Early this year, I drove west from Houston to Gonzales, Texas, to try my hand at pig hunting. It was my first time with a gun, and the noticeably concerned owner of the ranch at first banished me to a solitary spot on the grounds. Here, he said, the pigs would come to me and I could not pose a danger to anyone else. It was a nice spot indeed but did not make for much of a story, so I wandered off into the woods, hopefully protected by my Day-Glo hunting vest.
I eventually joined up with a family from Georgia. The group included the grandfather, Paps, and the father, CJ, but it was young Isaac, all of 8 years old, who took on the task of tutoring me in the ways of the hunt. He did a fine job, but we encountered few pigs (and killed none) in our morning walkabout. In the afternoon, with the Georgians heading home, I linked up with a group of friends from Houston who belied the demographic stereotyping of the hunt; collectively we were the equivalent of a bad bar joke: a Hispanic ex-soldier, a young black family man, a Serbian immigrant and a Jew from DC.
None of my new hunting partners fit the lazy caricature of the angry NRA member. Rather, they saw guns as both a shared sport and as a necessary means to protect their families during uncertain times. In truth, the only one who was even modestly angry was me, and that only had to do with my terrible ineptness as a hunter. In the end though, I did bag a pig, or at least my new friends were willing to award me a kill, so that we could all glory together in the fraternity of the hunt.