Whether or not the East Hampton Town Board decides to ban or strictly limit duck hunting in Fort Pond, Montauk, the growing debate points to a certain reality: Things are not quite the way they used to be here.
The sides are aligned so that on the one side there are a small number of hunters who use the pond during the late fall and winter duck seasons; on the other side are a number of year-round residents, including Jane Bimson, who works here at The Star. As far as I know, neither Jane nor a good, if untallied, measure of those who would prefer shooting end in the pond are opposed to hunting entirely. I assume, like me, they believe there are places where it no longer belongs.
Several times in recent years the peace of a weekend morning has been broken by several of our neighbors shooting clay targets over Gardiner’s Bay — perfectly legal, the State Department of Environmental Conservation told me when I called to ask. Still, legitimate or not, the noise of their blasting away until all the ammunition is gone is an unsettling backdrop to a Saturday or Sunday morning, and my wife and I will not let the children play on the beach until the fusillade is done.
As for myself, I do not go gunning much any more. I’ve even stopped renewing my state-issued hunting license. From time to time some friends and I may do a little plinking with a .22 rifle or shoot off a shotgun just for the hell of it, but only during the week and only during the depths of the off-season.
My father, who I recall gave up hunting during the Vietnam War era, said at the time that there was enough killing in the world. I have his old Stevens 12-gauge shotgun stored away in case I get the urge to use it, though I doubt that I ever will again.