Ashley stopped by Dawn Hoffman’s a few weeks ago to deliver a book she’d had on hold. While there, she was fortunate enough to see a young doe nibbling at some of Dawn’s flowers and taking a drink out of the stream that runs across the property. The little doe had been coming around more and more often lately to feet on the flowers, and Dawn was wondering how she could keep it away from her garden.
Yesterday Ashley spoke to Dawn again. She mentioned that the doe still comes around, but now looks to be nothing but skin and bones. The doe is starving, Dawn surmised, because her neighbor, a farmer, obtained a special nuisance license from the State of Maryland and has been shooting any deer he sees on his land. As a result the little doe, still a fawn from the way Ashley describes it, is motherless and forced to fend for itself. Dawn said she’s been letting it munch on her flowers, since they appear to be the poor thing’s only regular source of food. She’s looking into ways of feeding it without making it too tame, and therefore even more likely to die at the end of a farmer’s gun.
The very worst part is that Dawn says that when the wind blows right, she’s hit by the stench of the deer her neighbor has killed. He’s shooting them and letting them lay, not even bothering to have them butchered and use the meat for something. He is a perpetrator of senseless, wasteful killing.
My father was a hunter, and when I was little he tried to instill in me the values of a good, conscientious sportsman. A few years ago he and I drove past a man who was practicing with his compound bow in his front yard, shooting arrows at a foam mock-up of a deer. Dad snorted disapprovingly. “Fuckin’ meat-hog,” he said, implying that the guy was only into bow hunting because it allowed him to kill a few more deer a year than if he only hunted rifle season. I understand why Dad frowned on what he thought the guy was doing, but now I can’t help but think, at least a meat-hog eats the meat.
Vegetarians will argue that no animal deserves to die so that a human can eat. Besides, millions of animals die in the wild every day and are not picked up by humans for food; rather, they, like the dear killed by Dawn’s neighbor, become food for microbes and insects and other scavengers. But those animals are killed by other animals, in the natural and brutal course of their lives, and they are never killed and simply left to rot. If a wolf or a mountain lion or some other predator kills a deer, it does so out of instinct — for food, for the survival of itself and its offspring. If humans are going to arbitrarily kill animals, the least they can do is eat them, or put them to some other useful purpose. Otherwise it’s a senseless, wasteful act of slaughter.
It’s because of a senseless, wasteful act of slaughter that a little doe is without her mother and starving to death. It’s a scene we consider tragic because of our human emotions and sympathies, but it plays itself out over and over again in the wild. Except this time it wasn’t a predator killing to survive, it was a farmer too stupid to figure another way to keep deer out of his crop, trying to save himself a little bit of fucking corn. He got himself a permit to cover his ass, but it only allows him to shoot five deer. Dawn estimates he’s already far exceeded that limit. If ever there was a time for this state’s Natural Resources Police to get off their asses and do their jobs, it’s now.
UPDATE (6:09 pm): Ashley informs me that I don't sound as pissed about this as I did when we discussed it last night, and that the article comes off more like the work of a wimpy bleeding-heart liberal. Reading over what I wrote earlier, I find her to be correct, and therefore add the following:
This farmer deserves to have his fucking kneecaps shot off. I'd like to kill his no-good fucking ass and leave his carcass to rot in the woods for the maggots and the worms to have, except I don't think the maggots and the worms would want him, the slimy cocksucker. I'm calmer about the whole situation now, but last night when I was still pretty hot about it I was thinking that maybe the only way to answer his kind of senseless cruelty was with some more senseless cruelty. The little doe is starving because of him, so maybe I should hang him upside down over a drain and gut the motherfucker alive from nose to nuts, let him bleed out for awhile, then cut him up into little pieces and feed him to the fawn whose mother he killed. I'd do it if I thought she wouldn't turn her nose up at his nasty sub-human piece-of-shit fucking ass. He should only get murderered.
Maybe all he did was shoot some deer, maybe it's an overreaction, but fuck that — you ask me, there's no Hell deep enough for the son of a bitch.