Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, deer!

Today is a Big Day for many Michiganders.

Firearm season for deer hunting begins today and continues until the end of the month here in my state. Between 650,000 and 700,000 hunters are expected to abandon their spouses to join their buddies in the woods for the next two weeks, visions of dead Bambis dancing in their heads.

And thanks to pandering politicians and our powerful hunting lobby, some of these hunters will again be preteens. This is because Michigan’s cleverly-named “Hunter Heritage Act,” which took effect in September of 2011, made it legal for ten- and eleven-year-olds to hunt deer, bear and elk with firearms.

Call me silly but I just prefer if the people walking around with loaded guns are at least old enough to have pubic hair if not driver’s licenses.

Courtesy Kalamazoo Gazette
If you listen closely, you’ll probably be able to hear the beeps and whir of ATM machines as well as gunshots. This is because deer hunters spend an average of $800 each, making deer hunting a $500 million dollar industry here in the Great Lake State.

This year officials are concerned about an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD); the state Department of Natural Resources has received reports of 13,200 dead deer from the disease. (The actual number is probably much larger, according to an agency staffer.) The disease – which has been around since 2006 and has been reported in 30 counties, mainly in the southern Lower Peninsula – causes deer to suffer from high fevers and head toward water to seek relief, where they’re often found dead. Some hunters have reportedly decided to stay home this year because of EHD.

I ran across an interesting paragraph lifted from Bridge Magazine:

Fewer hunters mean less money for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to manage wildlife; less money to maintain forests, marshes and other areas where birds and mammals reside; less money for conservation officers who keep poachers in check; and less money for small businesses that count hunters among their best customers.

I’m sorry but there’s something wrong when government depends on the slaughter of animals in order to function. I realize overpopulation is an issue – there were over 61,000 reported deer-vehicle collisions in Michigan in 2008 – and I admit I’m a walking contradiction since I still eat meat (although I detest venison) but you’ll never find me taking my kids or anyone else out to shoot wild animals for sport and haul their bloody carcasses back to wherever hunters take the corpses of their kills to be photographed and processed.

My post last March about trophy hunting (“Ask the Animal if it’s a Game”), which received over 2,000 hits and generated more than a few comments (not all of them nice), included the following tribute to Anita’s psychotic ex-husband:

My partner’s ex-husband is a boastful hunter who felt it necessary to display the detached heads of dead animals in their living room against Anita’s wishes; the first thing I did after Anita and I began dating was to remove these despicable monuments to his warped sense of décor – this was the home of four young, animal-loving children in suburban Lansing, after all, not a testosterone-filled hunting lodge in the Wild, Wild West – and relegate them to Anita’s garage where they remained until he reclaimed them.

I post this paragraph again because I bet he’s among those who took the day off to drink alcohol and tote a rifle in some field or meadow this morning, hoping for the opportunity to send a bullet or two into the heart of a member of the family Cervidae and gaining another head for his grotesque gallery.

I wonder if humans can contract epizootic hemorrhagic disease.

P.S. I read yesterday that Yellow, a 20-year-old black bear that became famous because she could open supposedly bear-proof locked food canisters used by backpackers, was shot and killed on October 21 in the eastern Adirondacks by some piece-of-sh*t hunter. She had never threatened humans and would run away when confronted.

Sources:,,, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, New York Times.

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