Turkey Hunting with Justice Antonin Scalia II: What I Learned

  1. Hunting as the Antidote for Nostalgia:  I was not secretive about my desire to obtain a unique story during my time on Carey Lightsey’s ranch for this blog, so I asked Justice Scalia how a kid whose family was from Sicily ended up hunting.  He remarked his Uncle Frank had a vegetable garden where his grandfather would sit and wait for rabbits who tried to eat the vegetables.  Dutifully, his grandfather lingered with his hand wrapped around the rifle barrel waiting patiently for his target to appear.  Justice Scalia received the gun that had a small corrosion around the barrel where his grandfather’s hand was placed after his grandfather passed away.  I felt the same sense of melancholy as Justice Scalia:  When my grandfather died, his shotgun was given to my brother who used it with honor and pride.  Justice Scalia remarked that what he loved most about hunting was the fact that nowhere else could you encounter “such a broad spectrum of people, people who spend their lives in Washington, D.C., people who live in the South serving as hunting guides, and a lawyer like you [me] except in the great outdoors.”
  1. The Wine of Friendship Freely Flows: Our tiny hunting party prepared meals together, drank wine, smoked cigars, and discussed the events of the day without distraction.  Hunting bird was on the agenda, but the chief part of hunting is surrendering to reflection.  During one such meditative moment, Justice Scalia noticed I had a box of cigars.  He carefully picked one up while I handed him matches.  During a luxurious smoke, I showed him time-lapse photos of the ranch.  Right then, I realized hunting was a catalyst for a lifelong bond served up with a twist of green earth.  
  1. Island Time:  In the woods, there is no rush, no schedule, and no deadline. A peer-reviewed article in Human Dimensions of Wildlife written by John J. Daigle and Daniel Hrubes Icekajzen illustrates that “experiencing solicitude, time to think, relaxing and relieving stress, and getting exercise and staying in shape,” were significant benefits associated with hunting.  Hunting also offers a unique opportunity to interact with the natural world and hunters are leading supporters of wildlife and habitat management, through their license fees and through individual support of environmental efforts.
  2. Hunting as Bridging the Social Agenda Gap:  Except for our love of the law and similar ethnic background, Justice Scalia and I are very different people.  I have been outspoken about legalizing cannabis but Justice Scalia rejected the notion that cannabis would be legal.  Yet the two of us, whose worldviews are so diverse, flocked to Carey’s ranch (our creative think tank) to discuss prescient matters that enabled us to realize our shared hunting potential.  When the great outdoors calls my name, I listen with an outstretched ear to its malapert messages.