Elec­tions and guns

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

Nor­mally I don’t watch a lot of tele­vi­sion, but at some point most days I find my­self sit­ting on the edge of my sofa, click­ing through the cable news chan­nels for up­dates on the elec­tion.

Polls, maps, ral­lies and pre­dic­tions, I have been riv­eted by it all, won­der­ing which way the Amer­i­can peo­ple will vote. Never have we seen any­thing quite like this elec­tion.

From the mo­ment I wake up to when I go to bed at night, I ex­change texts and emails with friends and family to chron­i­cle de­vel­op­ments and share in­sight. My phone has all the na­tional news web­sites lit­er­ally at my fin­ger­tips.

I check for up­dates pretty of­ten be­cause in an elec­tion like this, things can change at a mo­ment’s no­tice. One minute I’m rid­ing high or feel­ing vin­di­cated, other times my op­ti­mism turns sour and I can barely find the en­ergy to get through the day. It’s an emo­tional roller coaster.

My kids aren’t even safe from the stress. They are a cap­tive au­di­ence when I’m driv­ing them home from school. My 5-year-old daugh­ter can spell both H-I-L-L-A-R-Y and T-RU-M-P. She points out ev­ery can­di­date’s sign along the route. She has named stuffed an­i­mals Carly Fio­r­ina and John Ka­sich and Bernie Sanders. For­ever those names will be float­ing around some­where in her brain, which could come in handy if she’s ever a con­tes­tant on Jeop­ardy.

Then, a cou­ple of days ago, the ten­sion fi­nally made me snap. I de­cided to turn it all off. It wasn’t even that hard. And af­ter the kids went to bed that night, the si­lence was re­fresh­ing. My break from the elec­tion lasted ap­prox­i­mately 6 1/2 min­utes.

It wasn’t even a usual sus­pect like CNN or Fox News. All I did was check my work email. And there it was, an ar­ti­cle about how the elec­tion has driven a gun-buy­ing surge.

I had to read it, of course. Har­ris Polls re­cently found out that 97 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are putting off ma­jor pur­chases such as a home or car and in­stead the top item they are likely to buy be­cause of the elec­tion is a firearm.

Guns are at the top of the list of items all age groups are con­sid­er­ing buy­ing, about 16 per­cent of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion. And what I found par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing be­cause I am a Gen­er­a­tion X’er my­self is that nearly one in four 35- to 44-year-olds are plan­ning a firearm pur­chase.

I shared this tid­bit with my hus­band, who was sit­ting in the liv­ing room en­joy­ing some of that rare si­lence, too. We had a de­bate about whether or not he is part of Gen­er­a­tion X (It turns out af­ter con­sid­er­able dis­cus­sion and a lit­tle re­search, he is.). And then, true to form, he in­formed me he bought a ri­fle that very morn­ing.

It was an op­por­tu­nity he couldn’t pass up — a Winch­ester Model 70 in .30-06 with a Su­per­grade stock, made in 1956 when Winch­ester still made ev­ery­thing in the United States, one gun­smith at a time.

It’s the kind of ri­fle some­one like Ernest Hemingway would have taken out on the sa­vanna to hunt buf­falo. A man’s ri­fle from a sim­pler time.

And when our con­ver­sa­tion was over, he turned on the tele­vi­sion and flipped to a news chan­nel, but this time he had the cour­tesy turn the vol­ume down low so I couldn’t re­ally hear it.

Ju­nior deer hunt

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources have des­ig­nated Nov. 12 and 13 as Ju­nior Deer Hunt days statewide.

Th­ese are spe­cial days just for hunters 16 and younger who have com­pleted a hunter ed­u­ca­tion course and pos­sess a valid hunter’s li­cense. The ju­nior hunter must be ac­com­pa­nied into the field with an adult 21 or older who pos­sesses a valid hunt­ing li­cense and is not car­ry­ing a firearm, bow or other hunt­ing de­vice.

Deer shoot­ing hours are one half hour be­fore sun­rise to one half hour af­ter sun­set. Deer taken by ju­nior hunters do not count to­ward the reg­u­lar archery, muz­zleloader or firearms sea­sons bag lim­its.

The to­tal bag limit is three white­tailed deer with no more than one antlered deer. Sun­day deer hunt­ing is open on pri­vate lands in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s coun­ties.

Deer hunt­ing at Myr­tle Point Park

If you’re a deer hunter who lives in St. Mary’s County, you might find this next bit of information use­ful.

Mary­land DNR and St. Mary’s County have just an­nounced that deer hunt­ing will be per­mit­ted at Myr­tle Point Park. Ap­prox­i­mately 141 acres of the 192-acre park in Cal­i­for­nia is now open to archers and bowhunters.

Hunters at Myr­tle Point must fol­low all sea­son dates and lim­its. Ac­cess to the park re­quires pos­ses­sion of a free South­ern Re­gion Pub­lic Hunt­ing Per­mit and a daily reser­va­tion. A sea­sonal park­ing per­mit must also be dis­played on wind­shields.

For more information, call 301743-5161.

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