‘The Guns Of Autumn’ Revisited, Then And Now

By: Bob McNitt

‘The Guns of Autumn’ revisited, then and now

As we head toward autumn and the initial opening of several hunting seasons, I’m reminded of a special anti-hunting program that CBS televised years ago. The program, “The Guns of Autumn,” aired in 1975, depicted hunting as a cruel, outdated activity, carried out by blood-thirsty killers and mentally inferior morons. Its level of inaccurate biasness bordered on the absurd, to say the least.

The reason this came to mind is the fact I’m noticing more and more officials elected or appointed to high government positions were reared in urban climates and are basically unfamiliar with the world beyond the city or suburban lines. Their often naïve and biased views can easily butt heads with the reality of the environment and demographics of their subjects …oops, make that constituents. And their inaccurate views on hunting and firearms ownership are often the basis of constituents’ fears.

For example, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled a vote for this week on a presidential nominee opposed by many American hunters, gun owners, and farmers. The nominee, Cass Sunstein, has been tapped to lead the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) or “Regulatory Czar” (I hate that term) as the position is now known.

The job functions as the “choke point” between the White House and regulations from government agencies including the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Sunstein has written and spoken extensively regarding his anti-hunting and anti-Second amendment positions. He’s also advocated in favor of the legal standing in a court of law for animal rights.

The sale of firearms has skyrocketed since last November’s election. Nationwide, according to data from the FBI and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, November gun background checks increased 42 percent from the year before. In December, background checks were up 24 percent, 29 percent in January, and 23 percent in February. Background checks are considered an indication of retail sale activity. Why the buying binge? Because of the continuing suggestions being made by high government officials that hunting is no longer necessary and civilian firearms ownership needs to be controlled and curtailed more.

For those who never saw it or have forgotten, several segments of “Guns” were obviously shot and choreographed on private hunting preserves and edited to show wounded, dying animals struggling while nearby “hunters” laughed and joked. It was pretty obvious that the producers of the show knew next to nothing about wildlife or hunting. The sequence on deer hunting showed a wounded fallow deer struggling in a waterhole. Fallow deer are native to Asia and only found in fenced hunting preserves and commercial venison farms.

Writer-Producer Irv Drasnin let his bias lead him into either inaccuracies or misrepresentations of the true role and state of hunting. In the days following the telecast CBS probably got even more attention than it desired in the nation's press, as paper after paper castigated the show for assorted prejudices and inadequacies: "A new low in the standards of electronic journalism," "extreme and inflammatory," "massively ignorant or deliberately false."

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