John McCaslin

"Does anyone in the mainstream media hunt? Or know anything about hunting? Why do I bother asking?" writes Humberto Fontova in a letter sent to The Beltway Beat. (Actually, sir, we loaded up on dove and duck over the New Year's holiday. Why do you ask?)

"'Buckshot, buckshot, buckshot,' the term referring to the ammunition used in Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident, appears everywhere from The Washington Post to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. So please listen up: If Harry Whittington had been hit in the face and chest at 30 yards with buckshot, he would have died instantly," Fontova writes.

"Instead he was hit with birdshot, OK? These are very small pellets powered by a light charge of powder designed to kill small, light-skinned game like quail. Buckshot gets its name because it's designed to kill 200-pound deer. Army Rangers and Marines use buckshot-loaded shotguns for close range combat. OK?"


A poll of 883 South Dakota bird hunters, conducted before Vice President Dick Cheney's weekend hunting accident, asked: "Have you ever been peppered with shotgun BBs?"

It so happens 484 of the hunters, or about 55 percent, replied "yes." And 365 of them said they were wearing orange vests when sprayed.

The poll was conducted by Pheasant Country ("where pheasant hunters come to roost"), a Web site sponsored by the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper.


As one gun rights advocate describes the crime scene, James and Sarah Brady, founders of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, were "dancing in blood" after Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident over the weekend.

(Perhaps one day I'll write about a well-known Washington reporter who peppered a fellow columnist with shotgun blast after aiming low at an elusive bird.)

James Brady, the former White House press secretary wounded alongside President Reagan by John Hinckley Jr., said after the vice president's embarrassing bird hunt: "Now I understand why Dick Cheney keeps asking me to go hunting with him."

Reacts Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms: "Only Jim Brady would be allowed by the mainstream press to make such a crude and crass comment and not be called down for it."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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