Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rattlesnakes and Bureaucrats

I was out looking at some land early last fall--land that I thought would make a fine private shooting range. While poking around the old gravel quarry, I heard a familiar buzzing.

In this day and age, most folks would reach for their cell phone, which was set on vibrate and emits a buzzing when someone interrupts your tranquility.

But as I reached inside my light jacket, I didn't unholster my phone, but instead my Smith & Wesson Model 686 .357 Magnum with the eight-inch barrel. The first three rounds in the cylinder were loaded with snake-shot--mini little shotgun type pellets, if you will, specifically formulated to send snakes, rats and other vermin to the same Paradise that ostensibly the vermin that flew into our World Trade Center Towers are now inhabiting.

I took aim at the offending rattlesnake and squeezed the trigger. One dead rattlesnake. Easy enough. When you grow up in Texas, you get used to dispatching rattlesnakes, rats and other vermin.

Not so, apparently, if you live in Pennsylvania--at least according to an old newspaper story a friend, and fellow rattlesnake shooter--sent to me. It seems the bureaucrats in Pennsylvania place an inordinate value on rattlesnakes. Even moreso than they do their own citizenry.

Now, when you mention rattlesnakes and government bureaucrats in the same sentence, you’d think it would be hard to tell the difference.

Not at all.

Rattlesnakes can actually use their brains.

Every time I tell myself that I can no longer be shocked by the ignorant actions of our government or the people who work for it, I know I’m just setting myself up for a letdown. And the latest incident of mind-boggling sheer stupidity is no exception.

According to the local paper in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, an 18-year-old hunter shot and killed a rattlesnake while he was hunting turkey. It seems he crossed paths with a four-foot rattlesnake that had killed a mama turkey and was threatening her nest that had ten baby turkeys in it. After killing the rattlesnake, he and his hunting buddy gathered up the little baby turkeys and took them home to try and keep them alive in order to release back in the wild once they were able.

Pretty decent and admirable thing to do, wouldn’t you say?

Not if you’re one of the bureaucrats making and enforcing policy with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.. These morons turn him over to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, who issued him a citation for killing the rattlesnake. The Fish and Boat Commission has jurisdiction over rattlesnakes.

Figure that one out, if you can.

As I understand it, in Pennsylvania you need a fishing license and a special permit to kill a rattlesnake. I have never heard of having to get a permit to kill a rattlesnake. That would be like having to get a license to set out a mouse trap or get a concealed carry permit for a fly swatter.

Just when you might think that these bonehead-bureaucrats with the Pennsylvania Game Commission couldn’t get any dumber. . . Remember those ten little baby turkeys the hunter rescued from the (now dead) rattlesnake and took home to nurture? The Game Commission seized those baby turkeys, and “according to PGC policy,” killed them.


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