No. 888



Back in my younger days, I used to live from one deer season to the next. This is back when my home state only had two one-week seasons, plus a special “Thanksgiving” hunt when students were out of school and could participate. Not only did I love to hunt but I also enjoyed having venison as table fare. In later years when I would kill a deer or someone would give us one, we would have it all ground into hamburger, or deer burger, and Viola would make excellent chili, and also use it for spaghetti and tacos. She had that special touch for seasoning that made it delicious.
Harry Allard, a faithful reader from the great state of Illinois, sent me something the other day that I had never thought about before. The article pointed out that America’s deer hunters constitute the largest army in the world. Of course this is allegorically speaking, as deer hunters are not an army at all, but most do possess firearms. But here is the reality of what I am saying. While bow hunting has made real progress in terms of numbers in recent years, the vast percentage of deer hunters, plus all the other hunters, use modern firearms (rifles or shotguns).
Before I received this article, I had never thought about the actual numbers involved, but the numbers of hunting licenses sold, state-by-state as given on the Internet, is staggering. I might add that most deer hunters I know have several weapons or guns and the same is true for those who hunt ducks, small game and other species. The Game & Fish Commission in my home state of Arkansas reports that more than 490,000 licenses, tags, permits and stamps are sold each year. For Texas it’s more than 1,500,000, and when you add up all the states it is a staggering 31,000,000.
But back to the article Mr. Allard sent to me. In just one state, the state of Wisconsin, the 600,000 hunters with firearms constitutes the eighth largest army in the world. More men and women are armed than in Iran and more than France and Germany combined. And as the article pointed out, these hunters (mostly men) deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms, and no one was killed. I might add here that young hunters who are granted a hunting license are required to first take a hunter safety and education course.
The point is that America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of homegrown firepower. Now, I am well aware of the tremendous firepower and bombs, including nuclear, that other nations possess but it still comes down to boots-on-the ground in any military conflict. There are those in our country, and also the United Nations, who would like to have strict gun control, but I stand with those who believe our forefathers had it right when they added the Second Amendment to our Constitution: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
I am deeply concerned about crime in America and guns of various kinds that are used to commit crimes to kill other human beings, but I would be willing to wager you my last dollar that hunters are among the most law-abiding citizens in our country. Sure we have a few bad eggs, but most are good, decent, honest and hard-working men and women. I would never use a firearm to commit a crime or injure or kill another human being but I would defend myself if someone broke into my home to do me harm.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)