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Q&A: Hunters & Killing > Page 1, 2, 3

From James:
"How can you say that in hunting deer the deer had a chance?"

My response:
In hunting, there are two sides: predator and prey. Predators are adapted for their role, with their eyes both facing forward, which provides the depth perception necessary to gauge distance to, say, a target animal. We humans possess that trait. Prey species are also specialized to their role; their eyes are typically on the sides of their heads, giving them a very wide field of vision, such as 300 degrees in the case of a turkey.

They are very adept at spotting movement, but have a tough time with depth perception. They don't really care how close something is; if it moves, it's often perceived as a threat. All free-ranging, wild deer have many chances to escape us, and most of them do so each year! Regardless of the tool used, a hunter must defeat a deer's excellent natural defenses, most notably his sense of smell and very skittish nature. This is much more easily said than done.

Consider, though, the plight of cattle. Born to die, they spend their lives growing fat in order to feed us humans. They suffer through all kinds of various hormone and drug injections, until their time has come and they're pushed into the chute and killed. They don't have a chance.

Author's note: I do love my steaks & burgers, though!

From James:
"Did the deer have a gun and or the intent to kill you? People who think like that should be made to hunt one another.... I would like to see all hunters be put in the woods and be made to hunt each other."

My response:
You're scaring me, James. Where is this hatred coming from? We hunters don't hate animals, you know, and we don't hate vegeterians, either. We have a genuine love for our quarry, though that may be hard for a non-hunter to understand. Please visit Hunt4Life's Conservation Facts Page for info on what hunters do for the conservation and welfare of wildlife across the USA.

From "J":
Hi, I would just like to say that your article had some very valid points. Although I don't hunt (which I've tried in the past), my father was a hunter, as is my uncle and some close friends of mine. There was a point that I think you should have also mentioned in your article. Another reason that people hunt, although not as common, is that without hunters, the animals may end up suffering due to starvation. 

I believe that is another valid point to be made... especially when there are the complaints about hunting being cruel.  Life is precious but hunting is by far the lesser evil compared to letting an animal suffer from starvation.

My response:
I agree with you; that would have been a valid point indeed.

I probably should have mentioned it... just as I should've made the point that we hunters account for much less deer mortality than do autos, old age or anything else. We're basically at the bottom of the list when it comes to 'deer death causes.'

Author's note: "Bambi" was not a documentary!

From (another) James:
Just imagine yourself minding your own business, climbing along a rocky ridge with your mate enjoying Gods great earth with the mother of your offspring and suddenly there is a load[sic] noise and the mate is rolling down the mountain lifeless, or just bloody and fatally wounded and she struggles to lift her head and make a plaintive cry for help as the life ebbs from her body. The stag or the buck or bird or (whatever unarmed animal), is frightened and leads the remainder of his family to safety, but not before another loud sound and yet another and then he finds himself loosing[sic] his footing for some odd reason, and the lights of the warm sun are growing dim and cold as he valiantly fights to stay upright, but his body has grown so heavy that he no longer can stand. He sinks to his knees and looks up into the frightened eyes of his child as he urges him to flee to safety and then there is no more sun and it is dark.

My Response:
Would you rather imagine those animals wasting away to nothing as they slowly starved to death? Or perhaps death by auto collision (which causes more deer fatalities annually than hunting does). That way, a human would suffer as well as the animal. Personally, I prefer to swiftly kill creatures in legal, ethical hunting situations, which are entirely unlike the Bambi-esque picture you've painted.

There are some mistakes in this "Just imagine yourself..." scenario.

The first one is attributing human characteristics to animals.

Most wild animals, deer included, do not mate for life, or even for a year. In fact, the time they spend together is usually very brief and doesn't last much longer than it takes for them to copulate. A buck will mate with as many does as he can during the rut (as their mating season is called).

Hunters do not shoot does, as a general rule. There are times when they will, if it is legal. At those times you certainly will not find a hunter shooting a doe and a buck at the same time.

The following, "The stag or the buck or bird or (whatever unarmed animal), is frightened and leads the remainder of his family to safety..." is misleading, inasmuch as it implies that wild animals form family units equitable to our own. As you and I both know, this is not true.

The same is true of "He sinks to his knees and looks up into the frightened eyes of his child as he urges him to flee to safety..."

Author's note: There are many more deer and turkey in the US now than existed in 1900, largely due to the efforts and contributions of hunters!

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