For weeks, former suburbanite Eli Arnow had spent his mornings and evenings stalking deer in the woods around his new home in New York’s Hudson Valley. Besides killing a chipmunk or two as a kid, he was new to hunting, and he was starting to get discouraged: He’d only gotten a few shots within range and they were all misses. Then one November day, he looked out the window to see a deer — not only on his own lawn but right in front of his archery target.
He didn’t hesitate. He ran downstairs and grabbed his crossbow, stepped outside, and pulled the trigger. When he saw the deer hit the ground, he didn’t feel sadness or guilt. Instead, he experienced a sense of purpose. “I felt like, for the first time in my life, [I] was participating in an ecological process,” he said.
Across the United States, the deer population has ballooned in recent years to an estimated 30 million. Once a rare sight, deer have become something of a pest, spreading disease and causing fatal car accidents at an increasing rate. But for people like Arnow, who has a background in environmental science, the biggest issue is the impact of too many deer on the fores... Read more