Knight's 12 Gauge Would Top Cheney's Pop Gun At 20 Paces

posted 2/25/06

"The rich…who are content to buy what they cannot get
by their own exertions, these are the real enemies of game."
Theodore Roosevelt's Principles of the Hunt

What do Vice Pres. Dick Cheney and Coach Bob Knight have in common? They both have shot a hunting partner, both have hunted without proper licenses, and both avoided the Vietnam War.

You could hardly have missed news reports last week about Cheney blasting a lawyer while on a quail hunting trip on some billionaire lobbyist's Texas ranch. Knight's target was neither a lawyer nor a politician, so I give Cheney the most points for his choice of victims. Of course, Cheney only slightly maimed his man, so he gets points deducted for not making a clean kill. Knight failed to make a clean kill on his man too, but he got him square in the back. Slob hunter points are tied in the shooting category.

Knight's hunting behavior has come to public attention at least twice. He didn't have a hunting license the day he blasted his buddy, and he apparently had a trespassing conflict with a land owner. This is the third time the vice president's hunting prowess has come to public attention. The first instance involved duck shooting over bait with a Supreme Court justice who was working on a case involving Cheney. The second incident involved Cheney blasting 76 tame, pen-raised pheasants in Louisiana.

All indications are that Darth Vader's most recent hunting expedition was yet another canned bird hunt. Being a quail hunter and having been around quail hunters who hunt wild birds for 40 years, I can confidently predict that you don't step out of your pickup truck and walk smack into three coveys of quail. They were no doubt pen-raised birds, probably deposited by ranch workers on the morning of Cheney's hunt. Texans are into canned hunts like this.

Apparently the veep's victim, Republican attorney Harry Whittington, had flushed a covey and shot a bird. When he stepped forward to pick up his dead bird, another covey flushed and Cheney wheeled and blasted his hunting buddy.

Our vice president broke one of the most important firearm safety rules of them all: Make sure of your target and what is behind it before you shoot. However, Cheney's manslaughter attempt is what wild game hunters have come to expect from those who frequent canned hunting operations. Like Knight, Cheney didn't find it necessary to obtain required hunting documentation. He didn't have a game bird stamp and was fined $7. Had that been you or me, I have no doubt Conservation Officers would have confiscated our shotgun, maybe even our vehicle, maybe hauled me to jail and levied a heavy fine for hunting without a license.

The shooting puts Cheney in rare company. He is one of only two vice presidents to have actually shot a man, in a war at least. The other is Aaron Burr who whacked Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Several vice presidents might have shot a man in war, but Cheney could not have shot a man in war since he obtained five draft deferments to avoid the Vietnam War. Knight was coaching at West Point at the time and also avoided the draft.

At 20 paces, Knight with his 12 guage, Cheney with his 28 guage, I have give the edge to Knight, five-to-one odds.


©Copyright. 2006. Donald Lee Jordan