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Sophie Brickman Headshot

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves? More like Shoots, Kills, and Seasons.

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Ever had the problem of biting into a piece of shot along with your Thanksgiving turkey?

Me neither.

Ever had the problem of ordering meat at a restaurant and having it come to you under seasoned?

Now we're talkin'.

The topic of hunting came up the other night. In retrospect, I have no idea why, given the company. I was at dinner with my boyfriend, who is launching a "technology-enabled men's pants company," which simply means that you can buy pants online, but sounds to me like he has invented the world's first crotch jet-pack. Also at the table were three others: a friend who works in finance, a web developer, and a law student. The web developer, who is also the occasional hunter, mentioned a fascinating product: "SeasonShot."

"It's this type of shot that's made of seasoning, packed really really tightly," he said. "So you shoot it, and it hits the bird, and bam! It's dead, and flavored. But only on one side." He bit into a green bean contemplatively.

I was torn. Although I don't believe in hunting for sport, I do believe in seasoned meat. My mind began racing. If you were a really good shot, could you load your gun with pressure-packed sausage-stuffing and shoot some right up the butt? What about instant barbecue ribs? Hit that li'l porker in the flank with some cayenne, brown sugar, and 12-gauge garlic gun... mmmhmmm, finger-lickin' good.

The next day, I researched and discovered that "SeasonShot" is, indeed, a product. It's tagline? Ammo with flavor. Zing. Palin country.

SeasonShot comes in five flavors -- Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic, teriyaki, and honey mustard -- and its website exalts its three main benefits: no shot is left in the bird, it's biodegradable, and thus environmentally safe, and the third, it "seasons on impact." Boom, bam, lemon pepper pheasant. It shoots "up to 45 yards," and once you've killed your bird, you can put it straight in the oven (so long as you like the taste of roasted feathers), where the pellets melt into the meat.

(This sounded eerily like the type of inventions I used to dream up as a child. My most fully-formed idea was "MagnoSnot," an invention that would replace the tissue. I took my father's advice a bit too literally when he told me that lucrative inventions are "something you use once and throw away, like a tissue." MagnoSnot consisted of a small spray can filled with miniscule bits of magnets, which the user would spray up his nose. After waiting for full magnet-snot saturation, the user would then hold a very strong magnet underneath his nostrils and voila! Clear nose. Icky magnet. Potential investors may contact me through my therapist.)

Trolling SeasonShot's website, I came upon the founder's story. After seeing a friend meticulously clean his bird, picking out bits of shot, he went home with an idea: "A little of this, a little of that, a dash or two of such and such, gun powder, a shell, hardened seasoned pellets BANG! The bird falls down -- the seasoned pellets are in place." Huh? We need a story arc here, man.

Eager to give the product a try, and with images of short-range teriyaki shooting in my miniscule kitchen, I gave SeasonShot a call. No luck. Unfortunately, SeasonShot's FAQ page reports that the product is under development (and has been for at least a year).

Nonetheless, the expected release two years ago elicited some media flurry. David E. Petzal, self proclaimed "gun nut," wrote about it in November, 2006, on his blog. One Richard McBride, responded:

"I had a similar idea a number of years ago, and built the mother all 'spud guns' to take pig hunting. I had visions of returning triumphant with a pig ready to roast with the apple already in its mouth, but sad to say it really was a miserable failure. The main problem was this... if the apple went fast enough to hurt the pig it disintegrated in the gun barrel... but when I reduced the charge enough to keep the apple whole, it just bounced off the pig like a ping-pong ball. I think the pig was annoyed though, as it chased me a long way for no other good reason that I could figure."

So apple-shot doesn't work, and, according to their website, SeasonShot isn't quite there yet either.

Perhaps the reason it hasn't taken off the ground is its marketing tack. Maybe, in the wake of the recent election, SeasonShot marketers can seize the opportunity for disparate segments of a fractured nation to reconcile. What could be better than a new alliance of the rural, red-state NRA with urban, elitist foodies?

Who knows. Perhaps it won't be long before you'll be walking down a dark street and a voice behind you will growl: "OK, buster, stick 'em up, unless you want some peppercorns in your brisket."