Tomorrow morning half the male population of our church will be gone. It’s the opening weekend of deer season and they will be off to “the deer woods”. I’m not sure where the deer woods are, but I imagine they are far enough away from wives and children to afford our men a peaceful weekend of manly camaraderie. I even suspect that a few men aren’t actually off in the woods at all, but know a good excuse when they hear one. My daughter asked me yesterday why I’m out of school all this week. I told her that no one officially says it, but it’s because Thanksgiving and deer hunting fall in the same week. The majority of school administrators are men. The majority of school board members are men. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why we are on a break. What better time for the kids to be out of school, and Mom to be out Christmas shopping than while Dad is “in the deer woods”?
Although you won’t find deer woods on the map, many men lease a portion of someone’s property for their annual deer hunting excursion. They also buy tall structures called “deer stands” so they can watch for the deer from a better vantage point. Some even buy “deer corn” and feed the deer at a specific spot for weeks before the “hunt”. That seems about as sporting as walking out and shooting a cow. Why not just bypass the whole hunting idea and make a trail of deer corn from the woods to the slaughter house?
My husband, a foreigner by virtue of his non-hunting, California, city upbringing has had to adjust to the concept of deer hunting. It still amazes him when the paper shows the photo of some twelve-year-old girl with her “first kill”. It makes him shake his head when he sees a whole family, from infant to Grandpa, dressed in camouflage. But I grew up with hunting.
My dad killed anything that even looked like it was good to eat. I’ve eaten squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, pheasant, duck, and deer because of my father’s skill with a gun. (I suspect I’ve eaten opossum too, but I’m afraid to ask.) I understand the concept of killing to put food on the table. I don’t have a problem “killing Bambi” especially when I read the facts about deer. Deer kill. They kill us. In many states deer vs. vehicle accidents have tripled over the past few years. That’s because the Bambi population is rising. According to a Reader’s Digest report the “number of vehicle and deer collisions is conservatively put at 1.5 million a year. One major factor: The deer population has grown from 500,000 to 30 million in the past century. Texas, for example, is now home to 3.5 million deer, compared to 225,000 in 1940.” Wildlife experts are even trying to find a way to give birth control pills to deer. But the most effective, and most popular “birth control” seems to be hunting.
I think I killed a deer. If not, there is a deer out there with a severe limp. I hit it with my car while traveling at a speed of about 50mph. It bounced off the front bumper and rolled over the hood and then the top of the car. I was unhurt, but it did $2,000 damage to my car. I was lucky. Many drivers never walk away from an encounter with a deer.
So… I don’t have a problem with hunting and killing deer. I do find it amusing however, that men go to such lengths to justify their deer hunting. First of all they always tell me they love deer meat. However, they follow that statement with an admission that they make sausage with most of it! Now I’m thinking that you could add enough sausage spice to yak meat to make it taste good. I’ve never had a deer steak or chop or whatever that tasted any better than the toughest old steer. But I understand the reasoning. If you spend thousands of dollars on the clothing, guns, ammo, camping gear, deer stands, license and property lease required to bring home a deer it had better taste good; it had better taste REALLY good!
There’s no real point to this. I’m not trying to convince anyone to hunt or not hunt. It’s just interesting to observe human nature sometimes. And it’s ironic that as I sit here typing I can hear gunshots in the distance. Perhaps the “deer woods” are closer than I think! Ya’ll be careful out there today. I sure will!