Stunned by hunting article


To the Editor:

I have been an animal lover and champion all of my life. I have not eaten nor worn them for over 40 years, and I loathe knowing or even imagining people are hurting or killing them. So when I saw the first page of the Community Section of January 30 M.V. Times — complete with camouflaged lettering — with disturbing pictures of dead animals and an “atta-girl” article by Nelson Sigelman praising young women and a girl of 13 for killing animals, I was stunned by the lack of sensitivity and distastefulness of the two-page spread.

This letter is not a platform for my anti-hunting sensibilities. I know I can “shoot holes” in all the arguments in favor of hunting:

•    Deer over population – the immuno-contraception method successfully used on other Islands to reduce herd populations;

•    Human hunger – having wonderful people and programs in place on this Island making sure no one goes hungry;

•    Damage and inconvenience – the many ways that exist to protect property from wildlife damage;

•  Ticks – the pet products and deer licks and dips that begin to cut down tick populations.

However, there is something revealed in Mr. Sigelman’s article that does frighten me, which makes me feel quite hopeless. So, this, I suppose, is a lament. To elevate the violence of killing as found in this article, through pictures and reporting that fathers, brothers, boyfriends and husbands encourage women to discover the “…fun and excitement of…hunting…” – this scares me.  We are all so desensitized to acts of violence in a world  where human beings are killing themselves and each other in schools, theaters, shopping centers etc., where  almost every channel on TV offers something of death, depravity, and despair, why would I want to see pictures of dead beings and read stories of their killing in my local paper?

Every day people put out poisons for the unwanted, set traps for the “pests” that plague their lives, and some gear up guns or bows (the bow in the article  is called a “Homewrecker” — with pink arrows) and climb trees or wait in hollows or follow footprints in the snow to kill some other being with no means of defense. Dying happens every day, but to be part the act of killing is a desensitization, a dispiritedness to worry about.

To read in this article that an experienced hunter advised one woman who shot and wounded a deer  — “Don’t go look for her, get off your tree, and go to work”  — hit me on a deep and despairing level.

Apropos of this, there is a deer decomposing  in  Chilmark — not the  one  wounded  by  the woman — someone else wounded her and never found her nor “harvested her (with) a sense of pride.” I found her early this hunting season, so excited was I that I had, I thought, come upon a sleeping deer lying beneath the viburnums by the pond near our family property… But no, she “sleeps” there still, awaiting the earth to reclaim her fully. Someone offered to help me move her to the dump, thinking I should remove the mess of her, the fact of her. I said ” no, thank you.”  The inconvenient rot of her over time is a testimony to this world’s lack of sensitivity, lack of spirit, as written by Mr. Sigelman, without him even seeming to realize it. I have mourned for her and her unknown story, as I grieve for the small deer washed up on Eastville Beach. I’ve passed the middle of my life, and I find I mourn for this world more every year.

Susan Jones

Vineyard Haven