As a young girl, I hunted with my father. I was good at it and was proud to help put meat on the table. We never hunted for sport and always ate what we killed. We were primarily bird hunters--dove, quail, pheasant, duck and goose.
More than once, I had to put a bird out of it's misery. I'd shot it, but not killed it. Wringing it's neck was the right thing to do and I understood it. I understood that if an animal is suffering, you help it out.
I began going on hunting trips when I was five. I received my first shotgun for Christmas the year I turned 10. I hunted with a gun until I was 15--I outgrew my dad. Boys became far more important.
Once I had children, I got rid of any guns I still owned. I no longer hunted, and had no need to have something in my house that could kill someone or something. Last Wednesday my feelings changed again. I need a rifle.
While I was away at camp, I checked my phone and found a message from earlier Wednesday morning. I picked it up and about fainted--"Mom, it's Tom. It's 7:30 (am!!). Call me on my cell phone, no one is at home". Immediately I wondered if someone was in the hospital. Tom never tumbles out of bed until at least noon. I got a hold of him and it turns out he was at the neighbor's house. Late Tuesday night a deer had run full force into their gigantic iron gates. "She can barely walk, mom." I then called the neighbor. I begged her to call the sheriff to have the poor doe shot. I told her of another neighbor that is a hunter and could do it. Unfortunately, she'd talked to some dork at Parks and Wildlife and was told that deer are amazingly resilient and can heal themselves.
Fast forward to Saturday when I returned from camp. I took a look at the doe and she didn't look good--(you think!?). The neighbor was feeling like things were still looking up, as the doe had wandered a full 100 ft. from her original landing place after slamming into the gate. She never stood up or walked around in the early hours of the day or at dusk. She made no attempt to get up when we approached. I went home--there was nothing I could do. The deer wasn't on my property. She was still alive on Sunday morning. Sunday evening I received a tearful phone call from the neighbor, "CeeCee, can you help me help her out of her misery. I think she's dying. I feel so awful." This is where the need for a rifle comes in. I've been thinking about one since we moved out to the country, but was worried about having a gun in the house. I'm not worried anymore. My kids are bigger and I plan on keeping the ammunition at the another neighbor's house. I wanted so badly to take a ball bat over and kill the deer, but I was afraid she may try to get up--I didn't want to make it worse than it already was. Instead, I waited for the hunter-neighbor to come home. He killed her in one shot.
He said she was dehydrated, broken and barely weighed 30 lbs. He got within 5 feet of her and she never even looked at him. Arrggghhh! She suffered for 5 days. I couldn't have changed that, but I could have helped her out two hours earlier than when it finally happened. We have so many incidents where I live of deer being gravely injured, but not killed. I always have to call on hunter-neighbor.
My opinion, that I know everyone will not share, is that if an animal needs to be put out of it's misery it's my job as a human being to do it. God put animals here to provide us with food--wild and domestic. In return, we must care for them, even if it means putting them out of their misery.
Now I need to find a shooting range and become a good shot again. It's time.