“I want to hunt lion.” I said.
“I didn’t think you could do that anymore. Is that still possible?” Dave asked with eyebrows raised.
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I still want to hunt him.”
Dave wadded up the plastic baggie his sandwich had been wrapped in and wiped at his beard, leaving some mayonnaise stuck to the red hairs. He looked off into the woods at nothing in particular.
“It must be expensive, if you can do it at all.” He wiped at his beard again. “Maybe you could hunt mountain lion instead.”
“Is it the danger that entices you? If you shoot well, there should be no danger.”
“No. I have done many things more dangerous.”
“What about big bears? Grizzly and browns? Still expensive, but doable.”
“A bear is not a lion.”
“Well, why? Not that you need a reason, but I’m curious.”
“Because he is a lion and there is nothing else like him.”
“Surely it would cost a fortune and then you may not even take one.”
“It doesn’t matter. I want to hunt him, and I want him to know that I am hunting him. And you do need a reason, or it is not worth doing.”
“Well, yes. I agree. But aside from the “hunting” reasons was what I was curious about.”
“No. The hunting reason is the only reason.”
Dave stood and picked up his pack and rifle. They mayonnaise was still in his beard.
“I’ve read they can charge unprovoked. I guess that’s lure enough. True excitement I imagine. It must be…”
“I’ve been charged by animals before. Animals armed with more than teeth. I don’t want a lion to charge me. I want to hunt him.”
Shouldering his rifle and taking a step or two up the mountain Dave stopped and stared up the slope for a long time. He turned and looked back at me, undoubtedly wishing he could conjure a lion up for me right then and there.
“Well, in the end all hunting is the same; a search for something. Doesn’t have to be an animal; it’s effort expended to fulfill one or more of the senses.”
“Or all of them.” I said.
Dave looked back up the mountain and then turned to me again.
“Yeah, well. There’s plenty of daylight left and it is a good day to hunt.” Dave sighed. “Let’s imagine we are hunting lion.”
“No Dave. You cannot pretend to hunt lion.”