Part of the process of becoming a hunter is understanding some of the stranger aspects of things kids have questions about and adults take for granted.
We graybeards often forget what it was like to be seven or eight years old back during those first hunts and trips to camp. My father was a butcher in our grocery store so I was accustomed to meat and blood. Didn’t bother me a bit. But I remember the first time I saw a deer cut open, warm aromatic guts spilling out, and the amount of blood and other interesting stuff inside, it was cool and gross and mesmerizing.
So it’s important for adults, or at least I think so, to expect and answer as best as possible the questions from young hunters. What is that stuff? Why do we kill deer? What happens to the deer after we shoot it? Can we make a coat out of the fur? I want to keep a hoof. Why are their eyes and ears so big? Please can we cut open the stomach? (This last one, I think you should agree to it one time. Because that one time will be all it takes for them to not do it or ask about it again.)
Jonathan Thoburn recently emailed us about an unusual deer his 7-year-old son, Paul, killed while bowhunting on their property in Fairfax, Virginia. This was during their early urban archery season. The lad, as you can tell in the photos, was geeked with his first deer and to become a hunter.
And then his father had some serious questions to answer and explain. Here’s what Thoburn included in his email: “Proud moment but sad as well as I had to explain the radio collar and tagged ears of the doe. Even he, at a tender age, can’t make sense of a government wanting to take the natural production out of our wildlife resources by neutering them.”
Thoburn started digging to find out what kind of informative answers to have for his son’s questions. He found out this Fairfax neutering program has been going on for a few years. The city is using public money to sterilize deer and release them back into the community. This is being done by White Buffalo, a company that also provides sharpshooter deer culling along with other services for hire.
The Fairfax sterilization project is the first for White Buffalo, which clearly hopes to capitalize on the animal “rights” movement and cities that don’t want to kill deer or believe they cannot due to population concerns.
Thoburn said his son’s deer was one of the project whitetails. As you can see in the photos, the deer had ear tags with identifying numbers, a tag warning to call prior to consumption of the meat, and radio tracking collars.
“I researched this extensively and confirmed with the City counsel and the head of the organization doing this that the doe he shot was indeed one of the ones they neutered,” he said.
Thoburn also isn’t surprised this is being done.
“I think they deliberately picked an area that’s pretty liberal … and it’s an easy place to start,” he said. “I don’t see it as a humane way, anyway. Darting an animal, capturing it, surgery, waking up to humans, being released, and it’s still eating and causing problems.”
These conflicts between humans and deer are not new. We here at DDH regularly see stories about city officials throughout the country considering Urban Archery programs, spending scads of time and money arguing about it, battling lawsuits from the do-good animal “rights” people and so on. The problems happen in cities big and small, in state parks, in public areas, and it won’t end.
New York officials have had this problem on Staten Island. They’re attempting an idiotic vascetomy program that, again, will not end the problem of deer being nuisances around homes and businesses or getting hit by vehicles.
Thoburn tried to explain what the project goals were to his son, along with answering questions. But the entire process left him with a bad taste in his mouth.
“My son got this deer, which shows it’s ineffective,” he said. “We shot this thing 10 miles away over two major highways, toll roads with 10 lanes, and about 10-11 miles from their drop point. They’re not containing their deer. This deer made it all the way across all that to our property.
“I was so excited for son’s first hunt. He goes to the creek to collect crawdads, plant tomatoes and enjoy being outdoors. He’s involved in a big event with a renewable resource such as deer hunting and I have to take the time to explain these collars and tags to him.”
Thoburn believes bowhunting would be effective, of course, but believes that option is off the table now that the animal “rights” folks have seemingly claimed this battle.
“If you start drugging and neutering, you’re not going back. It’s just how it is,” he said. “They have donors, taxpayer money, that group of people behind them. The other thing was the tag that said to call before consuming any of the meat. They said if (the deer) was killed within 45 days of the darting then you could get the drugs in your body.”
Now, he added, the city spent money to have all this done on these deer — including his son’s — and urban archery hunters are going to kill some of them. To Thoburn that seems like a waste of time and money when bowhunters could have handled things to begin with.