Monday, November 30, 2009

Hunting Season

Today is the first day of gun season for deer.

It's not just the deer that need to take cover. This morning I have heard shots all around my house. I feel like I should hide in the basement until dusk, when the hunters cease and desist.

I'm neutral on the subject of hunting. My dad hunted when I was young, and it afforded me the opportunity to see animals up close, developing a keen appreciation of nature within me. We ate the harvest. I am not a vegetarian, by any means--and that means animals die to feed me. I know the deer herd will suffer if it is not thinned. I still hate to think of killing a creature so wild and beautiful.

All that being said, there are ethical ways to go about hunting. And then there are other ways.

It's not only local landowners and those with their permission whose shots I hear coming from the small woodlots around my home. I don't mind them so much. Some shots being fired are from gangs of men and boys driving around in battered, mud-spattered pick up trucks and SUVs, hoping to see a deer break cover. They then leap out of their vehicle and take shots. I say men and boys because I've never seen a woman do this, although, to be fair, there may be some who do.

I've had to chase these wild-eyed and armed people off our property--and we don't even have woods! I've seen them park beside the road and leap out of a vehicle to lay in the roadside ditch and fire at deer that were flushed from a woodlot by others who, with or without permission, entered it from the other side to do just that. It's a crazy, reckless time, and it surprises me that there are not more accidents than there are. I hate it.

And so: I pray for the safety of all those out there this hunting season.

The Buck in the Snow
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

White sky, over the hemlocks bowed with snow,
Saw you not at the beginning of evening the antlered buck and his doe
Standing in the apple-orchard? I saw them. I saw them suddenly go,
Tails up, with long leaps lovely and slow,
Over the stone wall into the wood of hemlocks bowed with snow.

Now lies he here, his wild blood scalding the snow.

How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers,
The buck in the snow.
How strange a thing--a mile away by now, it may be,
Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass
Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow--
Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe.

Photos from Wikipedia.


  1. Hi Julena~~ Just a glance at those two photos and I'm mush. How can anyone kill such a fabulous animal? I can understand hunting for survival but those days are gone. Hunting for sport is just wrong! And worse is when you have idiots firing bullets your way, trespassing on your land and basically acting like morons. It is interesting that there are few if any women that hunt. And very few rioters and general chaos makers. Why is that? LOL I hope the season passes with NO casualties.

  2. Hi, Grace. I could never shoot a deer personally, but there are a lot of women who hunt! As I said, I'm neutral about it, having seen pros and cons of hunting firsthand. However, I have NEVER seen a woman among the illegal hunters that drive around these parts taking potshots at deer.

  3. Right. I get it but it is sad.
    The poem is so powerful.

  4. Wow, I didn't even know this was a problem, I live in a big city and camp every once in a while and see these awesome creatures... it sounds like the police should come out and check this out...

  5. Beautiful, sad poem, the kind that makes me cry.