Jeff Ell says we should kill excess deer, but also we should stop sanitizing our words when talking about it. It is killing --in all its harsh reality. He dislikes the supermarket meat department shrinkwrap, foam trays, and stainless steel surfaces which hide the reality of cleavers, meathooks, and blood-boots.
The sporting-goods industry's marketing effort to get the phrase "harvesting" deer into use irks him particularly --as if hunters were picking apples. Jeff says, "the problem with using the word harvesting is that it euphemizes a gruesome, and not always humane way to take the life of a large vegetarian mammal."
Jeff says, "there are more deer in North America today than at any other time in history," and he says deer-overpopulation leads to disease-spread, to destruction of songbird habitat-vegetation, and to hundreds of deadly deer-car collisions. Maybe hunted food is more civilized than meat department food, "because a gutted deer lashed to the trunk of a car is not nearly as revolting as the sight of feed pen cattle standing shoulder to shoulder up to their hocks in liquid manure; or poultry farms where birds are stuffed into wire tombs." Tidy supermarket packages and phrases like harvesting deer "further disconnect our increasingly urban society with the food we put in our mouths."
Jeff is a minister, writer, and hunter who lives in Roanoke.
Jeff sent some photos which are not at all shrinkwrap-tidy (photos, in fact, which show a deer carcass being skinned). Some would consider the images just "reality" while others would consider them graphic. Lest a squeamish reader blunder upon them accidentally, we're putting them on this deer-skinning images page.
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It is crrraaazzzyyy (in a good way) how popular online this 4-minute essay has become. It was a blip of broadcast airtime (BTW, do actually listen to it above if able --interesting stuff) but in terms of web-visits it is outpacing the number of visits our 2012 election results page had on Election Day or on the day after. Crazy! Our visit-o-meter says over 300 people looked at this page in the past 24 hours --many days after the essay aired. The next-highest page is the discreet page of nasty images related to this page (page title: "-").