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The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Fall 2010 Issue
By Laurie Crawford Stone
Grief and loss are cumulative. Year after year more beloved deer are
killed by urban bow hunters. I moved to a wooded city property because I
love watching wildlife. Over the years I have taken thousands of photos and
have come to recognize many individual deer by their faces and sometimes an
injured leg. Over the years, a particular doe, Sadie, has repeatedly adopted
orphaned fawns. Two of the orphans would often stand together on the
retaining wall waiting for food.
One of those orphans, Sweetie, now an adult, came to the wall in July 2009
with a metal ring caught on her foot. She had twins. She was skeletal. She
came daily and she gained weight. She approached me. I sensed she wanted me
to remove the ring. It weighed her foot down. She would turn her foot under
for relief as she stood eating. I plotted with a friend how we might remove
the ring. If we could cover her face, she would be less afraid.
One September morning after a torrential rain, Sweetie came into my yard
with the metal ring gone! I could still see the indentation where the ring
had been. She was still limping and holding her foot under. I fell to my
knees in prayer and gratitude for this miracle. My joy was short- lived.
Sweetie was gone all winter. I assumed a hunter had killed her. She
returned in July 2010 with another set of twins, her hock still indented
from the ring. I was ecstatic to see her. The 2010 hunt started September
11th. September 24th I found a dead doe with an arrow in her face. I was
horrified. I had to look, though, to see if she was Sadie or Sweetie. She
was not. She was a nursing doe who had obviously suffered before dying from
this non-vital shot.
I attended a hunter orientation class. Hunters are told to shoot the deer
in the vital organs. This hunter’s shot caused immeasurable suffering. He
did not find the doe’s body, despite the fact she climbed onto a brush pile
in the adjacent yard to die. The neighbor was enraged. In Cedar Rapids, the
hunter does not need adjacent property owner permission. Since fatally
wounded deer can travel 250-300 yards, most wounded deer will enter adjacent
property. Non-consenting adjacent property owners have no rights or recourse
unless a hunter enters their property with a weapon.
October 17th Sweetie showed up with an arrow wound in her side. I was
devastated and immobilized with grief. I knew the inevitable outcome. Three
days later I found another dead doe who had been shot through the face. This
doe was found less than a block away from the first doe. The Hunt Manager
came out to see her and asked if I could provide names of hunted properties.
He said he’d try to identify the hunter. I have provided names and have had
no response to emails. Wounded, un-retrieved deer are to be reported within
12 hours. None of these does were reported.
Sweetie returned October 24th at dusk with her fawns. She approached the
wall and stood there until I came out. I think she was again asking for
help. I will never know because she hasn’t been back. Her fawns have been
coming alone. Perhaps Sweetie was telling me good-bye and showing her fawns
where they can be safe when she is gone. Knowing that she will suffer from
this wound as the infection from the embedded, unsterilized arrow slowly
kills her is almost more than I can bear.
Bow hunting has ripple effects. Fawns are orphaned. Does cannot protect
their young. Cumulative grief and loss, for survivors – deer and human - is
devastating. Sadie is the only survivor from the original deer family. I
pray daily that she will continue to live. I love her so.
Laurie Crawford Stone is an attorney who lives in IA. She is a wildlife
watcher and protector, wildlife photographer and writer.
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