Deer Season didn't end on a pretty note here. The last day was pretty enough, but terribly cold to start. The last day ended in someone dead and that hanging over someone's head. I, myself, ended it sitting on the Pisgah and Nantahala Forest Boundary. Plumb across the County at a place called Turkey Pen on the Transylvania and Henderson County line a "Mexican" fellar went looking for Galax and was mistaken for a Deer. The shot killed him
is used in some ornamentations, collecting it can bring some money. Collecting wild plants and selling them is known as "Wildcrafting". These "Mexicans" that's come into this country have taken up Wildcrafting. I've heard of them cleaning ginseng out of places, not leaving any behind. It's just another of the things going on here. Now, Galax grows well under big mature Laurel and Ivey, moist, shady (not shaded out) ground. Which can be good places for deer to bed down. The man wasn't wearing orange, I don't know what he was wearing. But, once I read the story, one thing I did know, he was looking for galax. That's the most logical thing for him to be doing in "thick brush". Being the last day of Deer Season in Transylvania and Henderson Counties, it's legal to shoot a doe. So, pretty much if it's a Deer, you can shoot it. Someone took a chance, and it turned out to be a bad one. No one but those that were there and "The Law" knows what actually happened.
Chances are Luciano Martinez had a vague understanding of National Forest being Game Lands and Hunting was taken place there. He'd be alive today if he wore bright colored clothing or just plain hunter orange. Or, he'd be alive if someone had not taken a chance, and had a clearer understanding of what they were shooting. According to the news article, others thought it was a Deer. With what appeared to be a Deer, a chance was taken on a "killing shot". A chance that ought not have been taken. One that can't be taken back. That is all that is certain. I'm not pointing fingers. Ignorance speaks in a judgmental voice.
What is amazing anymore is the people (folks they are not)that we encounter with no idea that Hunting exists in Southern Appalachia. They don't know the difference between National Forest and National Park. One of my hunting partners encountered a couple walking through the woods, the Lady wore a coat the same color of a Deer's hide. He explained it was Hunting Season and gave her his orange. "You mean you can hunt here?", they say as if they have discovered a northwest passage. Most, innocently enough, wish you well or tell you of a dog they seen up the way and ask curious questions. Others, make little comments disapproving of you and what you do. After all, they are more civilized, educated and are certainly far more moral than though!
As years go by, I hear it from my fellow Hunters more. They wish hikers and bicyclers wore orange. Most hunters don't see the rules as being fairly applied. "We get a ticket for not wearing it and they don't. They're in just as much danger." Not that they wouldn't mistake them for an animal, but that they know when they're around! You take on a responsibility when you take a gun into the woods. The state requires that you take a Hunters Safety Course in order to get a license. They can't teach you experience and judgment. They can't teach anyone courtesy either.