Red Card Roberts
Ryan Summerlin September 21, 2010
When I first set out to write this column, I sent an email plea to everyone in my address book. "Please," I begged, "send me ideas for this weekly feature!"
I went on to give a number of column-worthy examples: "It could be about your annual neighborhood hacky-sack tournament, what you do to pass the time on the chairlift when it gets stuck, the underwear you insist on wearing every race because they bring you good luck, the guy you know who has one leg, two heads, rubber bands for arms and does triathlons, your neighbor who made up a new sport using two pillowcases and a paperclip… Anything recreation related I don’t care! I only have one rule: I want nothing to do with killing animals. So no hunting stories for me."
Well, that lasted five weeks.
This week’s column: Deer hunting.
But it’s not for lack of ideas. Rather, a slight shift in perspective. And all because of a haircut.
Last week I sat down to get my curly locks trimmed by my hair stylist, Jessie Jarvis. I asked her what her weekend plans were.
"I’m going deer hunting with my husband," she told me.
Now, if you were going to stereotype someone based on appearance, you would likely imagine Jessie to carry a little foo-foo dog in her purse as she gets her nails done and shops for designer labels. I’ve never seen her wear anything but pink, and she always looks like she just stepped off a magazine cover. So, needless to say, I was not expecting the brutal murder of an innocent deer to be on her weekend agenda.
And though I wanted to tell her right then and there I’m a proud, card-carrying member of PETA, frankly, she’s got a pair of scissors to my hair. So instead, I squeak out, "You hunt?"
"Yes. I love it. My husband and I go all the time. It’s so much fun," she replies.
I glance at the scissors slicing away the dead ends. I weigh biting my tongue against the possibility of being bald. I decide to leave out adjectives like "barbaric" and "inhumane" and in the most passive-aggressive way possible, state my case.
"You know, humans are the only animals with the capability to want to die. I mean, you never hear of a cow committing suicide."
Jessie replies, "Well, it’s better than them getting hit by a car or starving or freezing to death in the winter."
While I know there is some validity to this argument, I still struggle with the idea of killing an animal that is so sweetly and dopily unassuming as a deer. Heck, I still cry when I watch Bambi. But those scissors are still precariously close to my face.
"So, I guess you like the taste of deer meat," is the only thing I can think to say that might save me from having one-inch bangs.
"I actually don’t. We donate the meat to a charity called Hunters for the Hungry. We take them the animal and they butcher it and send the meat to homeless shelters."
And with that one statement, suddenly my self-righteous animal activism stance wavered, just slightly.
Yes, I’d much rather hunters put down their weapons and don an apron. I think it’d be lovely if they donated, say, a loaf of bread, to homeless shelters rather than the wildlife I enjoy spotting on my hikes. They could even call their new charity "Bakers for the Broke."
But the reality is, people are always going to consider hunting a sport. And until deer are allowed gun permits, they are always going to be on the losing end of it. But at least I now can find a small amount of humanity in an activity I consider rather inhumane feeding people who are down on their luck, with an animal whose luck has run out.
Amy Roberts is the public relations director for Park City Medical Center. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. In her spare time, she can be found skiing, mountain biking, hiking, running, and playing soccer.