The fruits of the Reformation
Veterans Day as a civilian

Hunting finds strange new respect

I'm hoping to go deer hunting this year.  I'm not sure it will happen because I take nothing for granted.   I've got a plan, have lined up some dates, but one never knows.

I'm old enough to remember when there was a strong anti-hunting movement centered on the notion that it was a form of animal cruelty.  This was always a false.  All animals will die, the only question is how it happens.  There is no reason to believe that a lingering death by starvation or disease is better than being shot.  Highway collisions can likewise be instant or debilitating.  Last winter I saw a deer with three legs - the forelimb likely torn off by a passing vehicle.  It was ravenously hungry (eating shrubs the other deer left alone), and struggled to keep moving.

And then there are predators, who will not hesitate to start their meal before the prey has died.  Being eaten alive sounds a lot worse than being shot, no?

I'm increasingly seen people talking about hunting as a humane, sustainable and natural way to obtain organically-fed meat.  All of this is true.   Taking a healthy buck provides a bounty of nutrition, connects people with nature, and it opens space for the next generation of deer to grow.  Far from being Elmer Fudd, the modern hunter is acutely aware of proper safety techniques and is deeply concerned with shot placement and minimizing animal suffering.

I think people are also realizing that eating fake meat - made using energy-intensive processing techniques to create a strange simulcrum of animal tissue - is not the big environmental win it was assumed to be.  Every year a certain amount of game animals need to be culled in order to maintain the ecological balance.   Why let that nutrient-rich food feed people (removing pressure from production agriculture) rather than simply decompose on the roadside?

To date, I've taken one deer, and that was with a late-model sedan.  Here's to hoping for something more humane.


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