outdoors: Doe bow hunt: Hunters often deliver a kinder death than nature does
The date was Oct. 3, 2012 and I headed out to my favorite bow hunting location for an afternoon hunt. I quietly put on my hunting clothes, grabbed my bow and arrow and climbed into my tree stand.
I put on my safety harness and used my lanyard to carry up my bow and arrow. I settled in and began to relax as the sounds of nature filled the air. The weather was a balmy and the sun was shining, a gorgeous day all around.
I’ve been a bow hunter now for 18 years, and I’ve never lost the excitement of getting out in the woods and hope I never do.
There wasn’t any wind to speak of which is a problem for most hunters. Whatever slight breeze does come around has a tendency to swirl since there isn’t a defined wind direction making it more likely for a hunter to be scent detected.
I had been in my hunting location for an hour or so when I saw a mature doe come into view. I made the decision to shoot a doe even before showing up that day because my freezer was empty of venison.
I turned on my video camera and began to roll tape. I slowly grabbed my bow and waited for a broadside shot to present itself. A smart and ethical hunter, and there are many of us out there, will always wait for such a shot.
I quietly pulled my bowstring back, picked a spot and let the arrow fly. The placement of the shot was perfect as the doe fell over dead in seven seconds, as witnessed later on video (reader discretion is advised - the link contains a brief non-graphic clip of a doe being shot). As always, I sit in my stand after the hunt and think about two things. First, I’m thankful that the deer died quickly. Secondly, I’m thankful for the meat that will be used to feed our family.
Sadly, I’m used to getting picked on by those who think I’m ruthless for killing an innocent animal. I think there’s some truth to that quite honestly; that deer did absolutely nothing to me, and yet I killed it anyway.
At the end of the day I look at any deer I’ve killed as a food source; it’s as simple as that. I look at deer the same way most meat-eating people look at cows, pigs and chickens. Sure, they’re nice and cute but at the end of the day we’re going to eat them, so who are we really kidding?
Fred Bear was the most famous archer and bow hunter of all time. He said, “The death I bestow upon an animal is far kinder than what nature had intended for it.” It’s easy to ignore or dismiss that quote but is he correct? I think he is, without a doubt.
Right now, we’re suffering the effects of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in Michigan including Washtenaw and surrounding counties. Thousands upon thousands of deer are dead from this disease that is extremely contagious and 100 percent fatal upon signs of the disease.
Deer are infected through the bites of tiny flies infected with the disease. Most importantly, deer infected will hemorrhage (or bleed) throughout their body-both inside and out. They get severe fevers, bloody discharges, ulcers and swell in the face, tongue, neck and eyelids.
The infected deer have a 100 percent mortality rate and take about seven days to slowly and painfully die a miserable death. Most, if not all of the infected deer die in or near water sources in an effort to cool themselves down. Of course, this brings up another problem of contaminating our water sources. Fortunately, the first few frosts we get will kill off the flies that infect the deer.
So, I think it’s important for people to honestly ask themselves a simple question: Was Fred Bear correct in saying a hunter kills an animal more humanly than nature planned for it? I can only speak for myself in answering this question, and my answer is, “Yes.”