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November 13, 2006 | 8 Comments

Hello Mr. Keillor:
I was disappointed with the jab you threw at deer hunters describing opening day of Minnesota deer season as "the day we dress all of our drunks up in blaze orange (etc.)". A few bad apples can ruin the image of any group, and this is true of hunters. Most of us are decent, hard-working people who obey the law and pay our taxes. You never take cheap shots, which is why I was rather stunned to hear that line. I don't appreciate being labeled a "drunk" because I participate in an activity I find rewarding and fun, and I suspect the many thousands of your fellow Minnesotans who hunt don't either. We get enough grief as it is, and I hope I can tune in to your show without hearing more of it there.

Mark H.

Yes, the objects of jokes tend to be sensitive about this. I speak as a liberal, and I have friends who are lawyers. Was that a cheap shot? Maybe so. Maybe it should have been put in the mouth of a character in Lake Wobegon, perhaps the acerbic Dorothy at the Chatterbox Cafe. That's exactly the sort of thing she'd say. She considers hunting pretty ridiculous and doesn't mince words about it. That most hunters are decent, law-abiding folk is not in question. That there is a LOT of drinking going on is also beyond doubt, according to what my hunter friends have told me. Maybe that is folklore, but sometimes comedy works with folklore and with stereotypes. The over-armed city hunter crashing through the woods, two sheets to the wind — a comic stereotype, but it must come from someplace, it wasn't just dreamed up out of thin air. Likewise, the cheating conniving Philadelphia lawyer. Most Philadelphia lawyers, surely, are quiet, ethical, devoted to the cause of human rights, and yet the cartoon figure persists. Likewise, the blithering latte liberal who loves the oppressed and downtrodden at a great distance: there's truth in that, my friend.

In my old age, I am more and more in favor of plain speech. I think that we midwesterners try much too hard to be inoffensive and it's bad for us and bad for comedy. And I hope you get your deer.


As an avid sober hunter I was happy to see a letter of protest, but I must say, Mr Keillor, your answer is excellent and un-arguable. BTW I got my deer.

Thanks, Mr Keillor, for not apologizing to the deer hunter who took offense at your comments about the drunk ones. It's always refreshing to read your answers to the people who seem to find fault in whatever you say on the show...why do they continue to listen?

Mr. Keillor, as a hunter from Ohio I can understand completely your humor on 'Minnesota deer season'. Here in Ohio, we joke about the 'high caliber' hunt of Michigan. I remember years ago Paul Harvey spoke of the Michigan deer hunt and the amount of wounded hunters. Here in Ohio we sport the bow, the shotgun and the muzzleloader. (A kindler, gentler, enviornment for us all) My father since deceased, (not through hunting though) spoke about a hunt in Michigan where a few high powered rounds bounced off the rock, he had rested upon. He needless to say got out of the area. ASAP! But, the deer hunters do a great service as they manage the herd, helping to avoid a head on collision with a full grown deer on the hiway. But I too would wish we could joke of the 'hunt' as we would any event, and that we could not be offended. It's just a joke, with a grain of truth. But maybe it would have been better recieved from a Mark Twain, or a Will Rogers.

The humor is in the grain of truth -- and as someone who grew up on the less populated side of my state, I will tell you that part of the problem is that it doesn't take many drinking hunters who forget that SOME people DO live in the areas they hunt to make a pretty strong impression. You can know in your head that most of the guys out looking for pheasant or quail, or deer for that matter, are sober and considerate. But it's the one who'll shoot out the window of their SUV at anything that moves that makes you think twice before you take a walk in the autumn orchard.

I just listened to the audiobook of Bob Newhart's autobiog. At one point he says that he fears we have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves. I believe your deer hunter who complained about your joke is a case in point. Today, I imagine submarine commanders across the nation are rising up (blowing their ballast?) in protest to one of Bob's famous routines. BTW, if you like Bob, you'll love his book. And listen to it, don't read it. He narrates it and it's like listening to hours of the button down mind.

I think it was hilarious.

I spent a time in Texarkana, Arkansas last year, and for the first week of the first (and last) month I lived there, I received the blessed privilege of experiencing deer season. It was exactly as you had described, and I was picking up beer cans on the property for the remainder of my stay.

You may not have touched everybody with that monologue, but you surely touched me. Thanks.

Great work as always,

Garrison... I cannot agree with you more that "that we midwesterners try much too hard to be inoffensive and it's bad for us and bad for comedy." It must be that we all grew up in the Lutheran Church. However, there is usually truth in comedy. Having just worked 60+ hours straight in our rural hospital Emergency Department this opening weekend of Wisconsin deer hunting season, we experienced a continual flow of injuries due to alcohol-related hunting incidents, many of which were quite serious. Hunting, alcohol, guns, and knives, just don't mix. Get your deer, but please stay sober.

What IS up with hunting and hunters in America today? First we have the amazing quail hunting adventures of the Vice President, and now we have a sort of Dan Quayle-Murphy Brown re-run. The fact is even the VP was drinking at the time of his accident (citation below), and that sets a really really bad precedent for the sport, or the various people who pick up guns and shouldn't.

A real hunter would have asked you to put something on that exemplified what a real hunter is, instead of these caricatures who appeal to political correctness. Real hunters understand they are taking a life, and have respect for that.


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