OK, I admit it. With the deer hunting season behind us, I felt a twinge of guilt for killing the animals that we so delight in watching and photographing the rest of the year.
But then, as we enjoy venison roast, or stew, or lasagna, or loin, I rationalize that humans also are a part of a cycle. We can be predators. And other creatures may benefit from my taste for deer meat.
After we shot and gutted a deer within sight of the house, we witnessed the food chain first hand. Under cover of darkness, the coyotes devoured the easy pickings: intestines, lungs, kidneys, and a few other delicacies. The next morning, a red-tailed hawk checked out the carcass for another fresh meal. Then came the crows, quickly gleaning the best of the leftovers.
Following the initial feast, more than a foot of snow buried the paunch and some other gristly remnants. When times got tough after a siege of cold and storms, however, an enterprising trio of crows re-found the hidden remains. They came back to the weeks-old carcass to search for any edible scrap they might have missed. The hors d’oeuvres were aged, to say the least, but the birds apparently found a little nourishment.
Still, the crows left enough goodies to attract a downy woodpecker, who busily pecked and poked in search of even more tidbits.
Come spring, I’m betting that the snails and worms and insects will move in for a final once-over to make the banquet complete.
So I got my venison lasagna, and a whole host of other creatures get their dinners, too!