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Three Ohio Bucks Found Drowned With Antlers Locked.
May 4, 2013 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Burke couldn’t believe it. “I asked if he was sure and he said, 'Yes.' I drove down and met him. They were floating in the creek almost like three petals of a flower or something." Forester Jason Good was surveying timber in Meigs County, Ohio, on November 12 when he stumbled upon a bizarre sight that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up: In a waist-deep pool of Leading Creek, nose-to-nose like fish on a stringer, floated three whitetail deer.

Pictures are a bit graphic.
posted by Diles_Mavis (64 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ia, Shub-Niggurath!
posted by JHarris at 11:11 AM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


BREAKING NEWS: Antler Locks Fail In Making Mating Season Safer For Our Bucks - Subcommittee formed to reframe antler control debate
posted by mikurski at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


If it wasn't for the date on the article I would suspect viral advertising for Hannibal.
posted by elizardbits at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


First I learn about the king rat, now this.
posted by klausman at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


Wow. The drive to reproduce sure does end up being counterproductive sometimes.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on May 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


O' deer.
posted by Ahab at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


“But there’s also a certain sadness that the lives of three nice bucks just ended like that. Three deer that any hunter would have put on the wall and told stories about.”

Yes, it was sad because they only got to find them dead instead of killing them themselves. That's the take-away.
And for a second I thought this hunter-perspective article was going all soft on me.

I am kind of relieved that they died quickly instead of starving to death or being eaten alive. Or shot.

Wildlife biologists are taught that anthropomorphism—endowing the animals they study with human qualities—is not good science. Yet, says Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “I can’t help wondering what was that third buck thinking? Whatever possessed him to get engaged when the two were already entangled?”

He wasn't thinking anything. His hormones said "IF There's some other dudes THEN fight them."
posted by bleep at 11:26 AM on May 4, 2013 [33 favorites]


I have to say, this is one of the most striking death-images I have ever seen. Still not quite Evelyn McHale.
posted by fake at 11:27 AM on May 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


"But there’s also a certain sadness that the lives of three nice bucks just ended like that. Three deer that any hunter would have put on the wall and told stories about."

WTF? It's sad because it's somehow a waste if you didn't shoot them yourself?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:27 AM on May 4, 2013 [26 favorites]


This is why in sports it's always one team against another, and not three teams all at once.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2013


More charitably these were good strong animals any of which would have been strong breeders improving the herd so it's sad to see them drown in a freak accident.
posted by Mitheral at 11:31 AM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


“They didn’t plan this very well, that’s for sure,” the biologist notes. “But that also adds some realism to the whole thing—that in spite of the sophistication of evolution there are hiccups that cause the system to fall apart.”

No. This guy is way too excited about "today's deer management world" apparently but evolution isn't that sophisticated. If something definitely is going to kill you before you reproduce, then that's not going to survive. It's a sloppy, slow process. If horns got too big and hormones got out of control and bucks were dying in the process of trying to mate then you would see them take it down a notch eventually. That's not the system falling apart. That's just.. it being what it is.
posted by bleep at 11:31 AM on May 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


bleep : I am kind of relieved that they died quickly instead of starving to death or being eaten alive. Or shot.

You realize, of course, that they most likely did mostly starve nearly to death, at least for a few weeks, until in their weakened state they, fell into the water and drowned?

Shooting them would have varied from instant to taking a few minutes to bleed out (to "survivable" if the hunter missed any vitals). That sounds a hell of a lot better, IMO.

That said, I kinda have to agree with your first observation - Shame to find them dead instead of killing them? That does sound a bit twisted.
posted by pla at 11:32 AM on May 4, 2013


Either the article implied or I imagined that they fell into the water a few minutes after becoming entangled. I'm going to go with my version.
posted by bleep at 11:36 AM on May 4, 2013


You realize, of course, that they most likely did mostly starve nearly to death, at least for a few weeks, until in their weakened state they, fell into the water and drowned?

From the article: "Damage to the creek bank and gouge marks on trees suggest the bucks locked up 50 yards downstream, then struggled together along the bank—half in and half out of the shallow water—until one of the bucks toppled into the deep hole where the deer were found. 'I think one deer hit that hole and pulled the other deer into the water and they all drowned together,' Burke says. 'Drowning was probably a good thing. The coyotes would have been on them in no time. I imagine they died full force, adrenaline flowing, battling it out.'"
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why the obvious conclusion is "three bucks were fighting and got locked and fell into the river" instead of "three deer carcasses in the river got locked together."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2013


"What you’re seeing here is one buck trying to convince another that I need to pass my genes on and I’m gonna do what it takes to make sure it happens. This is a manifestation of that drive.”


LOL FAIL, I guess.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2013


I can’t help wondering what was that third buck thinking?

"I'm going to smoke BOTH these pathetic fools!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm going to just come out say what all of you are thinking.

This is a sign of the Apocalypse.

Daniel 7-2-8: While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:45 AM on May 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Don't we need a word for something like the opposite of anthropomorphizing--when you look at guys and think, they're behaving just like animals, "I need to pass my genes on and I'm gonna do what it takes to make sure it happens?"
posted by Anitanola at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This feels like the animal kingdom's version of most awkward moments in handshake history.
posted by phaedon at 11:52 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


... in spite of the sophistication of evolution there are hiccups that cause the system to fall apart.”

Ahhhh... no, Mr. Biologist, that isn't the system falling apart. Perhaps you failed to take notes in your evolutionary biology class?

As bleep says, a sloppy slow process in which the individual is of little note.

Whelp, I guess the bottom line is the landowner can have an interesting chandelier made or whatever.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it also possible that some creepoid arranged them like this? I used to read Bizarre Magazine, it seems plausible.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the article: "Damage to the creek bank and gouge marks on trees suggest the bucks locked up 50 yards downstream, then struggled together along the bank—half in and half out of the shallow water—until one of the bucks toppled into the deep hole where the deer were found. 'I think one deer hit that hole and pulled the other deer into the water and they all drowned together,' Burke says. 'Drowning was probably a good thing. The coyotes would have been on them in no time. I imagine they died full force, adrenaline flowing, battling it out.'"

That's just as speculative as anything else, though. I'm sure that we'd all like to think they didn't suffer much. But it's still entirely possible these bucks were locked up for a week, mired in the creek before expiring one at a time, making the remaining survivors even more desperate.

I'm not a hunter, but it does seem a shame that these bucks couldn't have been trophies rather than dying the way nature intended. What I think is interesting/odd to me is the value all seem to place over the antlers. So much so that they'd bother with a salvage operation give the antlers to the landowner. I'm guessing this makes perfect sense to a hunter in deer country. But it's pretty alien to me.

Also linked to More Field And Stream: The 50 Best Shotguns Ever Made. Fifty! Like they had trouble whittling down the list.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder if they tested these guys for chronic wasting disease.
posted by jamjam at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'm not sure why the obvious conclusion is "three bucks were fighting and got locked and fell into the river" "

It happens every year -- well, the two-buck version anyway. It's terrifying for the animals and they often exhaust and injure themselves trying to disentangle, and then die slowly or are set up by predators.

Earlier this year an Illinois DNR officer was called to the scene of two entangled bucks exhausting themselves trying to get free, and the officer manages to shoot their antlers apart. (link is to Daily Mail, sorry, but they're the only place that still has the video.) It went locally viral, it's rather amazing.

I'm not a big hunting supporter (don't want to ban it, but it's not my thing), but the alternative to deer hunting in the midwest is exploding deer populations that starve to death, and when bucks are entangled like that, it's a slow and frightening death for the deer. So, yeah, I can see how hunting the animals would be preferable to having them die from getting their antlers stuck together, or (in the wider sense) from starvation due to overpopulation. (The other longer-term solution to deer overpopulation is more predators, but that has its own problems.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


Is it also possible that some creepoid arranged them like this?

Or maybe Andy Goldsworthy has run out of other materials.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:02 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


But there’s also a certain sadness that the lives of three nice bucks just ended like that. Three deer that any hunter would have put on the wall and told stories about.

Many members of my family hunt, but this is an aspect of the hunting culture that I really don't understand. The various shrines to the things you kill. Heads and antlers on walls. Tshirts, pictures, and other decorative items emblazoned with images of the various creatures they hunt, in heroic, majestic poses. It's just creepy as hell.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:16 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


and then die slowly or are set up by predators

“It wasn't me, Your Honor! It was the coyotes what did it! No! You can't do this! You've got the wrong buck!!

?
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I prefer to believe that deer are evolving at an accelerated rate and moved directly from prancing through the forest to water ballet.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:23 PM on May 4, 2013


He wasn't thinking anything.

I always find this perspective on animals so odd. You don't believe they think? You don't believe they have brains, despite what we find when we cut them open?

Of course they don't think on the level humans do, but by any reasonable definition they do think. Unless you want to get into religion and concepts of "souls" and such, there's no dividing line between the behavior of humans and other animals, except that we happen to be smarter.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:24 PM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


._._.
posted by neroli at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The quote was asking "How could he have made such a bad decision?" That buck didn't have the capability to analyze the situation and figure out whether it was going to be successful or not. All creatures have differing levels of capabilities.
posted by bleep at 12:31 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that's not to say that humans are any smarter either.
posted by bleep at 12:37 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's another fun tale:

“About 9 a.m., I saw a deer in the ranch road, facing away from us with his head down, feeding, and his front legs wide apart,” said Danny. “There was something unusual about the deer and, when I looked closer, it appeared to be a huge non-typical buck. All I could see was horns.”

Logan studied the deer and thought he was seeing two bucks fighting, except there wasn’t much action. As soon as the buck gave him a shot, Logan took it. As the hunters walked up to the fallen deer, they realized why it looked so unusual.

Logan had shot a live deer with the antlers of a second buck locked in its antlers. All that was left of the second buck was its head, a portion of its neck and a husk of hide.
From the odor and appearance of the second deer, Danny figured it had been dead three to five days and coyotes had eaten it, thus freeing the victor of a buck fight to briefly continue a normal life with an odd and smelly crown.
posted by Auden at 12:46 PM on May 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:04 PM on May 4, 2013


The quote was asking "How could he have made such a bad decision?" That buck didn't have the capability to analyze the situation and figure out whether it was going to be successful or not. All creatures have differing levels of capabilities.

This also makes no sense. Let's say a squirrel is trying to identify the optimal path between two points in its environment. Is that not decision-making in the most literal sense? Animals aren't deterministic mechanisms, they make thousands of decisions every day. Following your line of reasoning, you could say that humans don't really "reason," that it's all "just neurotransmitters talking." That's horribly reductionist and conceals a lot of what is actually fascinating and unanswered about animal (and human) cognition.
posted by Nomyte at 1:35 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


O' deer.

Really that should be "Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer ..."
posted by carter at 1:49 PM on May 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man, I guess I feel like some of this commentary is really uncharitable. Like these.

Yes, it was sad because they only got to find them dead instead of killing them themselves. That's the take-away..

WTF? It's sad because it's somehow a waste if you didn't shoot them yourself?

How is it better that they drowned rather than if they were shot? As in, why exactly is this hunter's statement so objectionable?

I personally think he's right and that the deer would have served more 'purpose' in being shot. Aside from the 'trophy' aspect (which I am also not in to) and the experience of hunting, most hunters eat the meat of the things they shoot and/or distribute/sell the parts and meat to the community. All three of these bucks drowning in a river is, absolutely objectively, a waste as compared to them being hunted.

If it's just the trophy aspect that bothers you, I guess I have to wonder why taking a rack as a trophy is necessarily a bad thing. Deer are in need of population control. Taking one down is an accomplishment, and it accomplishes important things for the ecology of the area and economically for those involved. Should we really shame people who hunt? And if so, why? Each individual is different, maybe some of them are just killing 'for fun'. That would bother me on some vague instinctual level, but that might not be the case with this guy (or the majority of hunters). And even if they are killing deer for fun, as a hobby, the population still needs to be controlled through killing bucks. So what exactly are we supposed to do here?

I am kind of relieved that they died quickly instead of starving to death or being eaten alive. Or shot.

Yeeeahhh I personally wouldn't put drowning as being much better and/or quicker than being shot. Granted not all hunters are accurate hunters, but a good hunter will kill a deer really quickly. There's not a lot of suffering involved when it's done right. I guess I just can't get behind the certainty that drowning was definitely a better end result. With all three of them in the water and moving, god knows how long it took.

Anyway. I'm not a hunter, but I'm also not inherently anti-hunter. I just feel like the guy getting quoted from the article isn't getting a fair shake here. There are arguments to be made on either side but I feel like there's a lot of inappropriately 'just-so' statements. And frankly every time I hear stuff like this I have to wonder how much classism (ruralism? redneck-ism?) is being involved in the discussion. I'm a city girl now but I come from the country, and I know some of these people, and I know a lot of hunters. Like I said, it just seems kind of uncharitable.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:53 PM on May 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's reductionist because you decided to reduce it. You're deciding to pick an argument where none exists. Don't try to "follow my line of reasoning" if you're not even going to read my entire comment. Nothing about my comment is inaccurate. Squirrels do what they do, deer do what they do, if you asked them to have a big conversation about it on metafilter, they wouldn't be able to do that. There's nothing reductionist about that.

Do you think I'm wrong and that the buck just made a really bad judgement call? Like he was like, "Oh, this is going to be great, I have determined that I can best both of these gentlemen in battle, forthwith!" No.
posted by bleep at 1:53 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have it on good authority that these deer were filming the deer version of Jackass. "OK, we look our antlers together and then roll down the hill."
posted by drezdn at 2:07 PM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have it on good authority

Stop talking to the fucking raccoons, man. Lying pieces of shit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:09 PM on May 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


almost like three petals of a flower

I wonder which of these words he isn't using right. Or what horrifying flowers he's seen.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:13 PM on May 4, 2013


Ok, I know I am in the minority here, being a hunter. So . . . grain of salt, etc.

I am a subsistence hunter. I hunt for food. I do not personally understand the attraction of trophy hunting and think that it has actually been detrimental to the health of the herds in this country.

the population still needs to be controlled through killing bucks

Not really. There is a growing movement in the deer management community that thinks the focus on bucks that is so prevalent in the hunting community has weakened the health of the herd. (I am not an academic and I have no specialty here, so I will defer to those who do.) Ideally, human hunting would mimic the results of predation and winter kill. Since there are more does and fawns than bucks, predators tend to take those (also, fewer defenses, right?). Winter kill is more likely to kill the young and weak and the aged. Since bucks are fewer and stronger, buck trophy hunting tends to cull the buck population of the finest, strongest specimen leaving the weaker, smaller bucks to procreate. Long term, this changes herd genetics. Some of the papers I have read advocate for mimic natural culls which would require there to be more doe and fawn tags(better for food than hormone drenched, rutting buck meat) with a strict and limited lottery for a much smaller number of bucks, decided on a year to year basis based on the herd.

Blah, blah, blah. I am too distracted by two 5-year-olds to write many coherent sentences.
My only other point . . .
Most (all?) states' wildlife laws make it a crime to leave usable meat on a carcass or to let it spoil. Legally, trophy hunters ARE hunting for meat. Whether they eat it or not, who knows?
posted by Seamus at 2:17 PM on May 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


I was thinking about this situation and reflecting that the "best" a human will end up with is lying in a puddle of their own urine with a contorted grimace on their face. All told I'd at least to leave behind an _interesting_ corpse.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is it better that they drowned rather than if they were shot? As in, why exactly is this hunter's statement so objectionable?

First, no one said that drowning was better than being shot. What I was objecting to was the idea that the reason WHY the drowning was WORSE than being shot - that is, "sad", as the hunter said - was simply that a hunter could have put them on a wall. No sense of the suffering of the animals at all. It was a waste because a hunter could have *bragged* about them. You don't see anything twisted about that?

All three of these bucks drowning in a river is, absolutely objectively, a waste as compared to them being hunted.

There is no such thing as an "objective" waste. Waste can only be assessed relative to a sense of value; you've got a set of values, obviously, and you're free to describe them, but don't pretend your values are a feature of objective reality...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:36 PM on May 4, 2013


Just in time for the next episode of PBS' Nature show, The Private Life of Deer!
posted by Atreides at 2:41 PM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


First, no one said that drowning was better than being shot.

bleep essentially did, for the record.

It was a waste because a hunter could have *bragged* about them. You don't see anything twisted about that?

I don't believe that is the only way to read the hunter's words. This is essentially what my post was about. Telling stories about something isn't necessarily bragging about something. It can just be relating an experience. Spending an entire day hunting can give a lot of fodder to put into a story with the culmination at the end of the day being 'and then I got a buck'. It doesn't have to be bragging. It doesn't have to be 'twisted'. This is what I believe some people are unfairly reading into it.

There is no such thing as an "objective" waste.

To clarify, objective as its definition of not having do do with thoughts or feelings but base reality. By the practical measurement (meat) I outlined in the context of my post. I was also using it in a relative sense; three bucks dead with nothing to gain (drowning) versus three bucks dead by hunting, which could benefit things in a variety of very clear ways. I understand if you disagree with the phrasing and hesitated putting that way but just as a heads up I'm not really interested in arguing the semantics any further as it's not the main point of what I was trying to say.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 3:17 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it was a sad wast of delicious venison. Also a sad waste of deer-hides. I am not personally into trophy hunting, but I see getting shot as a far better death than drowning, and getting water-logged and polluting a creek.
Tells me there's too many bucks in that area.
Deer reproduce easily. If they don't have Deer Wasteing Disease deer provide healthy meat. It would be far better if people hunted deer for their meat instead of confining cattle, pigs and chickens to factory farms.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:25 PM on May 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


\.X.X./
posted by 445supermag at 3:48 PM on May 4, 2013


There is a growing movement in the deer management community that thinks the focus on bucks that is so prevalent in the hunting community has weakened the health of the herd.

The focus on hunting bucks has me baffled as well. Harvesting bucks does little for population control since a single buck can impregnate many does in a herd.
posted by tommyD at 3:50 PM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Drowning because of natural selection seems fair. That could happen to anyone. Getting shot with a bow and arrow seems fair, if the thing you're trying to kill is basically evenly matched against you. I'm not against hunting, I know it can be enjoyable and it's basically win-win on all sides. Getting shot with a gun doesn't seem like a fair fight to me. I wouldn't want someone to shoot me with a gun, unless it was a mercy-killing situation or I was evenly matched. Maybe we should give the bucks some guns, they have great decision making skills after all.
posted by bleep at 3:51 PM on May 4, 2013


Yet, says Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “I can’t help wondering what was that third buck thinking? Whatever possessed him to get engaged when the two were already entangled?”

Man, everybody's got a Werner Herzog impersonation going these days.
posted by gimonca at 3:51 PM on May 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


By the practical measurement (meat) I outlined in the context of my post. I was also using it in a relative sense; three bucks dead with nothing to gain (drowning) versus three bucks dead by hunting, which could benefit things in a variety of very clear ways. I understand if you disagree with the phrasing and hesitated putting that way but just as a heads up I'm not really interested in arguing the semantics any further as it's not the main point of what I was trying to say.

What is off-putting about the phrasing is the embedded idea that the purpose of nature is to be consumed by people, that the only meaningful end for a deer is to be eaten specifically by a human being. It is a bit odd and shortsighted to say that being eaten by coyotes or scavenged by crows or decomposed into soil is a 'waste' rather than a normal and vital process of the ecosystem.
posted by Pyry at 4:11 PM on May 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


This feels like the animal kingdom's version of most awkward moments in handshake history.

More like the animal kingdom's version of death by autoerotic asphyxiaton. What were they thinking? "This is the only thing anyone will ever remember about any of us, isn't it?"
posted by yoink at 4:36 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I look at the image and imagine how to create visuals, such as, horns wound in knots, Japanese style crests, and other things. It is strange to find design inspiration from the watery grave of three bucks.
posted by jadepearl at 5:22 PM on May 4, 2013


Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert and Chuck Grassley walk into a bar...
posted by MarvinTheCat at 5:24 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The various shrines to the things you kill.

Eh.

Can you imagine if they showed contempt for what they hunted instead?

Or disinterest?
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:31 PM on May 4, 2013


Squirrels do what they do, deer do what they do, if you asked them to have a big conversation about it on metafilter, they wouldn't be able to do that.

On Metafilter, nobody knows you're a squirrel.
posted by prize bull octorok at 6:26 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


To clarify, objective as its definition of not having do do with thoughts or feelings but base reality. By the practical measurement (meat) I outlined in the context of my post.

And here (as Pyry also points out) you fall into it again: you think your values are part of "base reality". In order for your statement to make sense, you have to value hunters' recovery of the deer meat (which misses the point anyway, since meat wasn't mentioned in the statement in question...). Almost all hunters hunt for entertainment, so you're essentially valuing human entertainment over everything else. This is not a "semantic" argument, it is one about fundamental values and how they implicitly inform our views. What is objectionable about the statement by the hunter - and your defense of it - was that it lays bare the idea that nature's purpose - what gives it value - is that it can be exploited by humans.

If you value, for instance, the deers' autonomy, the hunter's statement would make no sense. After all, that's why no one is lamenting the horrible "waste" of human meat. Of course you're free to have the opinion that nature's - or humans' - purpose is to be exploited by humans - but don't defend that as objective.

Telling stories about something isn't necessarily bragging about something. It can just be relating an experience. Spending an entire day hunting can give a lot of fodder to put into a story with the culmination at the end of the day being 'and then I got a buck'. It doesn't have to be bragging.

Yeah, have you met a hunter or a fisherman? I think you're being disingenuous. But whether it is bragging or not, you're valuing peoples' ability to tell a particular story over everything else (the autonomy of the deer, for instance). I guess that's natural, as you're a human being, but it is a choice. For those of us who could care less about whether the hunter can tell a story about killing something, that rings a bit hollow.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 10:41 PM on May 4, 2013


There is no such thing as an "objective" waste. Waste can only be assessed relative to a sense of value

That seems like an impossibly high bar to place on the concept of objectivity. It becomes extremely difficult to make any truly objective statement if it must absolutely be divorced from values. Can objectivity even exist under your rules?

What is objectionable about the statement by the hunter - and your defense of it - was that it lays bare the idea that nature's purpose - what gives it value - is that it can be exploited by humans.

I don't think that's entirely wrong, though. I think it would be more accurate to say nature's "purpose", if you must put it that way, is to be exploited by nature. This includes humans, being part of nature and all.

Yeah, have you met a hunter or a fisherman? I think you're being disingenuous. But whether it is bragging or not, you're valuing peoples' ability to tell a particular story over everything else (the autonomy of the deer, for instance). I guess that's natural, as you're a human being, but it is a choice. For those of us who could care less about whether the hunter can tell a story about killing something, that rings a bit hollow.

It's starting to sound like the possibility an objective statement over these deaths is depriving you of your chance to engage in some good old fashioned finger wagging.

You're laying groundwork as foundation to bolster your objections. Maybe you're engaging in more of a semantic argument than you're willing to admit? It's OK to simply disagree.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:32 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Philosopher Dirtbike: Remembering that the entire thing in my post was a comparison between drowning or being hunted...

A) At the beginning of all of this, you put the word 'waste' in the hunter's mouth. He said it was sad. You were implying with this statement that the only reason he thought it was sad was because he wished he could have shot them to death rather than have them drown. I offered you an alternative: it is sad (or a 'waste') because someone (yes, a human someone) could have made something out of their deaths--either an experience and a story or some pounds of meat.

Yes, this is a human-centric way of thinking. We are humans. I personally think it's going a bit far to remove humans completely from the equation. We are a part of the context of this whole thing.

In this particular context and story, I am not valuing the 'autonomy of the deer' less than the ability of the hunter to tell a story, because in the scenario outlined in my post, the deer are dead either way. Deer will do what deer will do, they have autonomy, it is not mine or yours to give them or take away.

Again, I am proposing a comparative scenario. If I offer you Box 1, in which the deer get into the rut and drown together, or Box 2, in which a day before they're set to drown by coincidence they are, instead, shot and killed by hunters. What is the 'better' end, drowned deer or hunted deer? There can very well be more than one correct answer to this question, and this would depend on one's set of values. That is my only point.

I am concerned that people whose set of values skew towards the human end (those who think it would be better for the bucks to be shot and trophied/eaten/whatever) are essentially being demonized. And vaguely implied that they literally only care because they wanted to kill the bucks, because they just like killing. That's like... really, seriously unfair.

B) I get why you disagree with the word objective and explained above both that I hesitated in using it and framed the context of why I used it the way I did. It is, at this point, a semantic argument; I have explained why I used the words I used and what I meant by them, and I understand your position in turn. It's fine that you don't agree, and I understand your complaint about it being human-centric and agree that it is but, again, I'd prefer if we could all move on.

C) I guess it's fine for you to think I'm being disingenuous (although more than a little insulting), but as I explicitly stated I know some of these people (hunters), and the two close friends I have who hunt, and who keep trophies of the bucks they have killed, are not braggarts. That is not the point for them. They both hunt because it is something to do to spend a day in nature. The one guy will go camping for a weekend, by himself, because he is not a fan of other people. The other guy prefers hunting with friends. They don't just shoot anything that walks into their field of view. They use the meat. My father has both hunted and fished in the past, and it was not about bragging for him either (but he doesn't keep trophies, because we do not like clutter in the house).

You can easily find other accounts which attempt to explain why people hunt, and even why people take trophies, where it seems pretty clear that it's not just so that they can brag about them. I can say this as much as I like but I can't make you believe me. If you think they're all just justifying the 'real' reason that they hunt by saying they hunt and/or take trophies for these other reasons... well that's the whole problem I was trying to get at. I'm sure there are people out there who just enjoy killing things. I don't think we should just assume the guy in the article is one of them. And we sure as hell shouldn't be assuming that is every hunter out there (or even the majority of hunters).
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:48 AM on May 5, 2013


Personally, I want to start a pool on what genre of band first uses these photos as an album cover. My money says "Folk/Pagan Black Metal".
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:21 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Better for nature that they went this way, for sure, as has been pointed out above. Better for humans if they'd been shot instead. Regardless, unusual and interesting set of circumstances. Thanks for posting!
posted by agregoli at 9:16 AM on May 7, 2013


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