Photo from recent press conference held by Buck the Buck and Hank Buck, as reported and?photographed? by Peter Gullerud.
November 9, 2007
Dear Mountain Enterprise:
I’d like to thank Stan McCuen for his kind words regarding my piece from a deer’s point of view [Hunters and Huntees, October 26]. In the same vein, I’d like to keep the dialogue friendly, upbeat and without malice or name-calling (both ways). As a fellow artist, I can appreciate Mr. McCuen’s wildlife art and desires to see more interest given [to local art] whether from ecotourists or local consumers.
As a dude who grew up in the heart of Wisconsin, I can appreciate the desire for the PR he feels is necessary for the hunting culture. I have cousins, nephews, one brother-in-law and even a second niece who hunt deer! Like you, they eat what they hunt. I wrote what I suppose could be rightfully labeled an "anti-hunting" item from my own personal reflections and revelations and may thus come off a bit "preachy" at times. When this happens, please remember that I, like you, have a passion for my own culture, a culture that expresses its love for wildlife in a different way.
Oh…and to Mr. Sherfey: I was not comparing deer hunters to the KKK. Someone recently told me that Mount Abel was named after a man who was a Klan member. Please do not fall prey to the fault of which you accuse animal rights activists: that of making knee jerk assumptions….
That being said, I was walking around said mountain just the other day and took the photograph above.
Apparently, the deer who wrote Huntees has a name. His friend Hank was also there and, much to my astonishment, they had set up a small table complete with iced tea, Whole Foods® veggie-biscuits and salt sticks.
Microphones were ready for a press conference, but unfortunately only one other person was there, an 11-year-old girl who recently interviewed Jane Goodall at the Griffith Observatory [Chloe Ladd, Meeting Jane Goodall in the November '07 issue of The Mountain Pioneer]. The girl and I set about our task anyhow, with relish (no mustard).
* * * * *
Peter: (Ahem) This is quite unusual, to say the least, I must say, um, Mr. …
Deer#1: Buck, please call me Buck. I know it’s repetitive, Buck the Buck. My parents have a sick sense of humor.
Peter: Mr. Buck.
Buck: And this is my friend.
Hank. And please, no ‘misters.’ Pretend you’re working for Disney.
Peter: Well, in the immortal words of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, "alrighty then." Um, Buck, well, we were wondering if you’d like to comment on recent proposals to encourage a more welcoming attitude toward hunters in this area.
Buck: Yes I would. As you might guess, I have somewhat of a vested interest in this area. Hank and I, and just about everyone I know really, live here. We’ve been carving out our living and trails ever since the Chumash harvested us centuries ag––
Hank: Excuse me, Buck, but stop right there. That word "harvesting" really chews my cud. It’s "killing." Pure and simple. From now on in this interview, I’d like us all to talk frankly on this subject. No fluffy words that conceal something painful. We’re not talking about "bringing in the sheaves" here. We’re not oats for Pete’s sake.
Peter: Heaven’s sake.
Buck: My friend does have a point.
Hank: Actually six.
Peter: Okay. For the sake of any deer that may be reading this week’s Enterprise, we’ll call it killing. But, mind you, Thanksgiving is coming and I will not let this article get into terminology like "it’s murder time for turkeys" or no one will even want to listen to us.
Buck: Good point.
Little Girl: (giggles) Peter’s head is pointy.
Buck: (chuckles and reaches for a salt stick)
Hank: (stares blankly ahead, adjusting his microphone stand)
Peter: Okay then. Buck, you were about to make a point ––er, a reference to the local Indian tribes ––
Buck: Well, yeah! I mean, nowadays hunting is not a necessity for you people. Omnivores like you and your little friend here––
Girl: I’m a herbivore.
Peter: Well, actually, you’re an omni––
Girl: I know, Einstein. But I choose to be a herbivore. Or a vegetarian, if you must split hairs.
Peter: Well, I was only ––
Buck: May I continue, please? (pause) As I was saying, you guys kill cows and chickens and pigs and lobsters every day and process these victims through your local grocery stores in numbers that Hank and I find alarming!
Peter: Some hunters may say that is the point––
Buck: But my point is you do it enough to where your plates are already full. Therefore, hunting (killing) deer, bear, raccoons, bobcats, and so on is done purely for the "sport" of it. Or the "fun" of it, if you will. A real consequence of this yearly event is yes, food on your table, but that isn’t the main objective.
Peter: You have a p––. A good observation. I mean, when I go fishing––
Girl: You fish?!
Peter: Well, I have as recently as last summer, but to be honest with you, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately–– Girl: Fish feel pain, too.
Peter: I grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes…that’s a lot of conditioning. Cut me some slack, kid.
Hank (sarcarstically while rolling his antlers in slow figure eights): I grew up in 10,000 lakes!
Peter: Not in. The lakes.
Girl: I think we’re digressing. You know, you guys, Jane Goodall says she stopped eating meat because she saw pain, fear and suffering when she looked down on a plate of dead flesh. I don’t think I could have put it more eloquently.
Peter: I know. I know. I read the Pioneer article. (Cute chimp puppet, by the way). But .. but .. when Mr. McCuen described lobsters dripping in butter… I hate to admit it, but my mouth started watering…
Hank: That’s it. I don’t think I can handle anymore of this––
Buck: Hey, Pete. Ever see that movie Alive?
Peter: Yes. But people taste bad.
Buck: And they didn’t have George Foreman grills up there, either. Hank and I taste pretty weird unless we’re cooked, too, you know. Human jerky. Now that’s something I’d like to try…
Girl: I wanna throw up somewhere.
Peter: Okay, okay. I forgot who I’m talking with here. A harvested species.
Hank: Thank you. And I won’t even correct your choice of words.
Peter: Let me bring up a point that Mr. Sherfey says in the latest issue of The Mountain Enterprise. In his Op Ed piece he says hunters keep a "balance" of the herds in the Los Padres National Forest and you guys would be suffering if they didn’t harv–– kill you so often.
Buck: Peter, when’s the last time you saw a mountain lion?
Peter: Well we all know they are shy creatures, but honestly, at Tippi Hedren’s sanctuary in a pen.
Buck: Yes. And even wolf packs who used to be all over the American landscape, are now only in sparse areas like Yellowstone and the Midwest. Dying, my friend, from any attack, be it bullet, arrow or carnivore teeth, isn’t a cakewalk. But to be honest, I’d much rather have a mountain lion take me down, and make sure I’m dead in seconds, than to be hit by an arrow, miss my heart, and go off limping to die somewhere a slow miserable death.
Hank: Or a bullet that misses.
Peter: Does that happen often?
Buck: (laughs) Peter, like Mr. Sherfey says, do some research.
Peter: Well, I am a tree hugger. We don’t do much of that, you know.
At this point, Hank snorted something about his fourth stomach needing some attention and Buck said something about getting a website going. I took the cub reporter’s hand and walked her back to her parents’ campsite. A gunshot was heard way off in the distance and ahe looked up at me and glared: "You kill fish?!"
Sheepishly, I kicked some deer moss and said, "Well, yeah. But…." And I realized that I, like the deer hunters, have a lot to work on.
This is part of the November 16, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.