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Collie's Musings

A friend wrote in an email to me about the assumptions we live with due to media indoctrination (and yes, I chose that word deliberately). Here's what I wrote back to him.

Copyright © 2000 B. "Collie" Collier
It seemed like a good idea at the time... ;-)


      The example given in the e-mail was in regards to the assumption that deer hunters are horrible people who murder Bambi, despite several facts... such as the reality that for many herds of deer the only remaining predators (human hunters) are vital to helping maintain continued health among the herd -- and the fact that many deer hunters are genuinely thoughtful, well-trained, and intelligent people who've chosen to hunt for well-considered reasons.

      It has become an unfortunate reality that many kind and well-meaning folks who want to "save" the deer from hunters... are actually harming them.

      As my net-friend noted, due to "Disney-fication" deer have become, in most folks' eyes, nothing more dangerous or cute than wild Shetland ponies.

      I replied:

    I worked with deer for a very short period of time while I was in the zoo-keeper program at <name deleted> Community College in <name deleted>, FL. There was a buck Key deer there... lovely, graceful, tiny (of course -- Key deer are dinky)... in short, breathtakingly exciting to be close to -- such beauty and dignity in such a tiny package! Such majesty! The only thing that bothered me was -- why was the poor fellow kept alone? He must be lonely surely?

    It was then that another keeper told me why the buck was in his own, isolated enclosure. Buck Key deer, like much of the deer family, are horribly violent, territorial creatures. There had been a doe in there initially... the keepers hadn't known how Key deer ordinarily behave out of breeding season, and had thoughtfully enclosed both animals together so they wouldn't be lonely.

    You can perhaps imagine their confusion and surprise when the doe fled the buck and did her desperate best to climb the walls of the enclosure, dashing about madly and increasingly frantically as the buck followed her at a slow, almost peaceful walk. Unfortunately the buck did eventually catch her -- and that's when he slammed his antler points into her haunches.

    By the time the horrified keepers got a dart gun and tranq'd the buck, it was too late for the little doe. The buck had calmly and firmly gored her repeatedly, continuing even after she was too injured to flee any more, and she bled to death soon thereafter. Later research into what exactly had happened and why included some long discussions with "crackers," or folks who'd lived on the Florida Keys all their lives... and it was through them that the well-meaning keepers discovered the dangerous territoriality of the usually solitary bucks.

    That was my harsh introduction to a number of important concepts I've tried to live by since then.

    • First, don't assume what you think you see is the truth!
      That buck wasn't "majestic"... it was simply another creature (like myself) that I'd chosen to anthropomorphize to suit my emotional needs at the time.

    • Second, the "crackers" knew a lot more about the deer than the educated zoo-folks did. While there may be old wives' tales included in information gathered from locals, that doesn't mean everything they know is a waste... nor does it mean that an education makes you know everything there is to know.

    • Third... hope for the best, but be prepared for disaster.
      Had the tranq rifle been to hand, the doe wouldn't have died.

    Just my rambling two cents' worth. ;-)

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Last Updated: Thur Nov 16 2000

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