ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

My “I’m so Damn Sick of Deer Hunting Season” post ~climbing off my soap box now~

Since I am a Minneapolis native I, of course, have a lot of FB friends and family in Minnesota, and, as much as I love them, I dread my news feed during hunting season. Not to say they’re all hunters, the majority aren’t, but there’s a chunk in there and I do a fair amount of cringing and quickly scrolling over certain posts. Because seeing all the “rah rah hunting!” stuff makes me equal parts sad and pissed off.

I think I’ve just seen one too many smiling faces over dead deer over the past few days and I’ve got a question–why? What joy is found in killing a living creature? I just don’t get it. And some of the people I know who hunt are otherwise incredibly kind and compassionate people. I get that there are people who see a hierarchy on this earth–with humans on the top (by the way, we’re doing a pretty shit job of being alpha, IMO). Even so, why? We know, beyond a doubt, that the animals who are hunted feel pain, terror, joy, a desire to live. So why cause that kind of suffering? This is head scratching for me, I simply do not understand.

Even more, I don’t understand encouraging children to hunt and kill. Why? A lesson we’ve taught our kids is that every life matters, down to the smallest. I’ve seen them carefully pluck worms off a hot sidewalk and deposit them on cool grass, rescue snails from the street, shoo a spider outside (or, in our daughter’s case for many years, run screaming for someone else to shoo a spider outside and, ahem, I don’t know where she learned that habit from). When our oldest was five (maybe six) and we were living in Guinea, he saw classmates throwing stones at some stray kittens on the edge of their school playground and he yelled at them to stop, but they didn’t. So he marched himself over to the office of the director of the school and told him what was going on, the director put a stop to it. I was proud of him, not only for doing the compassionate and kind thing but for going up against his peers in order to do it. I can’t imagine telling my kids that we were going to go out and kill an animal for fun. To find joy in intentionally ending a life? Why? I keep asking it because I just don’t understand. Part of me wishes that I did because maybe then I wouldn’t be so angry about it, part of me is happy that I don’t because, ultimately, I think it’s something that probably cannot really be rationalized. I know all the “reasons” for hunting–spending time in nature (you can do that without killing anyone), food (you can buy that and you don’t even really need to make one of those purchases meat, and let’s not get in to the subject of slaughterhouses), spending time with family (ditto to reason #1), keeping deer population down (a healthy and balanced ecosystem could go a long way to doing that). I’ve heard all the “reasons” but what they sound like are excuses because they’re all, really, false fronts since none of them actually requires killing animals.

One of the people in my life who has always been against hunting, and who helped to form the way I think about animals, is my grandfather, my Da, who was a veteran of both WWII and Korea. For Da, harming an animal was unthinkable. And this was a man who was raised in the South, who spent a nice chunk of time in foster care with a farmer who was very cruel to him. Had he wanted to he could have found a pretty solid list of “reasons” for why hunting and killing animals is acceptable–instead he went in the opposite direction. I’m sure a lot of it is because, having seen so much death and blood in combat, the thought of intentionally taking a life, of intentionally causing pain and suffering, was repulsive to him. It’s not something you do for fun, it’s something you do as a last resort when all other options are gone and life hangs in the balance, even then there is no joy to be found in it. In our family we file Da’s feelings about hunting in our “Why Da is a Hero” file. The thought of one of my children intentionally harming an animal, and finding joy in it, turns my stomach. So, why? Why is this something that is taught to children? Why is it seen as acceptable? Why does it bring joy? And I’m not asking this question so I can scream someone down, I just don’t understand because when I see pictures like this:

12-year old hunting

it makes me ill. I can’t imagine teaching my child to find joy in killing. So, why?


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11 thoughts on “My “I’m so Damn Sick of Deer Hunting Season” post ~climbing off my soap box now~

  1. Fred armand on said:

    How do you feel about hunting as a means to feed a family – not as a sport?

    • I feel it is a lot more justifiable. As a vegetarian I would never say I agree with killing an animal for meat, but hunting done by responsible and skilled hunters is more humane than, say, factory farming. I think there is a difference when it is done with a recognition of what the act means–the significance of it–and when it is done with a respect and a reverence for nature than when it is done for “fun” or when joy is found in it.

  2. I am a hunter. I like tho think I understand where you’re coming from, and understand your consternation about seeing pictures of dead animals on your facebook feed. I don’t personally like pictures like that, and don’t personally post that there, but it’s the culture here.

    There is little thrill killing, it’s a straw man. Every hunter eats what they hunt if it’s edible. It’s the law in most places, with the only exception being small pests that cause structural damage or carrion-eating animals (coyotes etc.). The minute people accuse hunters of thrill-killing or whatever all it shows that you have never so much as taken a hunter’s education course.

    Every hunter pays for licenses, tags, and as a group hunters contribute a significant, even a majority of conservation budgets in most states. Plus the economic impact, which is billions.

    Remember, we humans, all of us, put this ecosystem out of balance. In the USA deer collisions cause millions of dollars of damage and plenty of injuries every year.

    Most states crop insurance schemes pay out millions of tax dollars to farmers to reimburse them for crop damage done by deer, feral pigs, and other wildlife.

    Why? Because there are too many deer. Why is that? Because of us. All of us.

    I can guarantee you that everything I have killed (and in fact, 99.5% of hunters) has suffered exponentially less than the animal bits one buys at Whole Foods. The wildlife I take isn’t wasted, not shot for thrills, it’s an honor to have it on our dinner table, because the connection is _personal_. And what I bring home is more organic, and has a significantly lower environmental impact in the process of raising itself than any animal coming out of our agriculture industry.

    Given the above, I also understand why hunters experience joy and some amount of pride in what they take – it’s massively more work than pushing a shopping cart around.

    I don’t eat meat often, but when I do, I prefer to eat what I have hunted.

    Banning hunting isn’t the answer:

    – that same deer will suffer a heck of a lot more when it’s hit a Prius doing 50 mph, a transit bus, or a commuter train, and those increase proportionally to population.

    – Local “SWAT Teams” know almost nothing about humane kills. That borders on criminal animal suffering.

    – “Professional” deer population control harms a lot more species than deer. Spiking food with estrogen to put female deer on the pill, effectively, causes estrogen to get into the ground water, and you now have fish with male and female sexual organs swimming in the local rivers.

    – Other problem species are invasive – there is nothing in the ecosystem able to deal with the invader, whether a coyote, coywolf, or feral pig.

    There is nothing in nature now that kills healthy deer other than a motor vehicle collision.

    So what are the answers there?

  3. Entropy on said:

    Because it is hypocritical to eat meat without understanding the cost of it. Because deer are prey, and humans are predators. Because deer reproduce to be hunted, otherwise the eco-system gets out of balance. Because that deer is going to die, eventually, with a lot of pain… more than a bullet…. deer dont live very long, and they die really easily from disease,cold or hunger. When humans don’t hunt, deer starve. When humans reduce the deer population, those who survive have a much better life.

    Because we have instinctive roots (maybe not all of us), and those are predator roots. It is joyful to scout, track and stalk a prey. It is joyful to kill prey, dress it, and eat it. All the work it takes to take a deer is incredibly joyful for a lot of people, and there is nothing wrong with it, because we are predators. I enjoy taking deer, rabbits, squirrels, etc… i woudlnt enjoy taking a lion, or a tiger, or obviously a human. It is not about “killing” it is about hunting. Just look at a cat, hunting a mouse, and ask him, why? Why are you having so much fun?…. guess what… cause he has an instinct to KILL and EAT prey. He is wired to enjoy it. We are so disconnected to nature….

    It is natural for us humans to hunt, and there is absolutly nothing wrong with it and doesnt make you a psychopath; youve said it yourself, you know really nice people who do it. Hunting is becoming less popular thanks to modern living polution; which is the reason you dont understand hunting, heck you even compared it to human war, which is incredibly insane. Our natural instinc is not destroying this world, civilization, modern living is. Cities, roads, deforestation, etc… have massively taken so many lives, so many animals, for what? For MONEY and POWER. And you are part of that world, you work for it, so dont look down on hunters. Look down on yourself, and all of us, for being such a shitty species. But NOT for hunting.

  4. Ruth Ann Smith on said:

    Lol, so you buy from a grocery store where no one posts pictures of mass killing of cows, chickens, pigs, fish lamb etc.. I’m thankful that God provided deer, turkey, fish, duck etc .. For food and clothes and yes to even decorate our home. I don’t take a picture of myself when I leave the grocery store, Lmbo. I do however take one when I bag a really nice buck, doe, fish etc… Not every kill. If you hunted you’d get it. Sit for hours in freezing temps, rain etc.. Keeping the hours it takes during hunting season. We use our entire kill, nothing is wasted. Yep, some even feeds the buzzards( very little) God made them and they gotta eat too. There is a purpose for everything God made. Our meat is lean and free of all the pollutants that have to go into the stuff you buy. Eggs fresh out of the chickens ass etc.. This world is not getting better and I’d rather teach my children ( future generations) to survive than fight or starve if things go the way they point. Don’t depend on money! Or can go as easily as it came and just ask some homeless folks how they got there. Not all were drug addict loosers. I wanna know I can hunt, garden, fish whatever it takes to survive. I don’t understand why you or others like you read things you don’t like or look at pictures that bother you? I don’t purposely read what I don’t like and the things I do is because I want to keep up on current events and have knowledge , continue to expand my mind and understanding of others too. So learn how to survive if your smart , pass this knowledge along or read and look at what makes you feel warm and fuzzy! Please get off the high horse , I’m sure there is something we could pick on about what you do too, I choose not to find fault with others or judge if I’m lucky not to let Satan tempt me to be what I am, a human sinner instead of trying to be what God asks. It’s not easy I fail and fall short daily in many ways but I sure thank Him for food, clothing and shelter He provides!! Try it if you haven’t. I will try to post a picture of me after I leave Kroger grocery store if it will make you and others feel better. I’m still going to exploit my better kills too. Deal with it, okay. I deal with a lot I don’t like. You and your family just may need some of us killers one day😉 BTW: it has never been for just the fun or the animal in question die in vain. I do enjoy hunting and I find it to be fun. I am very blessed to enjoy the rigors of being a survivalist!! Have a great rest of your life. I’m going too. Leaving out to kill a deer in a few hours and I sure hope it’s my record one worthy of me taking a picture if not I still hope I bag one to go home to skin, clean , process etc. Bottom line, the kill will happen. Happy hunting in the climate controlled isles of your favorite mass murder grocery produce store. I may see you there. I still shop too. Betty Crocker I’m not and love chips, snacks and bacon!!! I don’t own pigs or I would kill them for the love of bacon.

    • Bottom line: “the kill will happen.” That’s a scary statement. And I just responded to someone on this post who maintained hunters don’t find joy in killing — clearly he didn’t read your comment. I find it odd that you brought God into this. I’m Catholic, and I feel that my values towards animals are in line with the Catholic church. Pope Francis has stated that animals will join us in the kingdom of heaven — which is a pretty clear indication that animals have souls. So how can you, as someone who seems to be a religious person, justify the killing of a sentient being with a soul? BTW, I’m not on a high horse, I’m expressing my values, which makes sense since this is my blog. Nobody forced you to read it. We no longer need animals for food, clothing, or shelter. I feel it is better to live a life that causes as little harm to others as possible.

  5. If you want to know why so much, maybe you should educate yourself. Ignorance does us all more harm then good. Who told you killing an animal was “fun” or “joyous”? Whomever it was is a mental disturbed individual[s]. For myself and many others the killing part of hunting is the worst part. It’s very disturbing you base your opinion as fact to your children when your opinion couldn’t be farther from the truth about hunting. Harvesting an animal is a way to keep herds culled and to have food that I know where it came from. As many of your type would call “organic”. You see many of us killers really do give a shit about our land and the creatures that inhabit it. Nothing to do with the so called top of the food chain. Frankly the least amount of gmo ,growth hormones,ect I can put in my body and my families bodies is a good thing.

    • Dan, photos I seen of people during deer hunting season — of them posed next to the bodies of dead deer — are always accompanied by big smiles. I a Minnesotan, so I know plenty of people who hunt, it’s something they enjoy for many reasons. I think it’s a bit funny that you are essentially coming down on me for what you see as my assumptions and then you proceed to write the words “your type”, clearly making assumptions about who I am. I’m very interested in what my “type” is, if you’d like to enlighten me.

  6. Lisa on said:

    Thank you for your well written blog. I am against all forms of killing and just don’t get it.

  7. Lisa on said:

    I just saw some of the comments. It’s exhausting to read through all of the bullshit excuses of why people hunt. Like their so noble and providing this great service to mankind. ….. “it’s not fun or joyous” as they pose for a picture. Or when they say “if it’s brown it’s going down” …. yeah, I must be one of those uneducated, ignorant people.
    Excuses of the cowards!

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