Dear Deer .....

Nothing about Zuni fetishes today. Just some thoughts on deer hunting since this beautiful fall day is the first day of deer season. Though my beloved dad was a true Texas sportsman, Dave hunts occasionally, and I have enjoyed my fair share of venison, I am crossing my fingers that all "my" deer will stay safe. I know it's an unrealistic expectation and the truth is that too many of them is not good for the deer or for those of us who live with them.

My handsome Dad at the deer camp

Still, I sincerely hope that the majority of the hunters who go into the woods this weekend and come out with meat for their family recognize and appreciate the animal's sacrifice. I wonder how many of them will carry a Zuni fetish in their pocket? And I wonder how many of them enjoyed watching the sunrise while they sat in their favorite tree stand and considered their good fortune to just be in the woods.

Darlene (right) & her friend Belinda, Deer camp, 1961.

(The dog being strangled is named Cindy. And just for the record,
the only reason I tolerated that goofy hat my mother made we wear was because I was also wearing my cowboy boots and ANYTHING
looks better with cowboy boots!)

Deer hunting, for my family when I was growing up, was not just the thrill of the hunt (though my father told more than one story of having rampant "buck fever!") It was late summer nights spent in Daddy's workshop building and painting his deer blind or making tin reflectors that were hung on trees to note the direction (by jeep headlight) to a particular stand. It was Labor Day weekend with all the other families dove hunting and rebuilding or installing new stands and when we were all too hot, it was swimming in the Pedernales river. Deer season was the culmination of a year long get-together with other families that we'd known for years. It was meal planning, bunk beds, fires in the woodstoves, checking your shoes for scorpions, too many people for one (indoor!) bathroom and filling up the hand warmers with fuel before we all went to bed. Does anyone even use those things any more? I have so many fond memories of the deer camp so I can't begrudge the idea of deer hunting. Just be careful and considerate out there, remember to say thank you and please don't be wasteful!

No comments: