Saturday, September 26, 2009


What is an opinion? The dictionary defines and opinion thus "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty." Opinions are not arguments. Although, people forever want to argue about them.

The antonyms for opinion are "reality or truth". For the language challenged antonym means the opposite of the word in question.

What I write here on this blog are my opinions. For some reason people are constantly wanting one to defend or justify ones opinion. It simply isn't possible, by definition.

If one has a differing opinion fine and dandy and they certainly do not need to justify or defend it to me. When I read an opinion that is contrary to my own on a subject I try to take an objective look at it and see if there is anything of substance in it for me. If not I move happily along.

My purpose in writing my opinions here is not to force my ideas on others but simply to put them out there in case I might say something that resonates with one or two people. Writing thoughts down also helps to clarify things in ones own mind. If I should express an opinion that actually influences another human being to think about a subject in another light or see another side, I would find that a very satisfactory thing indeed.

Emerson wrote that to change ones opinion regularly is a very healthy thing. I think Emerson is quite correct in this. So, the opinion I write today may not be the opinion I have tomorrow. To remain pedantically married to an opinion expressed is the sign of a small and unyielding mind. I do not wish to be such a person.

The title of this blog is Musings and Memories. Musings are just thoughts that form, things that I am cogitating on at the moment. They are my feelings. I may love you today and be madder than hell at you tomorrow. Opinions are personal things. There is no right nor wrong to them and they are subject to change without notice.

If you are inclined to try and change someone's opinion I suggest you use honey instead of vinegar. Attacking people for their opinions, or trying to put them down in some way, says more about you than the person you are attacking. Now, there's an opinion that is not likely to change any time soon.

That is what I was pondering today and how I felt about it.

©Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Starting September first wolf hunting will be open in Idaho and on the fifteenth it will begin in Montana. As one might expect, there is a great controversy as to the wisdom of removing the grey wolf from the endangered species list. I’m afraid I must come down on the side of the environmental groups that wish to stop the hunt. I doubt they will prevail but I’m with them in spirit.

I am a nature and wildlife photographer. I hunt exclusively with a camera. It wasn’t always that way. I was raised on a ranch in California and got my first rifle, a Daisy BB gun when I was about seven years old an I thought hunting was the coolest thing in the world. I shot little critters with gusto and was pleased as punch with myself. As I grew up so did my hit list, ultimately shooting big game in Kenya. I think a lot of it had to do with attempting to garner my father’s approval. In any event, I did a lot of hunting and observing of hunters so I know of what I speak.

What eventually finished me on hunting was the fact that I no longer had blood lust. Most hunting has no heart. It has no decency. It is all about ego and making hunters feel somehow superior that they were able to spill the blood of some poor creature that happened into their scope. Hunting season, in my opinion, brings out the worst in people. It sickened me to the point that I said no more. I cannot be a part of this barbaric ritual.

Yes, some people really do need to hunt for food, especially here in Montana. But, I don’t know of anyone who eats wolf. No, the wolves will die so some hunter can belly up to the bar and brag of his prowess. He’ll have it mounted in some way so that he can marvel at his own wonderfulness.

Native Americans had it right. They did need to kill to survive but they understood that the taking of animals came with a responsibility and reverence. They paid homage to what they killed and they only took what they needed. Then the white man came and nearly wiped out every living thing on the continent including the Indians.

But, like everything else, it is all about the money. Last week our governor Schweitzer was photographed at his local gun store buying his licenses. The story pointing out that hunting season puts over three hundred million dollars in the state coffer, the governor imploring people to get out there and hunt. I happen to like Schweitzer very much and think he has been an excellent governor even though I am not of his party. I simply use this incident to illustrate my point.

Wildlife management is a necessary evil. It is a very delicate balancing act. But, it’s also very political and politics sully everything no matter how well intentioned. Unfortunately, environmental groups are not much different when it comes to politics, which is why I do not affiliate myself with any of them and believe me I have tried.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the right to bear arms. I carry a .357 on my belt when I go into the wilderness and I would use it if it were a matter of life or death. But, to kill these wonderful, spiritual creatures for fun, it just proves we haven’t evolved nearly as far as we think we have.

My heart is heavy and I will shed a tear for those wolves that will die for no other purpose than to serve human egos, needs and wants.

©Kinsey Barnard