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Faded Pictures from a Life: Gophers in the Graveyard

Gophers in the Graveyard


By the time I reached my pre- teens I had graduated from the stick and string bows with weed arrows to a cheap real bow and target arrows. Much target practice was done but the real fun was in gopher hunting.

Our primary hunting grounds was the large municipal graveyard. I and a friend or two would take our archery gear on our bikes and ride a mile to the cemetery on the edge of town. We were occasionally run out by the caretaker but usually he turned a blind eye as he was no fan of the gophers. We tried to stay away from people visiting graves. I think they would not have liked the idea of the gophers mingling with their departed loved ones. We would occasionally get a gopher on its run from hole to hole but our primary technique was far less sporting. We would get one of the cemetery garden hoses, connect it to a spigot and drown the gophers out of their holes. When they emerged we shot them with our arrows.

I look back on this with regret as I do my teenage bird hunting with shotguns but what was done was done. I learned I was not a killer from the experiences.

Gophers in the Graveyard, 9″ x 12″, acrylic on shuen paper, 2021

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