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Duck Season or Wabbit Season?

MUDCAT FALLS -- Six local duck hunters, ambushed this weekend by animal rights protesters, have filed a formal complaint with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, protesting the unfair tactics used by the Calabash League for Animal Protection, also known as CLAP.

"They were baiting, which is not only a federal criminal offense, it's just plain unsportsman like," said Porky Chumwater, avid sportsman, three time national Bass Masters Champion and one of the ambushed hunters. "Look, we're not against protesting, we just think these kinds of cruel practices should be outlawed in favor of more ethical and satisfying means of expressing dissent. Protesting as a tradition is being demeaned by these people."

The USFWS Office of Law Enforcement confirmed that Federal Regulations prohibit baiting in the taking of migratory game birds. Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction. Penalties for this criminal offense include fines up to $200,000 and a one-year prison term. The Department was less clear, however, on whether such regulations would apply to individuals and/or groups participating in protests against migratory game bird hunters.

CLAP has been aggressively stepping up its protest activities this fall hunting season. Whereas in the past, the group was content to picket outside Willie's Taxidermy & Bait Shop in downtown Mudcat Falls and pass out anti-hunting flyers to shoppers at the Pistol Creek Outlet Mall K-Mart with little apparent effect, this year the CLAP has begun actively stalking and firing upon hunters using paintball guns to mark them with indelible florescent paint and to disrupt their hunting activities.

"We have a clear First Amendment right to free speech and protest," said renowned local thespian Digby Dahlhaber, celebrity spokesman for CLAP. "Sure, we are salt baiting with Doritos and tater tots, as well as luring hunters with strategically placed Playboy magazines and NASCAR merchandise like Dale Earnhart, Jr. ball caps and beer cozies to draw them into our ambush areas -- but this is a life and death struggle to free millions of innocent creatures from these weekend fauna terrorists, so all's fair in love and war."

The site of Sunday morning's "Greasy Ridge Massacre," as it is being referred to by locals, was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape by a "Go Team" from the Safari Club International, the world's leading organization in protecting the freedom to hunt. Investigators slowly and arduously picked through White Castle wrappers, corn dog sticks and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans, searching for evidence and information to include in their official report.

"There is a significantly increased public health risk from illnesses such as Chronic Wasting Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Acid Reflux," said SCI Team Leader Gil Gorteks, "not only for hunters, but for the general population and wildlife as well, when sliders, pork rinds, Velveeta and Spam are left out in the woods as bait like this."

The stricken hunters were examined at and released from the Calabash County Memorial Hospital Emergency Room. Although none were physically injured, it appears that this year's hunting season may well be over for the men.

"I don't know how in the world he's gonna be able to sneak up on any mallards," said Olivia Batch, wife of ambushed sportsman Art Batch. "That glow in the dark paint ain't comin' off his face and he scares the be-jesus out of even me when he comes to bed at night.



2003 MFTHPPPGT




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