Social Question

Aster's avatar

If a man shoots and kills a deer, should he be congratulated?

Asked by Aster (18382points) November 15th, 2010

I was reading a FB post by the daughter of a well-known Christian evangelist. She said “my boyfriend shot a deer and I was so proud of him!”
I can’t see how the act of killing a deer should be rewarded with high fives and hand-shaking. These people are well-fed. Why is the killing of beautiful, free animals met with celebration?

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75 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Whether you agree with the idea of hunting or not (for the record, I don’t), the act of having accomplished something you’ve been striving for is worthy of congratulations.

Seaofclouds's avatar

For hunters, actually getting to kill whatever animal they are hunting is actually quite a task (especially if they are being picky about what they are hunting). I know many people that hunt and have gone out hunting all day only to come back empty handed because nothing came by them or they didn’t see one worth going for. (Many of them will joke and say that’s why it’s called hunting and not killing, since you don’t always get a kill.) So, with that in mind, I can understand congratulating someone after being successful during their hunt.

If you don’t agree with hunting, you probably aren’t going to feel it’s worth congratulating someone for being successful.

AmWiser's avatar

Like you @Aster it’s hard for me to understand too. But I have to realize it is a legal sport and a competition for some. Communities incourage the sport to keep the deer population at a minimum. Some hunters also donate the meat to feed the hungry.

john65pennington's avatar

Without harvesting deer, the population would grow tremendously. this would cause more deer-related accidents on the interstate. i am not a deer hunter. but i agree this has to be done for people’s safety. its a recognized sport.

Aster's avatar

I had no idea that killing deer saves human lives. I really didn’t.

jlelandg's avatar


JustmeAman's avatar

Not only does it save human lifes it actually saves deers lifes. If there are too many deer for the food source then many will starve and die. This is called the winter kill. It is far better a deer be shot and go quickly than it is to have them starve over a couple of months.

Blackberry's avatar

No, they should be beating on their chests like gorrillas.

MissAusten's avatar

I would not enjoy hunting, but I also think there’s no need to demonize it. Stereotyping people who hunt as cold-blooded animal murderers who get a thrill out of killing as many poor innocent animals as possible is just as wrong as any other kind of stereotype.

If the boyfriend in question followed hunting laws and regulations and killed the deer in order to eat it, then good for him. I don’t think it’s in the best taste for his girlfriend to congratulate him publicly, but maybe she’s looking forward to deer meat chili or grilled venison tenderloin. He is helping to keep the deer population in check, especially if he lives someplace (like most places) where there are no longer natural predators. As others pointed out, overpopulation of deer causes many problems, from driving dangers to animals that starve and spread disease. Too many deer competing for food means more deer to come into your yard or garden and eat the plants you don’t want them to eat. As distasteful as hunting is to many people, in some cases it is necessary.

I have a lot of relatives who hunt. They mainly hunt deer, and they follow all of the laws. Whatever they kill, they eat. In the past several years, I’ve eaten not only deer but also moose and wild boar. There’s a big difference between someone who hunts for the challenge AND the meat than someone who gets off on torturing animals. A good hunter is skilled enough to prevent the animal from suffering.

The only drawback to human hunters vs. natural predators is that humans select their prey based on which animal is biggest and healthiest. Predators will choose weak, injured, and even diseased animals because they are easiest to catch. Human hunters may keep the population in check, but unlike natural predators they don’t also keep the population at its healthiest.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not by me. Ever.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Taking a life should never be an issue to be congratulated.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Well, if there are too many deers in the area the herd has to be thinned. Or I guess they could be left to starve. I think starving is more cruel than shooting a deer. I would also point out that many hunters who are “well fed” donate their felled deers to food banks and orphanages. There has to be population control for deer because we have killed off most of their predators for the areas deer live in. Wolves, mountain lions, etc.

crisw's avatar

Aster, see, we can agree on something!

No. The taking of a life is never an appropriate time for such celebration, and it makes me ill.

Without getting in to the arguments for and against hunting (but noting that most of the pro-hunting arguments are seriously flawed), the fact is that hunters take the lives of animals who, had they been given the choice, would have preferred to have gone on living and enjoying their lives.

Celebration at the death of an animal reduces the life of that animal to a score in a game. It is disrespectful.

Aethelwine's avatar

Sure, why not? It’s not my place to tell someone they can’t congratulate another for an accomplishment, and for feeding their family.

My husband bought a bow last year and he is looking forward to his first kill. I’ll congratulate him when he does, and I look forward to eating the meat.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aster Yeah….the deer can be dangerous. They jump out in front of people’s cars all the time here. I’ve never heard of anyone getting killed yet, but virtually everyone I know has had an encounter with a deer at 60 mph. I imagine it would be much worse if the population was unchecked. But…overall, I think that hunting for sport is just sadistic. I know of a man who goes hunting for bear in Alaska. Yeah, brave dude that he is, he cuts a hole in a 50 gallon barrel and puts bear bait in it. Then he goes and sits in a tree, and when the bear sticks his head in the barrel the guy shots the bear. Makes me sick. Makes me want to punch his big brave lights out.

Aster's avatar

So I guess neutering or some kind of contraception as opposed to killing would be too costly ):

Aster's avatar

@Dutchess_III I read this morning that hunting causes the deer to scatter and flee to the roads.
I know from experience that in the fall and winter they do run out in front of cars in Arkansas past dark.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aster Nah. I mean, that may be the case sometimes, but generally it happens when it’s dark and you can’t see them coming. People aren’t out hunting after dark. Unless they’re Bush’s VP.
As far as neutering…it wouldn’t really be feasible. And I doubt that you could find a way to introduce some contraceptive drug that would affect only the deer.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Well, there’s lots in the OP’s statement to not understand:

—How can anyone be a Christian evangelist?
—How can she congratulate someone for doing what she could have done just as easily?
—Why doesn’t he teach her how to hunt, drag and dress the deer, and stay home and congratulate her, instead?
—What’s to be ‘proud’ of unless the deer were a well-matched opponent for the hunter? (Some deer are smarter than their hunters, so if this was one of those cases, then I suppose I could congratulate him, too. The statement doesn’t say.)

In many parts of the country deer are essentially vermin.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CyanoticWasp They kinda are considered vermin here. Did you see what happened to my car in the picture I posted above? My husband was out of town, driving it at the time. I, personally, haven’t hit a deer. So far I’ve seen them in time, and I just stop and sit and look at them. They’re beautiful.

Aster's avatar

@Dutchess_III they are beautiful, aren’t they? So let’s blow their brains out “so we can feed the hungry. ” Yes, any visit to a homeless shelter you can view the masses chowing down on Venison. Yup. It’s a fact.

MissAusten's avatar

@Aster Where did anyone say that hordes of deer should have their brains blown out to feed the homeless? I can understand a deep love of animals, but let’s be rational about it. I’m sure there are hunters that are awful people. The bear hunting example above makes me ill. There are probably some hunters who feel a deep, connecting spirituality to the forest and the animals and behave in a noble, responsible way.

Most are probably somewhere in the middle. You cannot deny that overpopulation is a problem and that hunting is, in most areas, the only way to control this. Nothing else is feasible. Spaying or neutering millions of deer across the country would be impossible (who is going to catch them all? who is going to pay for the procedures? who is going to want to do it again each year when fawns are born?) Medical contraceptives, if such a thing exists for deer, would have to be administered regularly to be effective. Again, the sheer numbers of deer make this virtually impossible.

I, too, think deer are beautiful. I don’t want to see them starve, or see them have nothing to eat other than the foliage in my yard. It’s always sad to see one dead by the side of the road, and I think animal trophies are creepy. I also think venison tastes really good, and if someone shoots a deer (or runs over one) that they can’t eat and they give the meat to a food bank or shelter, that person is taking the time and effort to put the meat to good use instead of letting it rot.

And yes, it is a fact. My mom’s husband has given deer meat to shelters and food banks. In a good year, if he takes his limit of deer he can’t fit it all in his freezer, so he donates it. He’s also butchered deer that have been killed by cars and donated that meat. He sounds like a real asshole, doesn’t he?

Aster's avatar

@MissAusten the q concerned whether we should congratulate the ones who make the kill.
I know nothing about over-population or if deer are in starvation mode.

YoBob's avatar

Well, I guess it depends on how difficult a shot it was… ;)

Unfortunately I don’t have time to go into a long discussion about the role hunting/predation plays in the maintenance of healthy populations. Suffice it to say that, contrary to uninformed perception, hunting is about a whole lot more than going out and killing something just for the heck of it. Further, when it comes to issues of conservation of our natural resources hunters are generally some of the biggest supporters.

I find it sadly humorous the number of people who condemn hunters as inhumane sadists but have no problem eating meat from commercial sources. NEWSFLASH: Just because it is presented to you on a nice Styrofoam tray and sealed in plastic wrap does not make its consumption any more morally acceptable than eating wild harvested game (in fact, quite the contrary, IMHO).

Aethelwine's avatar

@YoBob I find it sadly humorous the number of people who condemn hunters as inhumane sadists but have no problem eating meat from commercial sources.

I completely agree. I’m sure these people have no problem giving congratulations to Uncle Bob for winning the annual rib cook-off. ;)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree @YoBob. But there is a difference between being in favor of the death penalty, and actually being the one who does the killing. It’s hypocritical. I agree. But you just have to wonder about someone who could look an animal in the eye, watch the animal moving, drinking, eating, being alive…and then kill it. Hopefully quickly. More often than not, though, I imagine the animals suffer first.

MissAusten's avatar

@YoBob Took the words right out of my keyboard. ;)

@Aster One of the great things about Fluther is how we are free to respond to all aspects of a question, including other users’ quips. I’m sorry that not all of us agree with your point of view, but in no way am I limited to only comment on your original question. If you know nothing about overpopulation leading to disease and starvation or how the lack of natural predators affects prey animals, then your opinion about hunting is based on a romantic notion. While pretty, it isn’t realistic.

Like @YoBob pointed out, the animals who provide the meat you buy at the grocery store (if you buy meat, that is) suffer much more than wild game that’s been hunted. If you have the stomach for it, google “feed lots” or “industrial farming” or just take a look at the videos on PETA’s website. Then, compare that to a show on one of those hunting channels.

@Dutchess_III That’s is why I couldn’t hunt. I also couldn’t raise a turkey, cow, pig, or chicken and then eat it. For thousands of years, though, it was what people did. We’re just very removed from that now and most people don’t give a thought to where that meat was before it was wrapped in plastic. I’m sure there is some suffering involved when wild game is hunted. If the hunter is good, the suffering is minimal and vastly less than the suffering domestic animals experience before being slaughtered.

YoBob's avatar


“But you just have to wonder about someone who could look an animal in the eye, watch the animal moving, drinking, eating, being aliveā€¦and then kill it. ”

Actually, I don’t wonder at all. In fact, most hunters I know are among the more stable and well adjusted people I have ever met.

IMHO, I think if you are going to eat meat you should be willing to participate in its harvest.

Aster's avatar

We had a pond with catfish. I caught one and couldn’t eat it as if it had been a pet or something .
ridiculous, I know.

Aster's avatar

@YoBob “I find it sadly humorous the number of people who condemn hunters as inhumane sadists but have no problem eating meat from commercial sources.” You see no difference?
Personally, I do have a growing problem eating meat and secondly, I didn’t pull the trigger. Thirdly, I have never considered hunters inhumane sadists. Sadists enjoy inflicting pain. I never thought hunters were like that. Inhumane is another question.

crisw's avatar


“You cannot deny that overpopulation is a problem and that hunting is, in most areas, the only way to control this.”

I can deny this.

Most hunted species have no problems with “overpopulation” at all. There are many species that are hunted other than deer.

Most areas with deer do not have serious overpopulation problems.

Even in areas with overpopulation issues, hunting does not usually serve to control overpopulation. Instead, populations are managed to ensure that there will be enough targets for the hunters.

Predators do a much better job of controlling populations than human hunters do. Yet there is not a state in the Union that offers protection to all of its carnivores. Instead, they are usually persecuted wth a vengeance; their populations kept as low as possible.

john65pennington's avatar

2nd comment.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the entire interstate system had wire fencing on each side of the road, in order to keep the deer in the woods and off the interstate?

YoBob's avatar


(regarding commercial meat sources vs. wild harvest) “You see no difference?”

Actually, I see an enormous difference and (IMHO) on all counts wild harvest wins out.

Humaneness – Wild game live a perfectly free an unfettered life until one day out of the blue smack. Compare that to the life of the average feed lot cow who spends his entire life in a pin until one day he is herded up a ramp and smack. Yep, I think the deer have it all over the cows on this one.

Environment – Wild game requires wild habitat and much attention is given to proper management to ensure it stays that way. Commercial beef production, OTHO, generally involves clear cutting rain forests or other natural areas that are then filled with enormous numbers of farting cows that also require vast areas of land to be farmed to keep them fed. Yep, I think the deer win again.

Health – Do we really need to talk about the stuff that gets injected into commercial beef?

crisw's avatar


Actually, wildlife underpasses are a far better alternative than fencing.

JustmeAman's avatar

@YoBob I agree completely.

Aster's avatar

@YoBob The deer don’t “win.” Nobody wins.

MeinTeil's avatar

Only if the individual intended to shoot the deer.

If it was the shooter’s intention to hit something else he should not be congratulated.

Anti hunting types, stick to things you understand.

YoBob's avatar

@Aster I quite disagree. If it were not for hunting many privately owned ranches would be used for raising commercial beef or other agricultural products rather than being kept as a habitat for wild populations. Ironically, the very fact that the deer are a game animal ensures that they will continue to have habitat in which to thrive. However, even if you don’t agree that the deer “win”, I would argue that humans who consume them win on several levels (see previous post).

mammal's avatar

i guess if i and the kids were real hungry and my man got me some dinner, i would be doing more than congratulating him ;) But in this gung ho, right wing context i would actually refuse him sex for the rest of his natural life :l

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

You do realize that the meat you get in the grocery store probably suffered from inhumane conditions before it was butchered, and the wild deer get to run free and are taken down quickly with one shot. It’s far more humane for deer hunters to bag a buck for food than it is to buy the tortured animals from the grocery’s meat department.

Hunting purely for sport is wrong, but hunting and eating the meat is great. As far as hunters taking down a deer for their well fed familes….. that makes no sense. So what if my family already has meat in the freezer? What’s the harm in putting some deer meat in there too? And when I have had deer meat, I share it with my entire family, including my in laws. Steak, stew meat, sausage, roast… it’s delicious meat, why let it go to waste when there are too many deer to begin with?

Besides, you do know that there’s a legal limit on how many you can kill, right? Stupid people who go out blasting away and shooting the deer all to hell are NOT respectable hunters. They’re poachers and bastards.

MissAusten's avatar

@crisw I don’t want to get into a battle of sources. I am going to take a nap too busy to spend the afternoon looking for credible sources and going back and forth. You may be right, and perhaps even without natural predators of any kind (and I agree with you completely on the idiocy of killing off those predators) prey animals keep themselves in check somehow. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

However, I still would have no problem with people hunting if they use the meat for food. I don’t see how it is any different from catching fish for your dinner, raising your own chickens, or even raising your own pigs and cows for meat.

iamthemob's avatar

Only if the deer shot first.

Wait…not even in that case.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, this thread is much more civilized than that other one. I think I’ll stay here.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

The main reason people I know go hunting is to get food that doesn’t cost as much. There’s the cost of the hunting license, but I’m pretty sure after that, it’s free. That’s nice, especially in these “tough times”.

MeinTeil's avatar

It’s laughable to argue with something man has done for many thousands of years.

iamthemob's avatar

@MeinTeil – Agreed! I laugh at the people who argue with men who think women should be oppressed, with people who think that we should look to sacred texts for factual accounts of how the world was made, with those who think we should slaughter populations of other people because they’re not like us.

I mean, we’ve done it for thousands of years! Obviously, it’s the way things should happen…


crisw's avatar


you beat me to it, darn you!

MeinTeil's avatar


I don’t quite get the connection.

iamthemob's avatar

@MeinTeil – Well, let’s break it down:

(1) you state it’s laughable to argue with something that man had done for many thousands of years.

(2) Therefore, it must be that anything that man has done for many thousands of years should not be argued with, because it is ridiculous to do so.

(3) It is appropriate, therefore, to find it ridiculous that anyone should argue against. e.g., the oppression of women (which has been done for thousands of years).

(4) If one is to attempt to argue with the practice of, e.g, the oppression of women, then it is clearly a laughable argument.

MeinTeil's avatar

May I call you Major Premise?

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I don’t see why people hunt for pride or prize. If your going to kill an animal it should be for food, protection, and clothing. No animal should die in vain at the hands of humans.
And it’s not only dear, almost any large animal is hunted for prize and pride including the majestic wolf.

iamthemob's avatar

@MeinTeil – as you please.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@daytonamisticrip And what would be the noble purpose for killing a wolf? What could you do with it so that it wouldn’t have died in vain? Tack the hide on a wall?

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@Dutchess_III There have been times when people have only been able to find certain animals and had to kill something to stay alive. Sometimes the animal would be a wolf. The hide would be used for keeping warm, the meat for food, etc.
For the record, I find it really disgusting how people can kill animals without really minding. If that’s what you have to do for food, that’s fine, but I hope I’m not anywhere near you!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ChocolateReigns Of course there was a time when hunting was a necessity. It’s something I could have done myself if I lived in that time. But that is no longer the case here in America.

mattbrowne's avatar

Some forms of hunting are needed to maintain the balance of our ecosystems. Human civilization has made a lot of predators disappear. Now, we must be the stand-in predators sometimes. But good rules and oversight is required.

Killing just for fun is wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Agreed, Matt.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@mattbrowne Would you consider a hunter that goes out and hunts to fill his freezer with meat as doing it “just for fun” or is the “just for fun” for the people that are just out to get trophies?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seaofclouds That would depend on whether the man had access to a grocery store.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III Why does having access to a grocery store matter. The animals that are raised to be killed for you to buy at the grocery store are treated very inhumanely in most situations and they get killed just like a deer out in the wild would. What’s the difference between buying something someone else killed and killing it yourself?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seaofclouds I understand that argument. I am an omnivore and I do eat meat, and if I had to hunt for it myself I would when I needed to. But I don’t need to and I’m glad because I would NOT enjoy it. I don’t understand people who do.
I guess hunting for no reason could be compared to a guy who worked at a slaughterhouse saying he really enjoyed killing the cows.
My legs are getting tired here!

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dutchess_III I won’t make you run back and forth any longer. As I said in the other thread about hunting, since you consider all hunting and all hunters to be in the same category, we will never agree. You think just because we can buy meat in a grocery store, we have no need to hunt meat for our family to eat. I see it differently. I think having the means and ability to get the meat on our own is better than buying it from people that treat animals inhumanely. You’d rather support those that treat animals inhumanely than get your own meat. We just see things differently, nothing wrong with that. :-)

iamthemob's avatar

I’m with @Seaofclouds on this one. Buying meat in a grocery store is literally unnatural. The fact that we can get it so easily makes us eat more of it than we should be. Further, as mentioned, the animals used for the meat in grocery stores are often treated in a horrifying manner. But we don’t care because we don’t have to look the animal in the eye.

Hunting for meat in a responsible manner (where you respect the balance of the population) can be a much more respectful way to get meat. The animal, you know, has had a free life, hasn’t been subjected to human cruelty, etc. You also have the opportunity to use all parts of the animal that you can, and so there isn’t any waste associated with it.

In the end, it’s also more likely that, if you had to stare the animal in the eye to kill it in order to eat meat, you’d do it when you needed it…not just when you wanted it. (you, of course, in the general sense…and including me).

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, you don’t ever enjoy a good steak @iamthemob? Or bar-b-que ribs?

iamthemob's avatar

Not really. I haven’t had either, as far as I can remember, for at least a couple of years now.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Seaofclouds – Well, I think it depends how abundant the animals they shoot are. When there are plenty I see no problem filling the freezer. When there are too many because of the lack of predators it’s also about keeping our ecosystems in tact.

snowberry's avatar

If she/he has a hungry family to feed, absolutely!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I seriously doubt he had a hungry family to feed. American’s get their food at the grocery store. He was shooting for sport, nothing more.

snowberry's avatar

Are you are assuming this woman’s boyfriend has money, or enough money to live on, or that her father gives him money?

I might be rolling in money, but if suddenly tragedy happens, I’m gonna need more. Hunting for my own food can actually save me money.

YoBob's avatar

Hmm… a choice between methane farting, deforesting, hormone injected, inhumanely raised meat from a commercial fead lot or sustainably raised, totally hormone free, free range wild harvested meat. Perhaps he should be congratulated for the positive environmental impact of his dietary choices rather than for the harvest of the deer.

snowberry's avatar

Agreed @YoBob And in some areas the deer are so over populated they starve during a bad winter. This is because there’s no hunting allowed and no predators to harvest them, so instead they get turned to blobs of mangled meat on the highways.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Depends on why, in my opinion. My son-in-law is out elk hunting right now. He has also brought home longhorns and deer. He has the meat done up by a professional butcher, and shares it with me and my other children. We aren’t starving, but money is tight and the meat helps out. @Dutchess_III Not everyone was raised with the idea that food only comes from the grocery store. I plant my own garden, freeze and can the produce, My sons fish for trout and catfish. My friend raises rabbits for meat, and chickens for eggs. My father has raised lambs and goats, and gone squirrel hunting when times were rough. I love the feeling of self-sufficiency. Maybe it comes from being raised in an agricultural area rather than the urban jungle.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Personally I don’t hunt,but the mule deer population has exploded here in the interior of B.C on my haul I see 5 to 6 dead deer that have been hit by vehicles daily, causing great damage and sometimes injury to motorists, my self I have killed 5 deer in the past 4 years with my transport truck, one cause just over $3000 damage to a semi,think what they do to a car or pickup truck, the predators that used to keep these populated deer herds in check have been killed off and pushed out by Ranchers and Farmers,So I thank God for law abiding deer hunters and wished more would take up the sport.

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