Girl Out of Water - I Hate Bambi

| 11/18/2011 4:57:59 PM

Tags: hunting, farming, Maura White,

Once again it is the beginning of hunting season in my locale.

I am not morally opposed to hunting.  After all, my grandfather, father, and brothers all hunted.  My husband was rated an expert in the Marine Corps, and I'm not afraid of guns.  If the hunters actually eat what they have hunted, I don't really have a problem with the whole hunting thing.

But every year at this time of year, and then again in the springtime for spring turkey season, we deal with trespassers, poachers, and hunters that feel entitled to stomp around my farm.  Since we have crops that the deer believe are part of an exotic salad bar installed just for their dining pleasure, I was not opposed to having help keeping those cute long-legged rats out of our crops.  They can and did practically wipe out the 800 young strawberries we planted.  I think they especially loved the olive grove for the European flavors it introduced them to.  And they decimated our young vineyard in no time flat!  You could practically see their high-brow attitudes as they sauntered away from the upscale grazing those French wine grapes gave them.  I could almost feel them raising their noses and sniffing at me, as if to say, "We LOVE these grapes, but next time, please put more of the syrrahs in, as they are especially nice!"  I was incensed!  I started keeping my shotgun by the door in order to grab it and shoot toward them in my vineyard.  I was not aiming at the deer, but just in the general direction to scare them out of the vineyard.  Very quickly, though, they became immune to the noise I was making.  So I started aiming.  Not at them, but VERY close to them.  Close enough that dirt would spray up at them from the shots hitting the ground close in front of them.  That seemed to work for a while.  And then one day my husband watched me grab my shotgun and shoot pretty dang close to a deer, saw it jump and run.  He asked what I was going to do when I hit one of the deer one day.

Now you must realize that our county allows a three doe-a-day bag limit in deer season, so you can imagine how many deer we have out here.  Also, they allow farmers with crops to shoot deer that are ruining their crops.

Knowing these things, I said that if I accidentally shot one that I guess he would go and get it and we'd have it butchered.  "Not so fast," he said.  "Whoever shoots the deer has to clean the deer, that's the rule."  I have only seen pictures or read instructions on cleaning game in the field.  I have never felt the need to hunt and so was relieved that I would never have to field-dress game.  But this presented a dilemma:  what if I was either an incredibly good shot and got one or an incredibly bad shot and accidentally got one?  I would have to do that gross field dressing.  My solution was to let the dog out to chase the deer out of the field.

In years past we had allowed people to hunt on our farm for deer and turkey.   It invariably turned out badly, because they would stretch that permission for THEM to hunt as permission to bring half of their fraternity/corporation/subdivision with them, and then we would have a lot of strangers out there stomping around with guns.  We have had strangers pull up the driveway and ask if they can hunt, and when we answer no, they demand to know what WE are doing with all of this land!

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