[content_protector password=”running”]I’m a survivor.
This will be my fifth season. Already I feel old. Usually, we ducks can live to anywhere between seven and ten years old. Not here, though. You’re lucky if you make it past three. Here I am, at four, feeling like I’m living on borrowed time. Feeling like it’s only going to be a matter of time.
They park their cars on a track just off the road, then walk carrying all their gear down here to the river. They think they’re moving quietly, but we can hear them a mile off, them and their wobble of gumboot and clothing swish-swishing as they lumber down the track.
Camouflaged, they head for the maimai, the green-painted shacks perched above the grass, and there the hunters nest thinking they’re safely hidden from sight.
Occasionally one or two of them will creep out with handfuls of maize or bread and sprinkle it on the grass in front of the maimai. The dafter ducks fall for that trick. Waddle out, bills down on the ground snaffling each grain or crumb. Totally unaware. Seen it time and time again.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s always a catch. This time it’s the safety catch. Clicked off. And then it’s all over.
I’ve seen it all. And heard it all. The little pipes they put to their mouths to mimic our conversation. And yes, the number of my friends who suddenly thought to investigate the chatter – was it a long-lost cousin? A friend? No, just a visitor from out of town. A visitor here on messy business.
‘Duck season’ – as they call it – only lasts eight weeks. And for the next eight weeks, forty days and nights, I’ll be keeping my head down amongst the reeds and grass.
Hopefully I’ll see you again next year.
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Why do hunters hunt?
2. Why do you think that duck hunting season only lasts eight weeks?
3. Who – in the real world – talks on behalf of the ducks, animals or fish that are hunted? And why?
[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:
1.Write a first-person companion piece to this article imagining you are the hunter. You will need to research into hunting, locations, equipment, techniques and so on. Make sure your work includes a clear point of view or opinion.
2. Either research into those groups or organisations that oppose hunting in New Zealand or investigate groups that are pro-hunting. What arguments do these groups give as to why hunting should or shouldn’t be allowed in New Zealand? Are these arguments environmental, to do with money, about free choice, or because of animal suffering?
3. Where does the meat that you can buy in a butcher’s shop or supermarket come from?
[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2268824″] [/colored_box]