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Fair Game
Rick Reilly
December 23, 2002
I love hunting. Man versus nature. My cunning against the animal's. That's why I take only the most basic gear, because I believe in the hunter's code of "fair chase."
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December 23, 2002

Fair Game

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It's the same with duck hunting. Those ducks are smart! I don't think there's anything wrong with leveling the playing pond a little with my remote-control Mallard Machine ($190) that I can make swim, bob, shake, thrash and dive, with the touch of a button, from my duck blind. I mean, everybody has his tricks. Charles Schwab planted hundreds of acres of rice on his property just to lure ducks he could shoot—and he got a federal subsidy for planting the rice!

Besides, think of this: I could use an amphibious, eight-wheel rover ATV ($7,000 to $12,000), complete with gun rests for firing on the run, but I don't. I take a six-wheeler.

Because for me, hunting is not about ease, comfort or tilting the scales to satisfy a hunter's thirst for a trophy. That's why I won't go to one of those awful 100-acre, fenced-in "canned hunting" ranches that are springing up around the country. These privately owned clubs simply truck the game in, and the members hunt until they bag something. It's like hunting at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Even Shaq, among many thousands of Americans, has done it.

No, I refuse to go to that kind of place. The land I hunt is far more fair and honorable. It's 500 fenced-in acres. I could be out there for more than an hour before I bag my kill. Do you know what that does to my bunions?

But, hey, that's the price you pay when you choose to respect the honor, dignity and honest competition of true hunting.

God, I love this sport.

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