For a few hours this afternoon, a doe and a 5 point buck chose to wander in and around our backyard. I watched intently from my kitchen window. These are not the first deer we’ve seen in our yard, and I know it’s not that uncommon around here. Nonetheless, it continues to amaze me each time they appear. I can’t eloquently explain why, but it has something to do with the ‘wild’ being so close to my everyday life, but so rarely affecting my daily routines.
My first thought upon seeing the ‘5 point buck’ was about how anyone could ever hunt these for sport. I’ve heard the population control arguments; I know there are diseases that can harm us and healthy deer populations, so I’m not going to make an anti-hunting argument. What I can’t understand is how, in that moment the arrow is released or the trigger pulled, you are comfortable with ending a life that is no direct threat. It seems to me that the ‘thrill of the kill’ goes much farther in explaining the phenomenology of hunting than do arguments about population ecology. The sense of community and craft that one feels when bonding with fellow hunters is likely important too.
My next thought was that I need to return to my former vegetarian ways. I was never a very evangelical vegetarian, and my motivations were as much about meshing with my graduate school cohort and intentionally being somebody different as they were about concern for the animals processed into food. I was happier about the weight I lost than I was about the cows I saved. Now, after 5 or so years of being off that wagon, the moral arguments about how our meat eating ways harm us and healthy animal populations resonate much stronger with me.
I’m not really sure how one quantifies a buck’s points, but quick internet research suggests you sum the points on each antler. So, this one was a 5.
FYI, when mice get in my house, I kill them.