.
November 18, 2011, 05:06 AM
.......it creates a target-rich environment.;)
November 30, 2011, 11:38 AM
Well, I finally managed to catch the mean orange and white tabby that's been creating trouble. No tears this time, but my God, it reminded me of the thread on how hard raccoons are to kill!
I dropped it on the spot with what appeared to be a spine shot, just fell there and laid still. When I finished putting away the gun and putting on shoes, I got over there with the shovel and the thing was still alive! It took two more subsonic 22lr rounds to the head and was still looking at me and breathing, so I just got fed up and fetched my CZ-75B. One 147gr. HP to the chest cavity and it gave up the ghost immediately.
So what have we learned? Well, I learned that the initial process of rationalization and adjustment is painful and difficult, but once that's happened it becomes a little easier. I still felt bad for it, especially since it was suffering at first, but I've been MAD at this cat for quite a while, so maybe that helped. I've learned that even if your gun has the power, SHOT PLACEMENT is KING! If that first shot had been heart/lungs, it might not have dropped immediately, but it surely would've been dead quicker and suffered less. That means I need to get ahold of a cat anatomy chart to make sure I'm pointing at the right place. It makes me look forward to having a 357 rifle I can use with subsonic loads, I'm pretty sure the cat wouldn't have taken more than two shots of 158gr. lead at 900fps.
November 30, 2011, 11:42 AM
It wasn't sufferin'... It just didn't know it was dead yet is all...;)
November 30, 2011, 12:17 PM
Dont worry, im an experienced hunter, and have taken a lot of game over the years. But i love dogs, and just dont have the heart to shoot one. I have had to do it before but it hurt me so bad i dont ever want to do it again. i understand how you feel.
November 30, 2011, 12:40 PM
4-legged animals can all (more or less) be killed with a bullet 1/3 the way up from the bottom of the chest, directly inline with or slightly behind the front legs. Most all animals keep their heart, lungs and major vessels in this area.
November 30, 2011, 05:37 PM
So a friend moved 1.5 years ago, he left some cats. One finally found me :) I used to sit by the woodstove and pet her up. Well now she is in my barn eating my cat food..... not really a stray......gonna get her fixed
November 30, 2011, 06:14 PM
That's sort of how we got our big male, he was a stray that my sister-in-law tamed. He still gets a wild hairs every once in a while, but he's very sweet and cuddly. He was never really feral though, and he never had that mean look.
November 30, 2011, 08:45 PM
Whether a coyote or dove I reflect on it's life and think of what ive done, I will never waste an animal. I feel bad for throwing out coyotes, sadly it has to be done to protect my wild food source.
November 30, 2011, 10:27 PM
We all handle these things in a personal way. I personally feel some anger or at least animosity towards those who turn them loose, those who feed them and those who defend these behaviors
Feral cats often live short, violent lives. When I have to shoot one I'm often pretty mad at those who released the animal on my property. Years ago someone released a cat out here that was declawed. Now that is the lowest of the low. I do consider cats an invasive species that have no place here. They are pretty tough on native birds especially when habitat is minimal.
November 30, 2011, 11:08 PM
Years ago I had a cat that I really liked. That cat would sleep on my back when I took naps. Then it contracted some kind of disease that infected the bronchial passages, and it would get to coughing and pretty soon it would be coughing up blood. The vet gave me some small needles and I gave it "Combiotic" that we used on cattle. After a few days the cat had recovered. A week or so later the bloody coughing was back worse than ever. The vet told me that cats seldom totally recover from whatever that cat had. One morning after milking, I came into the house and the cat had coughed up blood all over the bedroom. I got the 22 rifle, threw the cat out of the door and shot it. Had to shoot it 3 times to make it stop moving. Damn that bothered me.
Years later at another country residence, a feral tom cat was trying to kill my cat. I grabbed the shotgun and nailed the damn thing. Never bothered me a bit. Put it in a bag, buried it, and smiled. My cat had been getting chewed up pretty bad and that ended the problem.
I agree with some other posters. It depends. I couldn't shoot my cat again. That first experience had haunted me for years. I understand how you felt, Daekar. And it sounds like you kind of got through that first experience and it was easier the 2nd time. Nothing at all to be ashamed of. Peetza is right. Some of us are a bit more sensitive that others.
November 30, 2011, 11:29 PM
Luckily I've never had to shoot any ferals (they get dropped off around here) I have around a dozen Barn cats (most of them Maine Coons) who take care of any interlopers. They also keep the Raccoons in check :eek: Just something about a bunch irritated 18 pound cats tends to make other animals back off.
December 1, 2011, 09:58 AM
peetza, I think that being raised with it simplifies the thought process about necessity and responsibility in dealing with animals. You have real-world examples of reality from which to learn.
That segues into the clean-kill ethos in hunting. It includes protection of domestic animals, whether livestock or pets, which in turn segues into attitudes about self-defense or third-party protection.
Sure, some things are emotionally painful, but it's the learning about controlling one's emotions which derives from being raised with it.
Sure, there have been occasions where I've been saddened; even to tears. So what? Where is it written that life must be easy?
December 1, 2011, 10:05 AM
Very well said, Art.
December 1, 2011, 10:18 AM
Never said life was easy or painless, Art. Your previous post, and a few other posters as well, seem to imply that "being raised with it" removes the potential emotional effects. I don't think that's the case. As I said, I fully understand the necessity and I've "been there and done that", it still bothers me in certain instances.
I do agree that being raised with it "simplifies the thought process" but I think that just makes the difference between being willing to do what has to be done or not being willing.
Other than being able to make the finger pull the trigger, it doesn't make anything easier for me.
Heck, I'm a guy with very "Black and White" views about the differences between people and animals. I don't believe that animals are a living soul, are self-aware or have any understanding of "death" at all. Still, I can be more emotional about killing one than people who practically think Bambi is a documentary.
December 1, 2011, 12:53 PM
I remember very well being a youngster and having a young Holstein bull calf named Ferdinand. You could buy one for $5 from the dairy farmers. I would drop out of a peach tree on his back and ride him after he got big enough. Well, when it came time to slaughter him it was pretty rough.
So, you learn pretty quick not to make pets, and yes you become hardened to it.
December 1, 2011, 01:23 PM
Lemme pass on some things. first, a little background. I am a cat person. We have four indoor cats, and I spend half of my day with one, or even all four of them piled on my lap, shoulders, or even head. they sleep with us. I love dogs, too, but I don't want them. Cats are low maintenance pets that are more like a wife than a child. People who love cats tend to love all animals, including dogs.
People who love dogs tend to dislike or even hate cats, because they are so different. People have fun hating cats. Heck, when I talk about my cats, there's always one person that says something like "cats are a waste of fur" or "they're worth $3 a pound in korea town." People love to hate cats.
I bagged maybe a half dozen ferals in my lifetime, before I got attached. It was nothing. Feral pests, I shot possums, skunks, snakes, and snapping turtles during that year, and it didn't make any difference to me.
Since I grew to like cats, we take in strays, give them medical care, feed and care for them, and do more for the neighbor's cats than they do themselves. You really get attached, and the are, all the same. Ferals look the same as housecats. There was a video posted here that showed a cat being shot, and that thing looked exactly like the one that was in my chair with me while I watched it.
I think that most people should compare shooting a feral cat to bagging the neighbor's golden retriever, irish setter, or border collie. Emotionally, at least to me, it's the same.
I could never kill another feral. We have one in my area that has been the bane of my existence for several years now, and I can't make myself pull the trigger on that varmint. In my twenties, that thing wouldn't have survived 5 minutes after our first encounter.
Frankly, you're more of a man than I am. You did what you had to do and you were able to set aside your feelings somewhat. I know how hard that was.
December 1, 2011, 05:28 PM
"being raised with it" removes the potential emotional effects
No, it makes it easier to deal with it emotionally. A person gets to understand the real food chain and what it entails. Kinda hurt me when the first steer I raised up as a lad was killed, I didnt eat meat for awhile until one day the smell of the hamburgers cooking made me crazy and now I cant stop eating the stuff :)
I view it now like raising a tomato or a ear of corn, eat it and enjoy :)
December 1, 2011, 07:47 PM
Color me weird: I really like pet house cats and "good ol' dawgs". :) Always have. I guess what I mostly feel about shooting feral dogs and cats is resentment toward the people who put the poor critters into that situation.
I'll never forget talking to a lady at the animal-shelter, one time. I was griping about strays showing up on my place, drop-offs from town. "Yeah, they probably drive right by here on the way to the country," she said...
December 1, 2011, 09:25 PM
The local animal shelter is in a patch of retired farmland about 1x1 miles. the city developed all around it in every direction. So, you have an isolated facility at the end of a long dirt road, that charges you to take a dog or cat. Do you guys wonder how many people scream "$50? to dump a useless old cat!?" Lots of them do. then take their cat home. then, as soon as they turn out of the gate and are out of sight, Leroy the cat is ejected from the window at 45 mph. The thing isn't open 24/7, but people will drag their critters out their and dump them. The people who work there have found leashes chained to the gate, crates and boxes full of critters, and seriously, some people have actually thrown boxes and crates over the 8' tall fence.
December 2, 2011, 08:51 AM
The fee system is imposed by people who don't understand the concept of "disincentive" in fiscal matters. If an excess of cats and dogs is a problem, an incentive-oriented system would minimize the fees--as was the way it was, in yesteryear. At the time of my own conversation, it was "Donations accepted" with taxpayer support of the facility.
The result of that modern ignorance is the number of animals which have been forced to go feral, and are "euthanized" via rifle or shotgun.
As usual, Pogo rules: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
December 2, 2011, 05:34 PM
adoption fees are another problem, IMO. You can get "free to anyone who asks" kittens and puppies from the newspaper every day. The worst possible way to adopt a pet, IMO. unspayed, unvaccinated, untreated, unwormed, and unknown. But, if you go to the shelters, you're hit with a very large fee, and told to do the right thing.
Do the right thing? are you kidding? I'm a human being. To me, the right thing is punching you in the nose and taking your dog.
I wish that certain members of society would realize that focusing so hard on spay and neuter clinics to eliminate the proliferation of feral animals needs to be applied to humanity, as well. I've got a standing offer of $2k in cash to any of my nephews who neuters himself. Money ain't talking, and I don't know why. One of them has left 3 kids behind with single mothers.
December 4, 2011, 08:12 AM
I empathize with you. I would worry if you didn't feel that regret or remorse. Perhaps live trapping them may be the better option for you.
December 14, 2011, 08:42 AM
I empathize with you. I would worry if you didn't feel that regret or remorse.
Just last night, went out to a butcher shop to pick up a deer a buddy of mine had processed.
While we were there, the owner and his son were gearing up to slaughter/butcher a few steers. Steers were in a holding pin near one of the outside winches used for hoisting carcass up for bleeding/skinning/gutting.
As we came out of the building, the son walked over to the first steer and shot him with a 22short and the steer went down. Very quickly, while steer was still moving a bit, they hoisted him up in the air, cut his throat to bleed him out.
Having been involved in this same process myself many times, butchering most farm animals and much wildlife, there is still that 'feeling' when I take a life of an animal.
Doesn't seem to matter whether the killing is done for the sake of eating or nuisance control, feeling is the same.
Although that 'feeling' is not a pleasant one, I don't think I ever want to lose it. But I realize the task at hand, must be done.
December 16, 2011, 12:57 AM
He was a weird old thing, couldn't meow so we named him "Squeak." Kind of clumsy - which is really an odd thing, in a cat. I mean, there's not a creature in the animal kingdom that's as James Bond cool as a cat. Except this one. He was an ok critter anyway, liked people well enough.
Squeak was getting on in years, feeling ill, not eating much. He was boney and his fur was dull. Then one day I saw him dragging himself around, only his front legs worked. He'd been on the farm for years, most of it inside by the stove. I didn't see how a trip to the vet was any kindness, and I felt it would be passing the buck. I'm not religious but I asked for the strength to do it right, found it (or was given it) and he never had to leave his home. I hope if I'm in similar straights someday, someone does me the same kindness.
With cats and people, there's a real question who domesticated who. I'd happily take out a rat, but it would be no pleasure to kill another cat. I suppose if I needed to again, I would.
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