After arrowing the biggest buck of my life, I tweeted one of the pictures at my school, Houghton College. I simply wrote,” Not all student success is limited to the classroom.”
A few days later, the school’s social media coordinator posted a picture of the buck and my tweet on the school’s Facebook page. It didn’t take long for an anti-hunter to make a comment. A lady I do not know but will call Mrs. B wrote this-
“Not a fan of this at all! Hope the buck had a painless death – doubt it though! Sad!”
As hunters we must understand we are all public relations agents for hunting and must know how to respond professionally. It is our duty in a world hostile towards us.
This was my response.
(Written in a very calm, caring, no anger in my voice.) Mrs. B, I understand your dislike and possible anger towards what I did. It is understandable and everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect yours and those of all non hunters although I clearly disagree.
Just to clear the air on a few things. Before I get going, the first thing I did when found him, I kneeled in the muddy tangled brush, removed my hat and prayed, giving thanks to God. I cried, not out of pride but out of thanks to God for giving me a chance at this deer. These intimate moments connect you with the real world. This deer expired very quickly, less than a minute. In fact because I was using a bow and arrow, his death was much faster than a bullet or how mother nature would have killed him. Ever see a deer die from Blue Tongue? A disease where the deer’s tongue swells up and they cannot drink thus killing them slowly from dehydration. How about having their leg tendons cut by a predator like a wolf, bear or coyote and having their gut ripped open and then is eaten alive. Mother nature is ugly, painful and brutal. A natural death like so many non hunters hope for is misunderstood. Just because the word natural is in the phrase does not mean it is quiet and painless no-far more pain far more anguish and stress on the animal. How about a car? Deer car accidents are brutal, I’ve seen far too many deer squirming around on the road after being smashed, not to mention it puts other people in danger.
My arrow took him fast and painless. Due to my razor sharp Montec broad-head, he had no idea what had hit him. In fact he continued on his causal business until he fell over. If you have ever cut yourself with a razor you will know a razor cut bleeds fast but is clean and painless. Same concept. Now another area I should touch on is about the “trophy”. Yes my buck is big, actually huge, they rarely grow that size here in NY because so many people take deer when they are small. People hate the word trophy because of the idea that people like me are only out after the antlers. Not the case. He weighed well over 200 pounds providing myself, family and friends with over 100 pounds of fresh venison, far healthier than the meals I get at the Houghton dining hall. A trophy is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of the size, every animal is a trophy to the person. If you want to think about trophy hunting one way, in the words of one of my good friends and mentors Archery legend Dennis Dunn, he writes in his book Barebow: An Archer’s Fair Chase Taking of North America’s 29 Big Game Species, trophy hunting is actually the purest form of hunting since we are not shooting the first animal we see. We are waiting for the oldest, wisest and smartest of the species.” I have let countless deer walk over the years in order to promote the well being of the herd by not shooting the future. There is also an incredible challenge in taking one of the oldest animals. These big bucks are smart, darn smart. I am pitting my mind as a human against the best of the species, this chess game is addicting. It is the ultimate way to stay in touch with our primal senses. I am connected to the pulse of life far more than anyone because I understand just how fragile life really is. This deer was on his way “down-hill”, he was over the hump so to speak. He was a perfect animal to take out of the herd for many reasons I do not have to me to explain.
Being undetected watching animals in their habitat is the ultimate rush. Hunting in general has kept me out of trouble and even led to opportunities for employment. This is not a sad event, it is a very happy event. To have won the ultimate chess match, to be able to provide lean meat for myself and to be able to help the deer herd as a whole. What more can a college student ask for? The head and antlers will be mounted on my wall not for pride but as a reminder of the time and effort I have put in chasing deer and love I have for these animals. Yes I said it, I LOVE ANIMALS. Myself and fellow hunters love and care more for animals and the lands than any self proclaimed animal lover. If you need proof, look at the amount of time effort and money spent on conservation. Life isn’t all sunshine rainbows and fairies. Bottom line, in death there is life. If Christ did not die for us, we would not have life or the chance at eternal life. That is a fact.
In the days following the incident my fellow students showed overwhelming support for what I’d written, even non hunters. I thank you all deeply.
Stay tuned, at the end of the week or early net week I will be revealing the big project I’ve been involved with over the last few months.