October 09, 2013 - "In my opinion, not enough people have looked their dinner in the eyes and considered the circle of life."
– Ron Swanson, libertarian, bacon lover, real man
In order for human beings to live, something else must die. That's a basic, unalterable fact of life.
We kill and eat animals to live.
We kill and eat plants to live.
Carnivores, herbivores and omnivores all end the lives of other organisms in order to continue their own existence. Whether you believe in God, Science, New Age hokum or Nothing At All, life is what it is.
I'm reflecting on the Circle of Life this week after having attended and covered the MI Buck Pole Big Buck Bash Saturday at The Burning Oak Smokehouse. See the story and photos on Page 14.
Prior to this event, Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn and I received a few complaints about the restaurant erecting a temporary buck pole.
These individuals felt it was inappropriate, distasteful and barbaric to hang dead deer in such a visible spot along M-24. Some wondered if it was an ordinance violation – we checked, it's not. Some felt it was particularly wrong to subject children to what they believe is a gruesome spectacle. While they certainly have a right to their opinion, I must respectfully disagree.
Frankly, I see nothing wrong with children seeing dead deer that were legally and responsibly harvested by men and women who engage in a traditional, family-friendly sport that provides them with fresh, chemical-free, low-fat meat and controls a population of animals that could easily meet worse fates – such as starvation and speeding SUVs – if not properly managed.
This is not something to be hidden away in the shadows. This is not something to be ashamed of. This is a fact of life, particularly in a state like Michigan.
Instead of chastising the restaurant and attempting to shield children from the buck pole, parents could have used it as a teaching moment – an opportunity to explain life and death, and why hunting is necessary.
Unfortunately, the further our society gets from the farm and the woods, the more sanitized, unnatural and unrealistic life becomes. We forget that man is by nature a predator.
Children need to be protected from many horrible things in this world – criminals, disease, war, Miley Cyrus.
But children do not need to be protected from the basic facts of life, the natural role of animals and how human beings use animals to survive.
Besides, kids see dead animals all the time.
When they go to the grocery store, they see various animal parts neatly packaged for consumption. They even see live lobsters waiting to meet their end, which involves a pot of boiling water and some clarified butter.
As their parents drive them along roads like M-24, they see dead deer – not to mention raccoons, squirrels, opossums, birds and unfortunately, dogs and cats.
During the fall, kids will see hunters' vehicles with dead deer strapped to them.
They'll even see photos submitted to their local newspaper of successful hunters, many of whom are kids.
My point is having a buck pole for one day along M-24 isn't inappropriate, it isn't illegal, and it isn't going to do irreparable damage to local kids' mental health.
Some kids will think it's super cool. Some kids will think it's totally gross. Some kids will ask lots and lots of questions. Some kids won't notice or care.
Sometimes a buck pole is just a buck pole.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.