Joe Porcarelli has been an avid hunter, angler and firearms enthusiast for many years, but not nearly as many as the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish recently credited to my octogenarian friend.
Earlier this month, Porcarelli—known as Porky to his many friends in and around Sierra County, New Mexico—received an identification card that officially certifies him as Mobility Impaired by order of the state game agency. The certification permits special privileges to the holder, including the option to use a crossbow during any big game season and permission to hunt from inside a stationary motor vehicle while not on a public road or highway ... practices that are otherwise illegal if done by regular licensed hunters.
While incredibly spry, active and engaging for 86 years of age, Porky has had some physical setbacks in recent years, including surgery for the removal of his gall bladder in 2011. The previous year, he pursued elk for a week—albeit unsuccessfully—in the prime habitat located in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, only months after undergoing quadruple heart bypass surgery.
There’s no question among his hunting peers that Joe certainly qualifies for some special treatment due to his age and physical condition, but the state and its automated permit system has apparently exaggerated (an understatement!) his advanced years. In fact, if AARP had been around, the partisan senior citizen lobbying confab may have been stuffing Porky’s mailbox with unwanted junk-mail solicitations for well more than 325 years.
The backside of Porcarelli’s New Mexico Game and Fish Department Mobility Impaired card, which contains his vital statistics, lists his date of birth as “6/8/1625.” That means this coming June 8—God willing—we’ll be celebrating ol’ Porky’s 387th birthday. All told, that’s quite a feat for someone who still spends most of his free time tooling through the New Mexico deserts and mountains in his tricked-out Toyota FJ Cruiser, or sighting-in his latest firearm acquisition at the Truth or Consequences Municipal Gun Range.
When I regularly cross paths with my friend, Porky, at the local shopping market, taco parlor or at the range, he usually greets me by first saying he has a new gun to show me—or an old one he’d like to sell to me.
This week when we met, he said he had something special he wanted me to see.
“Hey, Kiddo!” he said while pulling his new Mobility Impaired Certification card from his wallet. “Get a load of what Game and Fish just sent to me!”
Porky always calls me "Kiddo."
Again, God willing, I’ll be turning a ripe old 60 years of age later this year. But it makes me feel young to know at least I haven’t been kicking around since 5 years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, like my old buddy, Porky. Moreover, he has the official documentation from the state of New Mexico that proves it!