Heartless Hunting: Maiming Then Killing Deer With No Remorse

The writer claims "I hate to kill" but nonetheless does it unethically

Posted Dec 26, 2011

A recent essay in the New York Times about killing deer made me ill. I admit I'm against hunting, especially by people who don't need the food, but this essay is the one of the most lame, if not the most lame, attempts to justify killng animals that I've read in a long while.

Seamus McGraw begins, "She took me by surprise. Though I had been stalking her through the dense undergrowth for about 40 minutes, I had lost sight of her as the afternoon light began to fade. It was getting late and I was about ready to call it a day when, just as I hit the crest of a shadowy depression in the mountainside, I caught a glimpse of her, a beautiful doe, the matriarch of a small clan that foraged behind her. She saw me, too."

McGraw goes on to tell us, using poorly placed romantic prose and a lame atempt to justify hunting by appealing to his and others' responsbility to restore "the delicate environmental balance of this wounded but recovering part of the country [Bushkill, Pennsylvania]", that he goes ahead and shoots the deer. He writes, remaining heartless and sickeningly dismissive of what the deer must have been feeling, "The hammer fell, the powder in the frizzen flashed, startling me even though I was prepared for it, and a heartbeat later, the whole world exploded with the thunder of 90 grains of black powder erupting in fire and blinding acrid smoke from the barrel of my gun, sending a lead minié ball rocketing toward the doe at a lethal 1,400 feet per second. In the smoke and the confusion I couldn't tell if I had hit her. And then I saw that I had."

He had hit her indeed, but but the deer wasn't killed, so now he would have "to finish the job." McGraw tells us without a blink that he "followed the blood trail a few yards and found her. She was still alive. I could see her breath. It was ragged. She looked at me. I loaded my gun, charged the frizzen, and pulled the trigger. There was a flash in the pan - that is where the expression comes from - and then nothing. I tried again. Still nothing."

I imagine if McGraw had taken the time to really look this deer in the eye he would have seem incredible fear and likely a lot of pain and suffering. Perhaps the deer was wondering what did I do to deserve this?" Yes, Mr. McGraw, there was nothing, and nothing going on in your heart. You killed a healthy female deer but first caused incredible and enduring pain and there was nothing that tells us that you cared one bit about what you had done. 

Oh, but "I hate to kill"

If you can bear it, McGraw then writes:"I hate to kill. But if I'm going to profit by death, and to some degree we all do - even those who find the very act of eating flesh to be offensive still benefit from the restorative act of responsible hunting in the nation's wild places - then I believe I also have an obligation to do it in the most honest way possible ... It's a debt I owe the place I've chosen to live. And it's why, if you're looking for me on the day after Christmas, you'll find me in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania with a flintlock rifle in my hand, and a few gnawing regrets in my heart." 

At least Mr. McGraw doesn't claim he loves deer and then goes out and maims and kills them as others do. I always say I'm glad those folks don't love me. 

"A few gnawing regrets", McGraw heartlessly writes. I'm sure other hunters will read this essay and while some will applaud Mr. McGraw for being an environmentalist and helping to restore an ecosystem, many others will be really upset because he's clearly a poor shot, arrogant and pompous, and clearly an irresponsible and unethical hunter. Shame on Seamus. 

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