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From 28 September 2003 Issue

A True Story: The Bucks Stop Here!
By M. Joy Katz - Gentle World - gentle@aloha.net
co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm

I came to the forest as a haven from mans' world, to find the peace that dwells in the woods, the meadow and hills. I lived in quiet solitude with the trees, my elders, who exemplified longevity and growing upward. I lived here harmoniously with the deer, the squirrels and chipmunks. With them, I shared my compost (avocado pits and all) and my Love. It was a magical reality.

A young buck, I called Bambi, felt little fear and decided to hang around camp for the yummy fruit/veggie rinds and sincere feelings of elation that occurred because of his presence. He ventured very close to me, literally a foot away. He showed up like clockwork at our tent first thing in the morning. Like a dog, he came when I called, and followed where I led him. (Probably in hopes that I was leading him to the compost bucket!) He usually came with that same clan consisting of two doe of different sizes and a fawn. The fawn often nuzzled Bambi, following him, and crying out for him in "fawn talk." Bambi took care of the fawn like a big brother. (I later noticed some protruding little bumps above the brow on the fawn; it was a baby buck!)

This year in particular, the bucks hung around with us at the campsite in the national forest we visited annually. There was a four-pointed "Little Buck" who always stayed with "Big Buck," a very handsome six pointer. "Little Buck" was the most shy of humans.

Then a horrible madness darkened this magical reality of befriending the wild deer. (Yes, these were wild deer whose other experiences with humans were that of being stalked and preyed upon.) Bow and arrow buck hunting season had begun. Men, who were perfectly within their legal rights, (the laws of man; not God) came stalking these gentle beings that would not even think of hurting them! I felt as though I was living through a wartime enemy invasion and that our camp was a refuge from the insane cruelty that people, who physically resemble me, inflict on deer. I was never so upset about being part of the human race.

I wondered how could humans who look so similar perceive things so differently? How could they think of killing, especially when all around them were trees transforming to a radiant golden color? Any sane parent would be taking their child to witness this miracle of life, but I had the distinct displeasure of seeing parents bring their children to the forest to teach them to kill one of the most beautiful animals on the face of the Earth.

I came home from a walk one day to find one such hunter invading the privacy of my tent area. This man, another man, and an eight-year-old boy were responsible for shooting Little Buck. The hunter claimed to kill him, though he had never been found (alive or dead) even after hours of searching. That day was a living nightmare.

These hunters had threatened to kill another buck when they returned in three hours, if they didn't find the one they had already shot. Later when they returned, they drove up and saw me with Bambi, not a foot away. I screamed to scare Bambi away from them. He listened to me as always, though it took a couple of screams. As it turned out, the hunters were impressed by how tame the four-pointed buck was, and said that they had no interest in killing him. This made me think if hunters only know how close we could be, how much like us they are, and that they have families and relationships, perhaps, then, they would not kill the deer.

Days later, Big Buck returned with Bambi. He was wounded in the groin area, with a sizable patch of dried blood on his leg and a limp that showed especially when he ran. He was more skittish of me than before, but trusted that he could find a shelter of love from the frightening world of man. He and Bambi were standing side by side and looking curiously at me. Big Buck became "Prince Charming" at that moment (because Big Buck is not a great code name with hunters on the loose in buck hunting season!).

The next morning, a seven-pointed buck, who was obviously protecting him because he was wounded, gallantly escorted him. He brought him to the front door of my tent at dawn. What magnificence to behold! He left once he had brought the wounded buck to me along with a dozen doe and fawns, and Bambi. All I could think of was healing "Prince Charming" with my love, a song, and extra special good peels! Eventually, the seven-pointer became a regular at camp, too. He was given the name Sir Galahad.

Each day, we as a group, guarded and protected the bucks, reported to each other as to their whereabouts, spoke to the hunters when necessary, and most importantly, raised our consciousness in the hopes of saving them.

A cold snap hit the woods and Prince Charming had not been seen. I worried that this would be detrimental to his healing. But, ah Indian summer warmth spread though the woods and Prince Charming showed up regularly, seemingly to be healing. Bambi would peep his face in the tent windows in the morning, and what a joy for us all when the two big bucks would come running up daily for meals. For their safety, we would slowly feed them trying to keep them with us 'til dusk.

It is a triumphant feeling for my soul that even after being wounded by a hunter and perhaps loosing Little Buck, that Prince Charming could sense the difference between those who would hurt him and us, and still appear at our campsite. And though we look like the same species as others they've encountered, Bambi, Prince Charming, Sir Galahad, all the adorable curious fawns and the doe who bravely eat from our hands, would all testify that we are not the same species. They have studied us much by looking on curiously.

They've even figured out that our vegan dog who lay basking in he sun paying them no attention, is, in fact, not a coyote (though I had seen one and it resembled our dog in size and look). THE DEER FELT OUR VEGANISM!!! (Guess it takes one to know one!)

It is a privilege to be judged by these animals as worthy of their trust. I have realized from many loving experiences with animals that when we stop eating them and their bodily fluids, and stop wearing their skins or exploiting them in any way, our reward is their friendship! Their friendship is, by far, the greatest of the many rewards of the vegan diet and lifestyle. Their friendship is no less than a blessing from God. It is one of the purest and sweetest feelings we humans can know.

Go on to CHOICE: Consumers for Healthy Options In Children's Education
Return to 28 September 2003 Issue
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