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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 10:28 pm | Fair 46º


Captain’s Log: Reflecting on America’s Largest Army — Hunters

Grace Dunning received some gun training at Guns of Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Grace Dunning received some gun training at Guns of Santa Barbara. (David Bacon / Noozhawk photo)

We are still a country of hunting and fishing culture.

Mainstream media may not make much of it on a regular basis, but exceptionally large numbers of people choose to put healthy wild game meat on their own table, rather than buy pieces of feed lot animals from the stores.

Besides the healthy side of things, there is the pride of skill. It takes some doing to select the right gun and ammo, learn the ways of the critters to be hunted, plan and execute the hunt and then take excellent care of the fresh meat for the family table.

During the meal, it is customary and enjoyable to share the stories of the outdoors experience and to thank the critter for feeding your family.

When you hunt your own meat, it is natural to appreciate the sacrifice of the critter because you experienced it. When you buy a piece of meat from the store, I believe it is rare for people to stop and appreciate that fact that a feed lot animal made the same sacrifice that a wild critter made.

I’m sharing my spiritual side here.

There are more hunters throughout the country than many people realize. I was reading some numbers from the Midwest, for example. Wisconsin has roughly 717,000 residents holding hunting licences.

Michigan has 764,000 and Pennsylvania has a whopping 967,000. Combine the hunters in those states and you are nearing the largest army in the world.

Considering how few injuries and deaths there are and how successful the hunts, this army is very disciplined and skilled.

Now add in the big numbers from all the rest of the states, California included, and it is easy to see why foreign countries think twice about invading the U.S.

We’ve got the best armed forces in the world and if they somehow managed to get past that, they would be facing a much larger force of 30 to 40 million that would defend our home turf with the power of spirit that Americans have always shown when they must fight.

Those numbers are very large, and yes, we have a very large number of skilled hunters in this country. We also have an amazing number of people who keep guns in their homes for defense.

All of us together look like a force that our enemies are not prepared to face. I’m proud to be a part of this and I’m proud to own a gun store (Guns of Santa Barbara).

Yes, we have a culture of putting our own meat on the table, but this is also a matter of national security. At Thanksgiving time, many families give thanks for these things.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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