hunting vs farming
I am raising 103 little girl ducklings on a friend’s farm, about 5 minutes from my place. My current farm scenario of less than two acres, with only a couple small buildings, means I have to get creative about raising fragile little ducklings when it is so freezing cold out. I go there and care for them every day, and my friends also do alot of the care- in exchange I will be helping them with farm-sitting for a few weekends next summer so they can leave for once! They have beef cattle and chickens.
This morning at their farm, I heard dogs barking off in the distance the whole time I was there. Not too odd out in the country, but something was definitely going on. I didn’t really think of it, but as I was leaving that farm, I noticed a black blur in the wooded area across the road, and then another black blur that looked like a black lab- they were obviously the dogs I’d heard barking. They were leaping about in the scrub and weeds, and in my gut I knew I was about to see what I didn’t want to. Other than the flash of red that caught my eye, I wouldn’t have seen what the dogs were leaping at. A tiny little female deer, who had been shot in the neck, but not fatally. Do you get shivers to read that? Imagine seeing it. She looked at me from across the road, and then turned and ran away into the deeper woods, the dogs taking passes at her side. The doe had blood all over her rear end, and with the classic white tail standing straight up, flopping back and forth; an eerily cheerful departure.
My heart hurt. There is nothing I can do in this situation. This doe is destined to die a very scared and slow death, all because a hunter did not get a clean shot, and didn’t track her to make sure she didn’t suffer longer than necessary. I couldn’t help but transport myself to the day last week we shot Edith in the front yard, and harvested her meat. Her death was unexpected by her, there was no fear or build up or prolonging of misery. She was shot, and dead in one second. The reason this came so strongly to mind is that hunting has been a big topic lately, with friends getting venison summer sausage from friends. I haven’t decided how I feel about hunting, and whether or not I’d engage as a hunter. Is what I’m doing on my farm equal to hunting, superior, or inferior? And I also don’t know if I wanted to eat hunted meat. There is just something about it I don’t quite like. Why this is different then taking an animal I raised to her death, I don’t know. We all have to make our own minds up on what is right for ourselves.
I’m not going to say I am anti-hunting, but in the country, there is sometimes a callousness about it. Of course poor shots can happen, but to see this today was startling. I know many conscientious hunters. Harvesting deer is important to keep the population in check, and they provide a gift of food for many families. I just don’t like to see misery.