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Hunting for values in Wisconsin's woodlands

By Joel McNally

Every year, more than 650,000 deer hunters lay siege to Wisconsin's natural environment with weapons of mass destruction hell bent on blowing away every deer foolish enough to step outside for a breath of fresh air.

There's always been a gentlemen's agreement among journalists to celebrate this carnage as sport or, even more improbably, part of our "culture." Hunting is simply chamber music with live ammo.

While we are making things up, why not consider deer hunting in even loftier and more reverential terms - as a natural extension of American moral values.

Post Sept. 11, no American has to wait around to be attacked by a deadly herd of does who hate our freedom. We have the right to take pre-emptive action against a ruthless enemy of our way of life.

Deer are like a pack of wild animals. They run right in front of our cars without looking both ways, giving absolutely no thought to how much we may have paid for our SUVs.

Deer have no qualms about destroying the environment, either. They eat it. At least, when we destroy our natural environment, we do it to make some really nice profits for our shareholders.

Deer devour some of our most expensive and well-maintained professional landscaping.

As civilized people move farther out into remote areas to enjoy natural beauty and solitude and to get as far away from African Americans as possible, the last things we want around us are wild, scary beasts.

Clearly, deer hunters occupy the moral high ground. And recent history has taught us that those who claim the moral high ground have a perfect right to impose their own morality upon everybody else.

We're not talking about any of those namby-pamby moral values we learned in Vacation Bible School, all that wimpy stuff about thou shalt not kill. We're talking about a new, more muscular, better-armed morality.

We're talking about the kind of hardball morality Pat Robertson dispenses when he warns that during natural disasters God will ignore all prayers coming from communities that refuse to teach fundamentalist religion in high school science classes.

Many believe chronic wasting disease is divine retribution against deer for all their animalistic rutting. It sends the wrong message to young people if we try to combat chronic wasting disease by any means other than mandatory abstinence education.

This plague should send a clear message to deer to repent their flagrant promiscuity and unnatural practices. Not that we would ever want liberal, activist judges to grant deer the right to marry.

While we're amending our state constitution to deny equality to gay people, we should specifically ban inter-species matrimony as well. Some of those outdoor writers get downright ethereal waxing poetic about the stunning magnificence of deer, not to mention their unhealthy attachment to their hunting dogs.

How about a little grandiloquent poetry about Wisconsin's magnificent herd of deer hunters? These men and even some women and children take their lives in their own hands every year to go Up North to communicate with nature and, if they're really lucky, blow some of it away.

And what do these selfless deer hunters get in return for upholding this treasured state tradition?

More and more private property owners have absolutely no appreciation of the contribution deer hunters make to resource management by unleashing a nine-day barrage of deadly firepower across the landscape. Home owners rudely post "No Trespassing" signs to try to prevent hunters from shooting through their children's bedroom windows.

When hunters return triumphantly with bodies of dead deer stacked like cord wood in the beds of their trucks, mothers in mini-vans make faces and tell their children to look away.

Deer hunters are responding to that seductive, primal call to man since the dawn of time that lures them back into the wilds dressed up in blaze orange bib overalls.

They don't drink and play cards and kill stuff just for the glory of it. They do it for their state. And they do it for the deer.

If deer hunters didn't blow away so many deer every year, there would be too many deer and not enough food for the deer to eat and the deer might die. Hunters have to destroy the deer in order to save them.

It's not hard to see the parallels today with invading and occupying another country to force all the people who live there to form a democracy at gunpoint.

Deer hunters are not going to cut and run until the mission is accomplished. Deer hunters are not going stop laying waste to wildlife just because the popularity polls turn against them.

Don't expect any withdrawal of deer hunters until victory is assured and the deer have established a stable democracy, complete with photo IDs for voting.

Joel McNally appears weekly on the WMVS-TV public television show "Interchange".

His e-mail address is:

[email protected] 

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