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HOBBLE CREEK’S SPARKY IS DEAD, THANKS TO A GUTLESS BONEHEAD

SHARE HOBBLE CREEK’S SPARKY IS DEAD, THANKS TO A GUTLESS BONEHEAD

I don't hunt deer nearly as much as I used to. In fact, I've only been twice in the past five years. For some reason, gutting a deer and spending a half-day dragging it off the mountain has lost its appeal. Besides, my wife won't eat the meat.

But still, at times I'm almost ashamed to admit that I hunt at all. Why? Because the actions of a few other hunters disgust me. I'm beginning to understand why hunters are stereotyped as being inconsiderate, careless and bloodthirsty.My disgust was ignited again Wednesday when I learned that Sparky had been shot. Sparky, named by Garth Evans, my golfing companion, was a two-point buck that spent the summer roaming the fairways of Hobble Creek Golf Course. He could be seen almost daily hanging around the apple trees. If you played Hobble Creek this summer, you probably saw Sparky.

I saw Sparky for the last time Sunday on the third fairway when I walked to within 10 feet of him while he ate. I remember thinking that someone would probably put a rifle in their golf bag and blast him in between shots. Evidently they did, because Tuesday workers at Hobble Creek discovered evidence that Sparky was no longer with us. (I'll let you use your imagination to determine what evidence the workers found.)

Why does it bother me that someone killed Sparky when hunters killed thousands of deer throughout Utah last weekend? Because killing Sparky was like killing an animal in a zoo. It was like shooting someone's dog off their front lawn. If a hunter wanted to badly enough, he probably could have cut Sparky's throat while feeding him an apple out of his hand - that's how tame Sparky was.

Even though Hobble Creek is located in the mountains, that should not justify Sparky's death. The course is surrounded by cabins and homes and "no trespassing" signs are posted all around the course. A golf course is no place to kill a deer.

The Sparky incident is just another on a long list of actions by bonehead hunters that make the words "fluorescent orange" derogatory. Just last week we learned about a group of Wasatch County hunters who couldn't wait until the hunt started and committed the "Currant Creek Massacre." Last year three moose were shot and left to rot in the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon. About five years ago while hunting in a three-point-buck-or-better unit near Scipio, I came upon four dead two-points left for the flies.

Instead of mounting their trophy kills on the wall, hunters who participate in these kinds of activities ought to hang themselves up on their living room walls so everyone can admire the empty spread between their ears.

By the way, if you hear someone bragging about killing a deer on Hobble Creek Golf Course, please let me know. I'd like to reward them for their accomplishment and turn them in for trespassing.

(Jim Rayburn, Springville, is a staff writer in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)