Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the hunt is on

I've woken up to the sound of gun shots the past few mornings, a sure sign that deer hunting season has begun. Jeff told me not to wear tan clothes when I took the dogs out for a walk. Some people, on "the hunt", will shoot at almost anything that moves.

My first public school teaching job was in a rural community. On the first day of hunting season, the school was a virtual ghost town. Many students took the day off to go hunting. They didn't understand why school wasn't actually closed for the "holiday". Driving to work was a little scary during the first few days. Men would park their pick ups on the side of the road, sit in their truck with their gun pointed out the window, waiting to shoot a deer in the fields by the road. I'm sure this is illegal, but the cops either looked the other way or they were the ones doing the "hunting".

People who hunt are excited when they "get their deer", especially if it is a big one with antlers. This is a concept I just don't understand. I could fathom people killing an animal, if the person was starving and there was no other food source available. All the people I know who hunt have access to numerous grocery stores, so why hunt? An argument, I often hear, is the need to keep the deer population down.

Is deer overpopulation really causing us more problems than human overpopulation? I don't think so. Deer aren't contributing to global warming. If we stopped tearing down forests to build our mcmansions, the deer wouldn't be invading "our neighborhoods."

Some hunters say it's a "sport". Aiming a rifle at a huge animal, who has no defence, besides its 4 legs, doesn't seem like much of a sport to me. Deer are some of the most passive creatures on earth. I see deer up close all the time, and they just look at me for a while and then go back to what they were doing. I could kill all of them very easily, if I knew how to fire a gun. The only real threat to us is a good deal of damage to our car if we run into one on the road. Yes they eat our plants, but is that a reason to kill them?

My favorite hunting stories are the ones where a deer gets angry and charges at the hunter. I say, good for the deer.

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