The Things I Learned this Past Weekend

We had a really good time this past weekend. Saturday was the annual Hillbilly Chili Cook off here, which is always a good time.

On Sunday, coincidently to my post about going solo last week, our part-time neighbors who live back East full time, asked us to a neighborhood cookout. It was fun and good to reconnect with them and meet some of our other “neighbors,” (some are more than 5 miles away).

This weekend was also a learning experience.

For example, we really never knew the name of our cove. Numbers on the points mark this vast lake, but all of the coves are named. My aunt always thought our cove was part of the Music Creek string of coves, but we were told a couple of years ago that wasn’t true.

None of the maps we’ve looked at told us, and when we built Our Little House, our road didn’t even show up on Map Quest or Google Maps.

While down at the neighbors, they pulled out their map and we determined our cove is Cedar Hollow.

Or, it could be “Holler,” depending on who you ask!

I also learned that it is common for deer “hunters” here to bait deer with feeders, even in their own backyards.

A friend of my husband didn’t make it to the cook off because he wanted to get his deer feeder loaded.

So, for more than a month, deer will essentially become more and more tame, learning to get their meals from a feeder and then on October 1, when the season opens, they become “fair” game.

I’m sorry, in my book, that’s not called “hunting,” it is called “baiting,” and yes, I hope to hear from the pro-baiting crowd with more insight, because I just don’t see the sport in sitting on your porch, shooting a deer that you’ve taught to come to your yard, or even to a designated area outside of your yard.

Whatever happened to the hunter’s ethics of Fair Chase!? Doesn’t having a center fired rifle with a scope give you enough of an advantage?

I’m a firearms lover. I’m not one of those transplanted “city folk” who doesn’t know a rifle from a shotgun or an automatic from a single shot.

I’m not a hunter (mainly because I’m not a big carnivore and don’t like deer at all), but I’ve also written that I don’t have a problem with hunting as long as it is done legally, ethically and respectful of property owner’s rights.

I’ve also read a little on baiting with feeders since the weekend and learned that it has also been believed to spread disease among deer herds, which is why some states now outlaw the practice.

What interesting things have you learned this past week about your community?

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30 Responses

  1. Alisa Bowman says:

    I’m not against deer hunting despite the fact that I’m a vegetarian. It’s actually good for conservation because in most place — like where I live — deer have no predators (mostly due to humans who have killed off the predators, but still) and this is really destructive to an eco system. In some areas around me, they’ve actually hired sharp shooters to thin the deer heard, and they do this in order to protect the eco system. And I do think it’s more human to kill and eat a deer than it is for the deer to get hit by a car, which is usually how most of them die around here.

    At any rate, my main conflict with baiting in my area is that it’s dangerous to other humans. Bullets travel a long way. Areas are marked for hunting for safety reasons. If you hunt in your back yard and you miss the deer, that bullet is going to eventually hit something else. Let’s hope it’s not another person who just happened to be walking by and not knowing that you illegally hunt in your back yard.

    • Kerri says:

      I’ll add that the deer baiters here who bait and kill in their backyards are typically not breaking any rules. Most areas are unincorporated. I’m sure it is illegal right in town.

  2. There’s a big to-do about what to do with the deer in our suburban area. But what cracks me up is the deer always hang out near the sign for a subdivision–the name, “Hunt Club” 😉

  3. Jane Boursaw says:

    Not a new epiphany, but my community is the best ever! I love living in Traverse City more every year. Oh, and the deer are rampant around here, but I still love them anyway.

  4. Becky says:

    As a child of a family of hunters (men/women)and I never had beef until I was in my teens.. My parents would get two tags each year and that would feed us until the next hunting season. I agree this isn’t right.. I never look at hunting as a sport either.. I saw it as our favorite meal back strap or homemade meat pies.. I wish to see this outlawed in every state, Who would see the reasoning for this kind of action… ??? I must be honest.. I did however give my family a lot of crap during my teen years about Killing Bambi..and then I got hungry… lol

  5. Sheryl says:

    I know deer can be a menace and carry ticks, but I can’t help but feel sad every time I see one dead on the side of the road, not to mention the thought of these beautiful animals being baited. I understand the need/want to control the population and the value of their meat, but still…

    • Kerri says:

      I also understand deer can be a menace in some areas, but it is only because we’ve done such harm to the natural order that they have become overpopulated. I really hate to see anything killed and I don’t like people calling it “hunting” when they’re really not.

  6. Heather L. says:

    I like Cedar Hollow. Sounds like a place that may have been on “Greenacres.”

    I learned that our neighbors, who are very close, don’t really want to get to know each other or do anything together like buy a combined locking mailbox so our mail won’t be stolen. This was not something I enjoyed learning.

  7. Rick says:

    I agree that baiting isn’t hunting, however, as far as a method for getting meat, is it really any different than what is done to beef or pork livestock? You feed and harvest the critter. Would it be an issue if the deer were herded like cattle prior to the kill?

    • Kerri says:

      Good point, Rick. Personally, I buy all of the free range, grass fed beef I can from local sources where we know the animals were treated humanely and had a natural diet. I’m an animal lover and I am one of those who could not eat an animal I raised. This is why I’m working more and more toward vegetarianism, I don’t like hypocrites, even within myself.
      I do see differences from free ranging beef, chicken and pork in that this feed is not good for the deer or other wildlife that happens upon it. There is also evidence that these types of feeding stations spreads disease among herds. I could see more of planting food plots. At least that gives the animals a natural diet, as Kathleen points out. But let’s not call it “hunting,” it really is not.

      • Kerri says:

        And it’s also been my experience here, Rick, that some of these “hunters” do not even process the meat. They saw off the antlers, leaving the rest of the animal to rot. I know, as my dogs have brought home parts.

  8. I totally agree with you about hunting. The word ‘hunting’ presumes that there will be a hunt and the prey will have a fair chance. We used to have a neighbor who baited deer and sat on his back porch to ‘hunt’ them. I really had a hard time with that. I’m not against hunting at all – but this is NOT hunting.

  9. Elaine says:

    I heard a story about a woman who had a deer come in her yard to be fed and petted every day. She treated it like a pet. Then one day pulled out a gun and shot it. I was horrified but her argument was that the deer was loved and cared for, felt no fear and died without knowing it was coming. I suppose it was more humane than chasing it and frightening it but it still bothers me. I think it violates our feelings of sportsmanship.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s twisted logic to me, Elaine. That would be like doing that to a dog or cat that is domesticated. And you’re right, it does violate the traditional hunting ethics of sportsmanship.

  10. Alexandra says:

    Not a fan of deer here, so don’t care how they get killed as long as the population is diminished. Deer carry deer ticks, and those deer ticks transmit disease, including Lyme and Babesiosis.

    • Kerri says:

      Yes, they do, thanks to human interference with their predators and encroachment on their habitat. Humans are much more harmful, in my opinion. 🙂

  11. Olivia says:

    Wow – I have never heard of such a thing as deer baiting in my life – but then, we don’t have any game, other than geese or partridge, to hunt here. I have friends in Northern Ontario who used to shoot deer and moose for their winter’s food supply but there was no baiting involved. It defies belief in my opinion.

    But then I have never seen a real gun in my life and, other than the aforementioned friends, do not know anyone who owns one. Even the thought of a gun terrifies me, I confess.

    • Kerri says:

      I couldn’t believe it myself at first, Olivia. I had heard of it because I was reading a blog last year and they were discussing baiting, but I didn’t think it was legal.

  12. Our neighbors to the north have a deer feeder they bait deer with and it disgusts me. I think it’s not only out of laziness, but land now is broken up into small parcels of thirty, forty or fifty acres. There used to be many more large, undeveloped areas of acreage where people could actually track and hunt deer across several hundred acres. But, when you only have twenty two acres, as our neighbors do, you have to draw them into your backyard to shoot. I worry a lot about getting hit with a stray bullet during deer season, since people all around us are shooting and they aren’t that far away. Last fall, a little girl in a rural area was hit by a bullet and killed, while playing in her backyard. They never did find out where the bullet came from, but based on the type of bullet, speculation was that it probably came from a hunter’s gun and was accidental.

    I don’t see the sport in “taming” animals so they’ll walk up to you to be shot and can’t imagine anybody taking any real pride in that. My guess is that when they show photos of the bloody deer carcass to friends, they don’t mention that the deer came to its usual feeding spot where it had been baited for several months. In Missouri, you can only bait up to a certain number of days before the season starts but I’m not sure what the exact cutoff is. Of course, by that time, the deer are used to coming to that spot to look for food and chances are, they will continue doing that right into hunting season.

    Missouri Conservation dept. encourages planting food plots instead of baiting, because that way, native plants that are the deer’s natural diet are given a chance to flourish and they support many other kinds of wildlife besides deer, including quail, pheasants and turkey. And there is no cutoff date by which the food plot has to be removed, in fact it becomes a beneficial part of the environment. Grain that is used in baiting stations, is usually commercial feed that is full of sugar, corn and additives, not good for the deer in any way and certainly of no benefit to other wildlife.

    • Kerri says:

      I’m with you, Kathleen. Baiting disgusts me and I have no idea how people can take pride in shooting something that is trained to be there. It’s like a canned hunt.

      • Kerri says:

        I think there’s an attitude, too, Kathy, that having 20 acres in an area where there are 20 acre plots are fair for hunting because it’s in an unincorporated, rural area. It’s illegal here to hunt within 500 yards of homes, so if you are truly afraid, maybe you should check the laws and contact your department of conservation friends. There are places where these baiters could hunt on hundreds of acres, they’re just too lazy to go out and do it.

        • That’s a good idea, Kerri. I’m sure we have laws regarding that sort of thing. Our dog is a tawny color and fairly large sized, so I’m always worried about her too, though she has a fluorescent collar on that should offer some protection, even from the most trigger happy hunter.

          • Kerri says:

            Yes, we worry about our dogs too. The way some of these people are around here, they may shoot the dog if they think she is interfering with their “hunt.’

  13. Susan says:

    I totally agree with you about not baiting the deer. Although I’m a vegetarian I do not have a problem with people hunting if it is done right and they eat the meat, and not just going for the rack. These people are not just unethical, they are just plain lazy.