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Monday, November 29, 2010


Today is the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania, a day cherished by traditionalists and bemoaned by animal rights activists.  Where do I fit in the this spectrum?   

It's a dirty business.

Killing is a dirty business.  I don't care what you kill.  An enemy soldier, a fish, a white-tail's all dirty stuff.  I can't get myself to do it.  Now I have stepped on a bug, ran over a pigeon (it sounds like you are running over a plastic bag by the way), and probably inadvertently hit a squirrel every now and then.  All well and good, but I try not to kill things intentionally.  I just don't think I have the right to destroy something that's alive.


Noted that I eat meat, therefore I benefit from the killing of creatures.  Some are rather tasty to boot.  However I  would swear off beef forever if I had to actually kill the cow myself.  Same for chicken.  Fortunately I try not to eat much pork.  I know this is something of a contraction, but note above that while I think killing is a "dirty business", I don't call it an "unnecessary business".  There's a big difference.

Necessary Evil.

Personally I think modern hunting falls into the "necessary evil" department.  Deer herds that are not culled through hunting grow so large that individual animal starve, are more likely to get hit by cars (or literally exploded by trucks), or suffer painful deaths via transmitted disease.  So it is necessary, but it is a necessity we created as a society.  By destroying natural predators we have to fill the top-o-food-chain role ourselves.


Let's not fall into the trap of calling hunting a sport though.  Why?  Well let's examine the combatants in this "sport":

The Deer - Has a brain that weighs about 0.23 kg.  Has some well developed senses, but basically relies on luck...and inept survive.  Is armed with, well, nothing.

The Hunter - Has the most highly advanced brain (weighing in at about 1.4 kg) to ever to evolve on planet Earth.  Except when intoxicated.  Often times comes with advanced technology, such as GPS to navigate the environment.  Is armed with a high-powered weapon that shoots a metallic projectile at many times the speed of sound over a great distance.

Sure, shooting the gun requires some skill, but the deer basically doesn't stand a chance against an even average shot.  In fact, when you boil it all down to the basic stuff, a deer's only real defense is luck.  

A dirty, necessary business indeed. 

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