The numbers prove it. Realtree fans north, south, east and west live and breathe deer hunting. These guys do, too. Hansen’s from Michigan, Brantley’s from Kentucky, and chances are their version of hunting whitetails is a lot like yours.
Is This Deer Video Real?
This video of Ohio turkey hunters Steve Hunt and Rick Lehman feeding a doe Pringles is making the rounds on the outdoor blog circuit. It is a neat video (credit goes to WCPO in Cincinnati), and most of the posts I’ve seen have focused on the novelty of it.
I hate to be the bad guy here. That doe snacking on chips and getting her ears scratched is cute. But at times, a writer's job at times is to be skeptical. Raise eyebrows. Ernest Hemingway said, "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof s!#% detector."
Well, several things about this video tripped my detector's trigger. See if you agree.
- I don't think that's the wild, curious deer that the video implies. I bet she was bottle-fed as a fawn, and some house nearby still regards her as a "pet." You see that happen fairly often when people rescue “abandoned” fawns in the spring and raise the animals at home. The deer grow up and are released. They mingle just fine with other wild deer, but they have no fear of humans, and will readily do such things as eat potato chips out of your hand.
- What's the deal with that reporter's analysis? He says the hunters, “never thought of shooting her. To them, this was a sign of sorts, re-instilling the values they carry with them in the field.” So I assume he actually asked if they thought of shooting her. Beyond the fact that unleashing a turkey load on a deer that's eating from your hand would be, you know, messed up, the video was filmed in April. Deer season had been closed for months. I couldn't imagine working on a story and being that ill-informed of the subject. Makes me a little embarrassed of my journalism degree.
- Hansen brought up a good point. Habituating a wild animal to humans usually ends poorly for the animal. Nature is harsh, and game animals aren't people or pets. Chances are a hunter will kill this doe this fall. How would that follow-up story go? I'm betting the hunter wouldn't be portrayed too favorably. These guys should've thought of that.
- Finally, I'm not accusing Hunt and Lehman of anything. But I hope that feeder where they've set their spread of decoys is empty. Turkey hunting over bait is illegal in Ohio. I think if I was filming a hunt and planning to show it to the public, I'd pull that feeder out of there. Empty or not.
So what's your take? Do I need to stop being such a cynic and just enjoy a cute deer video for what it is? Or does it trigger your detector, too?