The Hunters

Yesterday I  heard the deer hunters deep in the forest,  a shot fired, a thud,  the accompanying echo of  victory.  I screamed obscenities that echoed back at me.  Last night in a dream they came for me, chasing me through the thick forest,  I could hear their rebel yells close behind, my bare feet bled and my legs gave way and I fell.  They caught up with me and when I begged for my life they laughed, drew  back their bow and arrow and pierced my heart,  buried me beneath skins of their dead animals.

A few weeks ago while hiking through the woods we came across a dead  fawn. It’s mother had bedded down about ten feet away. By the condition of the carcass we guessed it had been there for a couple of days.   Thick  blood had caked in the baby deer’s eyes from the gunshot wound. We broke  some branches and shooed the doe away, buried her baby  under a tall pine, threw straw over the resting place and stuck a wide stick into the earth, wound it with a garland of vines.

This morning I heard the thud of a bird striking the window.  A bloody mark left on the pane took the shape of a tear drop.  There is still a stain on the grass where it fell.  It’s grave is in the shade of  hydrangea bushes.

The garden is bursting with life,  the roses in full bloom,  petals of peonies open wide  to the sun,  fruit spurs shoot forth  from the apple tree.  The earth is in the throes of birth and everything seems possible.  I try not to think about death. The sweet doe beside her dead fawn, does she still grieve?  The woman down the road complains that the deer  frayed her young trees and raided her vegetable garden.  Is life as insignificant as the tiny sparrow?

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50 thoughts on “The Hunters

  1. I don’t guess everyone is for hunting. The men in my family are big deer, duck and turkey hunters. The fawn should have never been shot. Someone either wasn’t paying attention, or just didn’t care. The photo you have used is beautiful.

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  2. I agree with you. No humor can fit in this subject. Near Savannah, a family had a deer that took up and stayed at their home. One day a hunter came near the house and shot the deer with a deadly round. Another time, in the reserve that is in Savannah, a teen climbed the fence to the reserve and killed a deer that was supposed to be in a safe area. Birds are so very vulnerable to every aspect of life. I have had two to get away and never to return. I had another one who lived with me for sixteen years, and died of cancer. Life is precious. I know deer hunters,,,good friends. They talk about the lean deer meat; they won’t starve if they don’t kill a deer. One of my doctors is Jewish. She is totally vegan. One time she told me what she had for her food; she hasn’t starved either. I just now saw a video on fb, about cows waiting to be slaughtered. The woman who wrote the post was petting the head of one of the cows who would soon be slaughtered. I wish that i could be able to live without meat. I just thought of a bit of humor that fits the subject. Maybe we should give people hunting licenses to deer!!! Please forgive me if that is insensitive. I lived in New Orleans as a child. There were many Robins in my neighborhood. There were also many young children who had pellet guns, and who killed Robins. I never could understand why. Please forgive any typing errors. I really don;t want to read my thoughts again. Thanks for your love for God’s creatures who can not protect themselves.

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  3. Animals have a tough enough time in the wild as it is – and then we shoot at them, trap them and treat them with utter disregard. There is no justification for us killing defenceless animals. Now, if we gave the rabbits AK47s, that might make the ‘sport’ more interesting? Would hunters be so keen to kill if the deer were packing heavy machine guns? Overall, millions of years of evolution wiped out by one bullet.

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  4. I recall an argument that I had with a co-worker. His position was that the deer population had to be culled. I asked him what qualifications did he have in discerning which should be shot or not? I posited my opinion that the goal of the hunter was to kill the buck with the biggest rack and would be contrary to a proper cull by removing the one most suitable for reproducing. He didn’t have a response to that.

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    • Excellent point Rob. I think the object of the “game” is to position oneself in a tree stand, sniper like, wait for the unsuspecting animal to come to you (why waste energy) shoot the white tail deer between the eyes, take a photograph with the once beautiful and wild creature whose eyes now stare into a different galaxy, smile broadly holding the 8 point antlers up, then remove that rack and place it on the wall along with the others. Pat each other on the back and have a six pack while listening to Sweet Home Alabama.

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      • I read a story a few years back about a hunter who put radio collars on his dogs. He was able to determine when the dogs had treed a bear. He’d simply locate the dogs and then blast the bear out of a tree. Some sport. A local mechanic is a game hunter. He mounts the ‘trophies’ on his wall. I find it more akin to visiting a mausoleum as opposed to a man cave. I understand hunting to survive, but I really don’t get hunting as a sport.

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  5. I once had a friend who was in possession of a hunting permit and when I first heard about it, I didn’t like it at all. I had in mind these gun fanatic persons who shoot for sports and love to present a huge amount of trophies.
    But then I learnt that he did much more than hiding behind a tree or sitting on a deerstand shooting deer randomly. He was responsible for a certain hunting ground, knew nearly every single wild animal living there and observation meant a lot to him. It was not only his job to hunt in order to regulate the game population in a certain area but also he had to care for the animals living there. He had to look after them, during the winter often providing the deeryard with hay and other food. When I remember him I think he was hunter and gamekeeper at the same time.
    I believe he never would have been able to shoot a fawn – on the contrary, he brought up a little one on the bottle when the dam died in a road accident.
    I’m completely against hunting just for fun and for sports, but caring for a whole hunting ground is another, a complex matter and in this case sometimes hunting with deliberation seems to be the right and comprehensible (because necessary) way. Hunter and hunter. Very different people.

    Have a nice week, Holly! – Michèle

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    • Thank you for a very interesting look into the subject of hunting. I have researched the duties of a gamekeeper, …per wikipedia:
      “one who manages an area of countryside to make sure there is enough game for shooting, or fish for angling, and who actively manages areas of woodland, moorland, waterway or farmland for the benefit of game birds, deer, fish and wildlife in general. Generally employed by a landowner, and often in the UK by a country estate, to prevent poaching, to rear and release game birds such as common pheasants and French partridge, eradicate pests, encourage and manage wild red grouse, and to control predators such as weasels, to manage habitats to suit game, and to monitor the health of the game”.

      In the US the equivalent is A Conservation Officer who protects wildlife and the environment.
      “A conservation officer may also be referred to as a an environmental technician or technologist, forest ranger, game warden, gamekeeper, investigator, wilderness officer, wildlife officer, or wildlife trooper.
      His duties are to protect wildlife from poachers ( hunting is often done on properties privately owned and a fee is charged to hunt). Controlling alien or exotic species ( a big issue here in Florida) or overpopulation of a species that disrupts the environment the use of birth control ( I know, seems really strange 🙂 and the transporting to other areas is part of the conservation duties.
      Thank you Michèle, I appreciate your input.
      Have a lovely week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks a lot for explaining the duties and also the differences between the gamekeeper and the Conservation Officer, Holly! Quite interesting to read about the wide range of duties. No wonder – as I have just learnt – that there are quite a lot of different name designations covering all these fields of activity.
        Thanks for researching and telling!

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  6. Dear Holly… this is so touching… I often think about death and see it as a remote possibility (even if my dad was diagnosed with cancer a month ago: but anyways the diagnosis is positive and so I am )…
    The way you describe those loses, amid a beautiful garden full of life is what I belive the essence of death: a subtle presence, hidden, waiting to strike, sometimes randomly. Latin american cultures are more connected with death (the Day of Muertos in Mexico is a good example). Also here in Argentina, many (poor) people pray to San La Muerte (Saint Death)… I think that we should make peace with death. Avoid denial and just embrace life as the most miraculous experience. That way, the garden remains green, always.
    Sending much love. Happy week to you, my friend. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Life is not fair and it can be cruel as well. Not something we like to dwell on in our seemingly normalized humdrum lives. It is hard for me to reconcile the issues you so powerfully and eloquently wrote about. The circle of life is often very hard to deal with, isn’t it? It is for me.

    I just finished watching “Escape from a Nazi Death Camp” on PBS just before reading your piece. No doubt, I will pay the price with nightmares but it seems to me if we can not recognize cruelty and inhumanity then we will not be incensed enough to stop it. Bravo for such a wonderful post!!!!

    Like

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