Balaclava's in the mist!
It's late in the season, most cats are sold I tell him but we have a quota system and if there are 3 of you hunting then I can come up with a general bag and you guys can take whatever is in the kitty (bag!) so to speak - I now hear exasperation what do you mean by kitty - what Kitty? he blurts out but quickly catches himself - I explain the quota system to him - OK he says - I want to book, how much?
I deal with many hunters each day, calling to enquire, all of them potential clients and over the years I've learnt one thing - never be judgmental even if you can sense that the person you're speaking to is not really interested and just wants to talk - this is the feeling I had with this guy. Something didn't add up - he was becoming more irritated and short by the second, to the point that he was now squeaking at me, as he gave me a name and address where to send the information and then his email address flicked a switch in my mind - the grimm reaper. I don't profess to have a good memory but I do remember things that are out of place and this email address stuck out in my mind when it first appeared as a subscription to this newsletter - so you're a subscriber I say - no but I want to be - another light goes off?
OK there is a fine line between berserk and purely irate and I knew this fellow had crossed it and was about to either shit his pants or embark on a tirade against me - and here it came! So he says, you still live at Creekside apartments (my business address) - this raises my suspicion, he goes on to talk about my wife and where she works - and of course having dealt with this kind of lunatic before, I remain calm and silent - I'm sure I can hear frothing and gurgling at the other end - do you know who I am, he barks (obviously you're not who you just told me you are I thought!) - then I sense he now suddenly feels powerful and righteous - we have pictures of you - of your wife - we have all the details - affidavit's from past employees (who my driver Eddie?) - we are reporting you to the IRS - and now he starts with the language because he is not getting any reaction from me - how does that make you feel mother****er! All hell is going to come down around you - you will be all over the press, in every newspaper in the country (free marketing I thought) - and again - do you know who I work for! Now I don't want to sound dumb here but you already asked me that question and didn't I answer in the negative?
At this point I start to laugh, I couldn't help it, this call was actually starting to make my day, this poor chap was incredibly funny - in his attempts to obviously strike the fear of a million hungry lions into me and get a reaction he was turning out to be my Sunday lunchtime entertainment. Of course this sent him into a furious tirade of insults - did I think it was funny, it was no laughing matter, I would be sorry for this, just you wait and see he yelped and fidgeted at me. His words now were just a string of insults and I simply carried on laughing - OH and who do you work for matey I asked between sniggers - a group called the Animal Liberation Front or ALF as they are better known - you'll be sorry!
As mentioned, I get this type of thing often, mostly by email from traceable addresses so if I had the inclination I could get the police involved and I'm sure, in the US, bring some kind of lawsuit against them - but as we all know, it is best to ignore this kind of provocation. However, this is the first time I received a call from someone who claims to be part of a terrorist organization listed with the FBI! You see, I did some research and the ALF appears to be quite a bad ass group of self called eco-terrorists and not the ALF we all think of - the cute cuddly striped alien that eats cats. Here's how they describe themselves:
"Who are the ALF? Members of the Animal Liberation Front act directly to stop animal suffering, at the risk of losing their own freedom. Direct action refers to illegal actions performed to bring about animal liberation. These are usually one of two things: rescuing animals from laboratories or other places of abuse, or inflicting economic damage on animal abusers. Due to the illegal nature of ALF activities, activists work anonymously, and there is no formal organization to the ALF. There is no office, no leaders, no newsletter, and no official membership. Anyone who carries out direct action according to ALF guidelines is a member of the ALF."
OK, we live in a society that allows a great number of freedoms, those upheld by law and the constitution and then those which are socially sanctioned, simply put, those that have developed out of an advancement and distillation of popular culture, higher education and technological superiority. With each generation our perceptions of what is morally acceptable and sanctioned by our surrounding society changes - it seems that we are forever having to downgrade our principals and accept taboos. However there are a few things that have remained constant - those which are the sign of any good and reasonable person - like good manners for example, respecting your elders and others, devotion to your wife and children, dedication to your country, truth and honesty - for many these are the principles upon which nations are built, it goes without saying - simple good citizens.
However as we advance ever further down the road of all these newfound freedoms and unrestricted vices another creature rears it's ugly head - that of disillusionment and identity crisis. You see, way back in the 60's it was the sexual revolution that made you somehow different from all the others - free love and wanton excess suddenly defined you. Today however no one even blinks an eye so what do you have to do to stand out and be different - because that is what all this is really about - a question of who am I, how do I fit in and above all how do I become the needle in the haystack - how can I attract attention to myself, what will make me stand out amongst all the mill rats that society has become!
Thus the advent of these so called freedom fighters (of every shape, size and creed) - those who answer a higher calling in the name of some or other inane crusade! Don't get the wrong idea, while it is very difficult to put hunting and animal suffering in the same sentence, I have no time for anyone who obtains pleasure from seeing any animal suffer - be it your house cat or an elephant - there is no place in the world for this. Indeed I'd go as far as saying that I don't quite agree with animal testing either but that is not going to turn me away from hunting nor is it going to suddenly cause me to embark upon a worldwide crusade to rescue little bunnies - I live in the real world!
So I wonder what pushes a person to become an animals rights terrorist - I mean seriously - there are those who hold animal welfare and animal rights close to their person - they believe strongly in it and support this cause wholeheartedly and faithfully - to this they are entitled. They do not however threaten to burn down homes, or vandalize property, or chastise those who do not hold quite the same beliefs as them. Some may argue that it shows an even stronger commitment to ending animal suffering - you are prepared to go to jail in support of this cause by burning someone's house down. There's nothing wrong with being committed to a cause - it is just slightly skewed when you also believe that the world is wrong and that big business and government are the culprits (c'mon we all know this argument - most of us fought some kind of battle with government or big business in college - it's just that we grew up and carried on with life).
Everybody knows that the welfare and the suffering of animals and the protection of the earth as a whole takes top priority amidst the people of western nations and cultures except in Africa however. It is a subject which many take up with overzealous uninformed glee as it gives them a purpose in their lives - a greater purpose which identifies them as a particular type of individual and gives them a sense of superiority and fame. PH's are not far removed from this, you see we understand this thing of notoriety and fame and the more you want the more you are prepared to risk. So I could for instance rush in after the wounded leopard, much like a GB PH I know and there are 2 possible outcomes - either I stand my ground in a fury filled charge and dispatch the beast (and become the hero) OR I get nabbed, roughed up and taught a lesson (thrown in jail).
However there's another similarity between the earth terrorists and PH's - we are both dedicated to the protection of animals. It may sound strange but in Africa - where life is not cushy and sugarcoated as it may be in Montreal - we fight a daily battle against those who seek to destroy our wildlife. Nobody is more dedicated to conserving wildlife than we are, it is a personal crusade against poachers, honey collectors who cut down great big trees and the encroachment of human populations - all taken very personally and seriously on a daily basis. There is one big difference however - the amount of money we put into conservation each year - the protection of wildlife and habitat - far exceeds the damage that these so called liberators wreak on misguided whims. In addition we are not cowards - we face these threats head on and don't fancy-foot around in the dead of night dressed in balaclava's armed with super glue! Seriously if the earth liberators want to do something useful I'll give them a job! No mater who it is, if they are serious about the protection of animals and wildlife I'm prepared to work with them!
BUT no, there will be some ideological excuse as to why they cannot possibly and genuinely contribute to the protection of endangered animals - it is far easier, safer and brings far more local fame if you pretend to be the earths vigilante prancing about in black tights gluing locks shut!
This brings me to an idea - one that all this so called animal rights activism is more a cause for recognition and notoriety than caring about the survival and welfare of animals at all. In fact I don't think animal liberation is even the main goal for these terrorists - it is based upon a selfish need for approval and attention.
In a society where we are all supposed to be alike, look alike, think alike and want the same thing, it is a game of 'one-up-man ship' where an act as ludicrous as breaking the window of a fast food restaurant suddenly elevates you to rock star status (in your own mind at least). There's allot of proof in the doings of these eco-terrorists, their acts of destruction are famous and have of course caught the attentions of the FBI as the USA's most wanted domestic terror group! Many of the perpetrators have been caught and jailed - the heroes of a movement - offering great brainwashed style articles about why the government and big business are evil and life is all one big plot against those who are the real liberators - the earth's freedom fighters!
These 'cult-hero's' have created, in their wake, a band of wannabe - social misfits and f***-ups who have lost their way in life and justify their position, their failure and their destructive actions in the name of eco terrorism. There's a web site where you can read, daily, about the actions performed by this band of liberators - quite funny and is worth a visit if you want to crack a few laughs. For example - the Angling Retribution Squad vandalized a fly fishing clubhouse by tearing down posters, throwing the furniture about and making a 'general mess of the place' - now that is certainly going to stop over fishing in the oceans boys - keep up the good work! Another reported action was of a bunny rescue from a rabbit farm - well done, I'm sure one rabbit rescued is going to make the difference and cause the closure of that operation! Then another covers the point I'm trying to make - a fellow in Holland writes that he broke 3 windows at MacDonald's - because they had the nerve of putting the word 'restaurant' on their sign? - really this is purely an excuse for drawing attention to yourself - everyone knows the golden arches is not a restaurant? it's a fast food joint - you won't get steak and smoked salmon here buddy!
As the western nations advance and become more sophisticated they lose touch with nature and ultimately with reality. You see, growing up in a great big city means you have absolutely no idea of what it is like to converse with nature - that simple yet most powerful of things which fills your soul with peace and realism and keeps your feet firmly on the ground. An activity like hunting, regardless of city living or not reconnects you with nature, it's not the only one that does this, but it is one of the closest and most real!
So here you sit in a tiny apartment in Montreal for example, you're frustrated - you can only watch so much online porn - and nobody gives a rats ass about you (especially the chicks), you're just a pale face in the malaise of humanity. So what do you do? Find something extreme to draw attention - there is already too much competition in the rock band arena - so you decide to fight for the animals that are being murdered to extinction by those PH's from Africa with small dicks and no balls! This really gets your goat (or bunny perhaps) and now you suddenly find a whole industry, online, easily traceable with their phone numbers and addresses listed for you to harass and threaten. Hell this is easier than you thought! OK what's next - consult the online guide of how to carry out an action, especially the 'what tools you'll need' section - gloves, a balaclava of course, nobody looks like a terrorist without a balaclava, bolt cutters, super glue, vaseline or KY perhaps). Then armed with all this useful stuff you embark upon a crusade - like call them and tell them they'd better watch out and they'd be sorry and swear at them most profusely in a loud voice - preferably in a public place like a bar where women can overhear your conversation and admire your balls! Then report it quickly on the web site and you'll gain immediate fame!
To me this is what it is all about - attention, not a real concern for animal welfare - much needed attention because the life they lead is a miserable failure and they badly need someone to blame it on!
Dzina langa ndine Pete Swanepoel - (aspiring Great White Hunter)
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