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Good Kings and Queens

Philip Hunt

Tales of the Hunts

 

As the cool air of evening pushes back the afternoon heat, a small group of White-tailed deer work their way down a field edge. They eat fallen acorns as an appetizer before making their way into the field to graze on clover. The sun sets and shadows cover the field.

Moments like these are what draws deer hunters afield each fall. It almost makes us feel like Kings and Queens in nature. Watching our kingdoms come to life in the early morning or late evening inspires us to learn and care for our kingdom.

When folks hear I hunt, a common response is, “How can you kill one? I like watching them and they are so pretty.”

For the anti-hunter, it surprises them to know that we have much in common. If the non/anti-hunter were sitting next to me as deer walked out into a field, our initial response is the same. Viewing Nature in the wild is a beautiful, even spiritual, experience.

The hunter’s thoughts soon turn to more minute details though. Where did the deer come from? Why did they come that way? Did they travel with the wind? How old are they? What are they eating? What are they not eating? Do they look healthy, nervous, or tired?

If deer ever look nervous, it’s because you would be nervous too if you were a deer. Hunters can pressure deer for a couple months a year during daylight hours. Coyotes, dogs and bears can hunt deer twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

A deer’s nose only needs one molecule of scent from a potential danger to alert the flight response. This is the main reason hunters are not successful every time they hunt. We stink.

A deer can learn all it needs to know about a field by traveling downwind. During the breeding season, males can act stupid. They will travel miles to find a female that’s ready to breed. You may just see females in the field, but if you were twenty yards inside the wood line on the downwind side of the field, you may see a parade of eligible bachelors. They cruise these areas looking for a sweetheart.

During breeding season, the bucks seem to lose their survival instincts, caring much less about stinky hunters and forgetting to look both ways before crossing the road. A key sign that the breeding season has started is an increased amount of vehicle collisions. I-26 usually has a deer carcass every mile around Halloween.

The knowledge that makes deer hunters successful, allows them to feed their family. Knowing how to manage environments for deer to flourish benefits deer and hunters.

My family loves to eat venison. Knowing the story of the food on the dinner table teaches us that we have an impact on nature. In Scripture, it says that we have been granted “dominion” over all the animals. We are to be kings and queens of Creation. While eating a venison burger at our table, our kids learn to be Good Kings and Queens. We are here to help nature flourish, and hunting gives us the opportunity to observe our Kingdom while we have our finger on the pulse of Creation.