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Thrill of hunt, family tradition buoy sport

The sun began rising in the east, its golden color tainted with vibrant red, foreshadowing the bloody onslaught that would soon follow. A lone hunter lifted his blackened barrel to the dimly lit sky, blasting lead into his prey.

“I try to go hunting every weekend; I’ve been everywhere from Mendota to Los Banos,” Brandon Diaso, ’05, said. “My father has been encouraging me in the art of hunting since my childhood and its great way to spend time with him.”

Diaso leaves his house before the sun rises on most Saturday mornings in mid October order to reach desirable hunting locations across central California. He pursues game such as dove, duck, goose and rabbit.

“In my greatest hunting expedition I waded through ice, searching for the mother goose that eluded me,” Diaso said. “Bang! I shot it through the chest and tackled it. I proceeded to grab its neck, swinging it around until it snapped.”

According to Diaso, the neck swinging method used by hunters usually kills the game quickly and in a relatively painless fashion. This tradition is intended to bring a humane death to the bird.

“I then delivered blows to its cranium leaving its brain exposed,” Diaso said. “The bird wouldn’t die, so I grabbed my knife and ended the confrontation.”

In a poll conducted in the United Kingdom, 80% of the participants found hunting to be a cruel sport. Some individuals on campus also express distain for hunting. Whitney Ensom, ’05, sees animals as God’s creation that should not be killed.

“I believe animals should die on their own,” Ensom said. “I find eating red meat of any kind totally gross and disgusting. The killing of animals for personal enjoyment is wrong.”

John Stevenson, ’04, also participates in the sport of hunting. He hunts deer, turkey, elk, duck, dove, boars and coyotes. He mainly hunts on his ranch in the northeastern part of the San Joaquin Valley, and out of state, in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.

“My most memorable hunting experience was when I took down my first buck,” Stevenson said. “My dad and I spotted a group of deer, and I targeted a buck and hit him in the shoulder.”

Normally Stevenson’s placement of the bullet would have instantly killed the deer. However, the size of the caliber provided only a flesh wound, according to Stevenson. The entire herd ran off into the forest.

“We took off after him, over hills and through thickets for four hours,” Stevenson said. “Finally it was trapped in a thicket, and I had a clear shot and took it. The rest is history.”

Hunting often becomes more than a recreational activity.

“Hunting is a family tradition I’ve come to enjoy,” Stevenson said. “This pastime is becoming less common; I love spending time with my dad and want to pass this tradition on to my own children.”

The tradition of hunting is a diminishing sport. In a poll conducted by www.hunting.net, 75% of people believe that the best way to increase the number of participants to their sport is to introduce children to hunting.

For more information about hunting, go to www.hunting.net.

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