Stunned by hunting article

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


  1. Its ok to write an anti-hunting letter. Apparently its not ok to write an anti-deer response. The blessed things still eat my garden and fruit trees. They are pests!

  2. You surely must realize that “not having eaten nor worn animals in over 40 years” places in you in an extreme minority of our population. Human beings hunting is more natural than human beings not hunting. We have hunted animals longer than we have grown crops. Personal feelings aside, hunting has always been and continues to be a part of our community on Martha’s Vineyard. Seeing as the article was in the Community Section of our community paper, I feel that it was appropriate and sensitive to the pulse of the island.

  3. I applaud Susan Jones.I don’t want to see pictures,or read articles that belong in a hunting magazine.There is already too much violence and sadness in the world.

  4. this was wrong to write about this. What a shame. This should not be glorified. I know many others who feel the same way. Hunting is NOT cool. Peace is the way. Have a nice life shooting innocent creatures. If you like the being in the woods try meditation or hiking or biking as opposed to murdering. If you really want meat that much go buy some organic meat at the store with the $ you would have spent on guns and ammo. I don’t care about any rebuttals,….because I’m 100% RIGHT.

    1. This guy is an advertisement for why we should not have pot on the island. Hunting is murdering now? Meat is good as long as its organic? I have vegetables and other plants who are crying and protesting that their rights are being denied when they are planted picked and eaten. The violence to the carrots and peas is stunning. Veggies are innocent, animals are innocent and we should all live in peace and starve to death. With no population all our parks and lands would be pristine and unharmed by people who are a huge problem. Oh Cooper Moon above where does all the violence and sadness come from?

    2. Meat is not murder, we tried getting the meat off the cows, but, they kept dying. Meat is involuntary manslaughter at most.

  5. Good for you. But, does it dawn on you that other people think of animals as food? Those people are allowed to go out there and harvest said food. It’s the Circle of Life. I have a newsflash for you, NOBODY HAS TO LIVE THEIR LIFE AND MAKE THE SAME CHOICES YOU DO, DEAL WITH IT. You don’t like hunting? Then don’t go. If an article on hunting is going to tick you off, hey, try not reading it.

    While we’re on the subject of food choices. I would like to remind people to keep their piehole shut. Did I miss a memo? When did it become socially acceptable to comment on other people’s food? Why the Hell did I get whined at for putting cream in my coffee recently by another customer? I don’t care you’re lactose intolerant and my coffee would make you gassy and bloated, I’m just trying to make my coffee the same way I’ve made my coffee every single morning I’ve had coffee. Plus, you’re babbling at me before I’ve had my coffee, that’s just not smart.

    Thanks, from the Alliance of People Without Food Allergies and Sensitivities

    1. Steve, I have a right to never be offended. I am entitled to that right. It is the latest entitlement I want given to me. I already get many others.

  6. The Times does have a double standard when it comes to how they treat animals. It is fine to show graphic pictures of a dead animal yet,when I made a comment some time ago about putting your own pet down without a vet my comment was removed. So, causing an animal that just happens to be wild needless suffering is fine. Talk of putting a pet down in an “improper” manner is verboten.Just part of their outdated views on certain subjects.

  7. I enjoyed your comments, Ms. Jones. It is good to reflect on the impact of our choices, and also to remember that life presents various points of view which deserve our consideration although we may ultimately disagree. As such, I offer another point of view that you may not yet have contemplated (as you mention no redeeming considerations for hunting, and cite only weak arguments in its favor which admittedly fall by the wayside in a perfect world).

    Given the nature of the criticism commonly leveled against hunting, it is ironic that the irrefutable argument in its support would be founded in environmental health and animal welfare, and yet, so it is. As with all choices, the merit of the anti-hunting position depends also on the alternatives. For the acquisition of food, the only alternative to hunting, fishing and gathering is agriculture, and agriculture, environmentally speaking, does not compare favorably. Consider the millions of acres of forest, grassland and wetland converted to beets, barley, and beans—vast mono-cultures capable of serving no species but man. Consider also the millions of tons of pesticides released annually into our air, water and soil specifically to ensure the exclusion of wildlife from such places; and the billions of gallons of fresh water diverted from sensitive aquatic systems for agricultural purpose, with the result that the world’s estuaries have become stagnant pools of waste and the oceans devoid of those marine species dependent upon them. Meanwhile, amphibian populations remain in precipitous decline across the globe…

    The scientific community now recognizes agriculture as the greatest cause of extinction, world-wide, and also the single greatest cause of greenhouse gas emission. Whereas agriculture leaves habitat in ruin, destroying every individual, of every major species, well-regulated hunting has little or no impact on animal populations and habitat. The removal of one animal frees resources that ensure the survival of another that would otherwise perish for lack of food or cover. With hunting, habitat remains intact, providing the conditions necessary for the continued plant and animal life. A simple comparison of the biodiversity found in hunted, wild lands with that found in any agricultural setting clearly illustrates the relative environmental costs of each. Without exception, those species threatened with extinction are being squeezed out of their habitat by development, not the sort of well-regulated hunting that we have here in the U.S.

    To criticize hunting as barbaric is to deny the annihilation of entire populations by the crush of the plow, not to mention the death by starvation that invariably befalls those individuals “fortunate” enough to have survived the initial onslaught. Perhaps the supermarket shopper imagines that those displaced creatures simply “move in” with their neighbors on surrounding wild lands (if any such exists), but we know that this is not the case.

    Hunting is, in effect, the ultimate form of organic farming where the species raised are those best suited to existing natural habitat without interference by man. An exploded human population prohibits us all from “living off the land” but, to the extent that we can, we should try. Those who do not benefit directly from nutritious, chemical-free meals taken from the wild may at least take comfort that, somewhere, a patch of native soil has been spared, thanks to the resources that nature provides in a sustainable manner to those who hunt.

    1. Are you people kidding me?!!! the times choses to show pics of shellfish in a pot, suffering, being boiled alive, fish dieing on the beach, or sharks hanging on hooks dead, with hundreds on people, and kids running to gawk and take pics!! how many pairs of leather shoes do you have? talk about innocent creatures!!!! a cow can’t even jump a fence!! and lambs, and chickens, eggs? talk about murder?. go hug a tree, or better yet,” don’t read the times, hippies.

      1. You didn’t read my post, did you. I am suggesting that hunting is the preferred manner of acquiring food. In comparison to agriculture, the environmental impact is less.

          1. I did read your long winded post. I just don’t care to argue with you anymore.. so I bow out of this.

          2. You read it, and still reached the conclusion that I was speaking critically of hunting? Then perhaps you would be well-advised to tone down your criticism on cites such as this until your reading comprehension improves. Go ahead now, blame it on me, again…

          3. I wasn’t on your case. but will be if you want some!!!!! I was comenting on every one agenst hunting. but you took it as a dig on you.sorry you need this in your life. I don’t. so aim at someone other than me!! if you want to meet, I am game!

          4. You call me a “hippie,” but were “not my case”? As for “wanting some”, grow up.