Rural Life – ugly sometimes
Gone hunting lately? Someone did. Deer season opened – first bows, then firearms. We heard shots this morning.
I get a call from a hunter telling us he shot a deer and it jumped our barbed wire fence and ran off through our woods. Could he come track it down? “Sure,” I told him – I’ll meet you at the gate.” Last thing I wanted was an injured animal in pain.
He came in with two friends and a boy. Seems the boy made a gut shot, and the father didn’t back him up. Anyway, they tracked it for almost a quarter mile. Dragging it out of the woods, guts were dangling loose from a three inch hole in this fine eight-point buck. I watched as they loaded it on the truck bed. They said, “Thanks, we’ll be going now.”
“Not so fast, buckaroo, where’s your tags?” Now, visualize I’ve got them and their truck locked on my property. I get to say when they leave.
“Well, Mam, I got my tags, but I don’t have a pen to fill it out.” He’s looking at me like that’s a good excuse.
“You mean, you got three men and a boy, in a truck hunting, without a pen to fill out your tag and secure it to the carcass? I’m not comfortable with a carcass leaving my place without a proper tag on it. Maybe I need to call the Game Warden and ask his advice.”
“Let me look again.” He goes rummaging through the truck again, and miraculously finds one; so he fills it out then finds a string to attach it to an antler. I’m not a hunter, so I don’t know if he did it right or not.
I’m thinking, I don’t like this at all. Something ain’t right. Anyway, I escort them back to the gate.
I’m going down to the corner to see where he says he shot the buck. Dammit! It didn’t jump the fence, he shot it next to the woods on my property. I am furious. If I want hunting on my private land, I get to say who can do it. The pool of blood, fur fragments and angle of the bullet as it tore into the ground made me sick at my stomach. I can’t imagine what it took for that animal to move that far with a hole that big. Huge drops of water hit the ground all around me. The rain is coming down in torrents. I’m standing here feeling too many emotions to handle at one time. Gotta get back to the house.
P.S. What does it take to live within the law and regulation? Hunting is regulated first to manage the populations of wild deer, in the best interest of maintaining health, lessen disease and possibly starvation. The good consequence is sport for food consumption, fewer to become roadkill and create liability, and more.
I respect rights to hunt. Obviously, what this guy did is illegal, and in my perspective immoral. What he did was not hunting, but poaching, the way I see it. What can I do about it? Nothing.
The rain washed away the evidence. I try to see purpose in everything that happens. So … I’m posting for a reason too.
If you know someone that hunts deer:
1. If you are teaching your kid to hunt, back him up with a kill shot if needed. Suffering is not just an inconvenience.
2. Respect the property of others. A shot into unknown private land could buy you a very expensive bull or cow, even if you’re lucky enough not to kill someone.
3. Participate and support the industry with integrity and character. One careless selfish deed destroys reputations.