A rabbit’s tale

I saw my target. It was a small rabbit, hiding behind some dead plants. I am not sure if it is a he, or she (how can you tell from a distance, or for that matter, close up?).

It seemed engrossed in nibbling on a plant in front of him/her? I guess it was breakfast time and in the life of this rabbit that seemed pretty important.

Later in the day there would be time to play with his/her sisters (I understand that bunnies have a lot of those). There might even be time to take a little nap in the family den.

So far, this morning life was good for this little rabbit.

As a young teen, I was hunting with my friend Henry. He was a member of my dad’s congregation, and for whatever reason he had sort of adopted me as one of his kids.

My dad was always busy doing “The Lord’s Work” and so there was no opportunity to learn about sports and outdoor activities. Henry and his sons had taken me under their wings and taught me how to fish and hunt.

I liked it a lot.

They taught me about gun safety and how to shoot. I seemed to have a knack for it, and I was proud of my newly learned skills.

In fact, while in high school, I joined the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Core) and soon became a member of the Rifle Team. Henry had taught me well and soon as I was an ROTC sharpshooter.

It would be an easy shot. Henry’s little 410 gauge shotgun that I was holding was more than capable of doing the job. I moved slightly to the tight to get a better shot.

The little rabbit, my target, stopped eating and sat up straight. Its little ears pointed in my direction, and I knew that it knew that I was there. 

I don’t know if rabbits can think, but I know that they can instinctively, react to danger. Survival is a gift that the creator has instilled in all his creatures. The bunny seemed to think,” if I just sit very still, the danger at hand will pass, and I will live to see another day.”

I looked at my target over the barrel of the gun, and then (I call it a God moment) I asked myself, “Why? Why am I going to kill this innocent creature? Do I need its meat for my survival?”

In addition to being very small, the rabbit would be riddled with buckshot. It wouldn’t be a very enjoyable meal.

Was I justified in taking this life, just because I had read in the book of Genesis, that I “would have dominion over the creatures of the earth”?

What about the rabbit? If it could talk would it plead for its life? What about the reverse?  If the rabbit had the gun and it had me in its sights, would I not plead for my life?

I lowered the gun. The rabbit seeing my movement took the opportunity to run for its life, to find the safety of its den, rejoin its family, and to live for another day.

I stood there for a long time. I knew that I was no longer a hunter. I knew that for me, from that moment on, killing of any kind, under any circumstances, would no longer be an option.

I slowly walked back to join the others, and handed the gun back to its owner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gerrit Lamain is a former Copper Country resident who served as a music professor at Suomi College. He has published a book, “Gerrit’s Notes: A compilation of essays,” which can be found on Amazon. His email address is gerrit.lamain@gmail.com.


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