Friday, November 14, 2008

It's BAR Season!!!

When last we visited our North Carolina house we couldn't help but notice that there were a number of unfamiliar pickup trucks driving slowly up and down our road. Every so often a man would get out of his pickup truck carrying what appeared to be an old TV antenna. He would point the antenna up and down the mountain while appearing perplexed. Once or twice the man with the antenna would clamber over our fence and wander up our driveway. What in the world? We also noted a number of hunting dogs appearing on the property wearing collars with boxes on them. Again, what in the world?

Finally we made inquiries, and discovered that the men were looking for their hunting dogs. The TV antennas were actually the tracking devices for the GPS collars the dogs were wearing. We were instructed to tie any dogs we saw to the fence at the bottom of the driveeway, and the owner would "be along shortly". Okaaaay. We aren't really the tie-a-dog-to-a-fence types, so we were more inclined to feed the dogs table scraps, skritch their ears and walk them around on a leash until their owner showed up. The dogs were really pleased with this plan. The dog owners not so much.

After a few days, a number of dogs, and untold pickup trucks full of men toting TV antennas, we finally asked what was with all the lost dogs. I was holding a smelly, but enthusiastic dog at the end of the leash while waving down a pickup truck. Turns out that the dog didn't belong to this particular fellow, but he did know the owner and would take the dog. Since his dog box was already full of howling hunting dogs he had apparently managed to track down, he put this dog on TOP of the dog box and secured him. I mentioned that there seemed to be a LOT of missing dogs. "Is this the time of year that ya'll train your hunting dogs?", I asked. Pickup driver pulled himself up to his full height and glared at me. (Note: he would have appeared far more imposing had he not been wearing a hat with orange ear flaps and holding a TV antenna. Just saying.) "Lord NO," he explained, "it's BAR season." Ahhh... I see .... Bar Season.

So let me get this straight. These guys are bear hunters. One imagines they turn the dogs loose to pinpoint the location of the bears, and then they.... what?...... spend the next 22 hours driving around the mountains pointing an old TV antenna at the hills in an attempt to round the dogs back up? Perhaps I am missing something here, but does this seem at all efficient? At what point does the hunter actually get to murder the poor bear? Because I gotta tell you, I saw a LOT of dogs that week, but I didn't see the first bear. I didn't see a dog chasing a bear, didn't see a dog tracking a bear, didn't see any SIGNS of a bear. So how does this work? Don't get me wrong, I am ALL for the bear not getting killed, but one really must make inquiries as to who thought this was the best way to track em. It occurs to me that maybe a bear thought up this whole GPS system.