Further to our tribute to Walking With the Alligators blog and link to Gator Woman’s post, “Dear Deer,” we have to chime in and share why hunting is one of me and my pups’ biggest pet peeves. It’s one teeny tiny reason we don’t like hunting; there’s lots of bigger, more important reasons we hate it and always have, like the fact that people with guns and bows and arrows murder defenceless animals. But we’re not here to debate the pros and cons of hunting — clearly it’s just plain wrong and that’s all there is to it — not open to discussion here. Other venues are devoted to the argument for anyone who wants to vent either way. Our rant will surely weed out proponents of the “sport.”
While beautiful animals are dying and suffering, it’s truly selfish of us to care about being inconvenienced on our own property, but here in Ontario, Canada we are enduring the same vile deer-hunting season. Me and my three dogs enjoy our country property — they adore the fresh air and all the lovely scents sprinkled about its park-like setting. I revel in seeing them happy, running carefree through the dogwood brush, chasing each other and playing hide ‘n seek in the birch stands — for them everyday is Christmas. Unfortunately, our precious walk has morphed into a one at a time affair, them languishing at the end of a 30 foot flex leash, sad-eyed and grumpy they can’t run wild ‘n crazy these days.
Our property backs on to 40 acres of dense forest where hunters hunker down every year for the past 16 we’ve lived here, hiding their heartless selves behind trees to slaughter the first deer who walks by. For fear their shots will go askew, we avoid this particular area of fence line during hunting season. Two of my dogs run like the wind and arrive at the back before me, putting them at great risk of being mistaken for deer, especially big Chip with a white spot on the tip of his tail. I’m at risk back there as well — with these kinds of characters lurking in the forest you never do know. So, to prevent us becoming victims of their misguided target practice, we make adjustments in our routine.
After walking around in circles covering five acres, except for the 342 feet across the north end of the property, I take my first dog, Chip, a smooth-coated collie, back inside and hook on Daisy Mae my Plott and off we go again, her nose stuck to the ground like glue. I hold on real tight to this girl — most hunters would give up their beer to have a Plott hound, known for their fearless demeanor and ability to tree bears. Of course, like my other dogs, she’s a rescue and I hope she’s never been on a hunting trip, God forbid. Our walk is slow and focused ’cause Daisy needs to investigate every nook and cranny along our route just like she does every day. I drop her back at the house and pick up Scamper, my Australian cattle dog. Made of soft velcro, but tough as nails, she doesn’t need a collar or lead. Aptly named, she scampers along beside me, happy as a clam, adapting to whatever comes her way as long as she’s with her mom. I have to admit I need the exercise as much as the dogs, but we don’t like these ‘adjustments’ and we all hate those hunters, and treasure the beautiful deer who sometimes venture down closer to our house to give us a peek at their magnificence. We pray the “dear deer” in our own backyard make it out alive this year. Being a wild animal is sometimes hell on earth it seems.