Mist and night-cold cling and cloud,
Dripping grasses damp the ground,
And in the morning silence loud,
The crack of shot and bay of hound.

I wonder at the dark of mind
That finds its pleasure in the death
Of bird and hare and timid hind,
That steals wild beauty’s final breath,

If in the dark where hunters stalk,
Does shame, compassion ever break
Upon the bloody path they walk?
Is mine the only heart to ache?


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

22 thoughts on “Labyrinth”

      1. It’s what happens when you live in the countryside. There a millions of hunters in the world but they don’t hunt in the towns and cities. It’s when you’re in the middle of it, hear the shots and have their dogs racing over your meadow that you realise what their leisure activity involves.

  1. Can you charge them with trespassing perhaps? The hunting dog, with or without the hunter – is on your property because it was sent there. Might be a start to curb their crimes.

    1. Nope. The hunters are protected by local by-laws. If they are chasing something they have the right to pursue it even if it takes refuge in your garage or your kitchen. One reason why there is so much outrage and disgust here, whole villages getting together to defend animals that take refuge in gardens and in the urban habitat. These days they’re winning, but the law is always on the side of the hunter. The head of the local gendarmerie is almost always a hunter and enforcing any ant-hunting law is thus very difficult to implement.

      1. We’re getting there by dint of petitions and direct action. There’s a call for a referendum on animal rights sponsored by some big names (owner of Free for example) and the hunting lobby is getting scared. They claim that 0.7% of the population (and falling) should be able to carry on massacring because, they argue, you don’t have to be a hunter to agree about how necessary it is. The ‘stands to reason’ argument, therefore there’s no need for a referendum. They’re terrified of the outcome.

      2. Very very glad to hear that. It’s sooo old-school to go out and hunt an animal. For fun. I remember reading Jock of the Bushveld, a famous South African story by one of RSA’s more famous personages. How I nearly put the book down at the point where they’d go hunt kudus (a magnificent animal) ”having a bit of sport”. Blast them to hell!

      3. It’s not ‘hunting’ it’s middle aged men with big guts waddling after their dogs and shooting whatever the dog happens to flush out, pigeon, weasel, rabbit, cat, blackbird…
        It’s not ‘sport’. How could it be? How is a kudu supposed to defend itself against bullets? It’s pleasure, titillation from seeing something die and knowing you are responsible. Maybe there’s a sick strain in the psyche of some men that you could call God envy.
        The hunters blame city folk who don’t understand country ‘ways’ for the surge of anti-hunting opinion, but if you ask any woman in the countryside and most of the men, they’ll tell you they don’t like it.

      4. God complex … interesting. The need to dominate, rule over. As it says in the Bible (which I think has been mistranslated) … dominion over the animals – like here it is: earth, animals, women (and children) to do with what they like. May the Christ blush in shame.

      5. They like the killing part too. They’re not allowed to kill women and children (though some do anyway) but killing animals is a highly respected tradition, so they get heritage credits as well as their death fix.

      6. I used to be wary about who I tackled on the subject as there have been so many cases of physical as well as psychological harassment of people who speak out against the ‘guardians of the environment’. But I don’t anymore and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how little support they have, even in their own families.

      7. They have the guns, which is a good reason for being wary, and I don’t want to have mutilated foxes slung in front of the door. But they are fewer every year, old age, bad health and the kids would rather play with their telephones than be out in the cold with a smelly dog waiting to shoot something they can’t even eat 🙂

  2. I’m sure they are thinking of no one and nothing but themselves. The gun lobby is so strong here, and so many people own guns, we will never be rid of them I’m afraid. (K)

    1. It’s a leisure activity, or a ‘passion’ as they like to call it. How they get their fun. The animal killing will fall out of fashion and apart from the drug dealers’ arsenal, that will get most of the guns out of circulation here.

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