I’ll have the Bambi with a nice Cabernet, please!
Hunters are cruel, sadistic men with orange vests and vile natures. They swagger into the forest and slaughter, then hang the bloody carcass’ on the roof of their four wheel drive vehicles, chugging beer all the way home. That’s the cliché we liberals have bought into. I’m thinking ofBambi, the Disney movie. I’m thinking of Tawny, the wonderful children’s book by Chas Carner. We’ve all grown up to worship deer.
I used to love the deer: and in fact, I still love their beauty, their grace, and how they come so quietly among us.
But deer are a big problem here on Long Island and also in Connecticut as well. Here in East Hampton there are two factions. The so-called Pro Deer Faction who say, no hunting, or very little hunting. And the other faction, The Pro Hunting Faction who want to bring professional hunters in to thin out the population. Lately, the anti-hunting folks have been winning. Their newest brainchild: the deer sterilization program is a crummy way to tame nature. No I don’t like guns. But, I like shooting deer a lot better than I like the alternative solution: a sterilization program that seems creepier, more sinister than hiring a bunch of professional hunters.
Doe have been turning up recently, pregnant, septic, emaciated, and vets are then brought in and forced to kill them. All at the taxpayers expense. Is this more humane than professional hunters who could even donate the meat to food pantries to feed the hungry? Or sell the venison to restaurants.
Because hunting is so politically incorrect, Lyme disease is endemic. So is Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Traffic accidents caused by deer grow every year. No one can have a garden without ten-foot deer fencing. No one can have an intact tree without a fence around it. The deer eat everything.
The other day when Henry and I were driving into town to pick up my husband at the train station, a doe and I were stopped in town at the same red light. The doe looked at me, I looked at the doe, and the doe sauntered off, perfectly blasé down the nearest driveway. I made a right hand turn toward the station, all the while thinking, what’s wrong with this picture? When I first started coming out here, the deer were actually afraid of me. Now I’m afraid of them.
Let’s not be so sentimental, kill them cleanly, eat them for dinner, just the way one eats one’s steak, pork chop, or chicken. When you eat meat you are eating the blood of other creatures. I can’t believe that a factory farm is more humane than a hunter aiming his rifle and downing a deer with a clean shot. I couldn’t do it. No, I couldn’t kill, gut, hang, butcher, though for years, I did the (to me) fun part: sautéing, browning, roasting, seasoning and serving the results to my family. These days, I make side dishes and salad, and my husband is responsible for the meat. My peculiar logic is, I can’t kill it so I’m not going to eat it.
But, I have no objection to people who do, and by extension hunters. What I object to is pretending the stuff one buys pre-cut and packaged in plastic at the grocery store is on a morally higher plane than some animal shot in the woods, schlepped home, hung, cut up and so on.
Bambi, be damned!