BUCK FEVER: The Deer Hunting Tradition in Pennsylvania by Mike Sajna

BUCK FEVER: The Deer Hunting Tradition in Pennsylvania

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A history and intelligent defense of deer hunting by outdoors columnist Sajna. ""The goal,"" Sajna writes, ""may be to kill a deer, but the actual shooting comprises the tiniest part of the experience."" He goes back as much as 14,000 years to describe and explain that experience and examines it from numerous angles: the practical use made of every portion of the animal by American Indians; the ritualistic, quasi-religious aspect of the hunt for the ""Monarch of the Woods""; the negative and positive roles of deer hunting in the ecological balance; and the author's personal experience in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. ""No thinking hunter,"" says Sajna, ""is completely at ease with killing."" Alternating historical chapters with sections on a recent hunting trip to the Allegheny National Forest, where he has hunted with his father since his youth, the author differentiates between the ""market hunters"" of a century ago and today's hunter-sportsman. The former would unrestrictedly, by any and all means, slaughter literally thousands of deer in a lifetime; the modern hunter may go for years before bagging that first buck. Sajna points out that not even 20% of whitetail deer hunters are actually successful. The ""Pumpkin Army""--so named for the blaze-orange hats, coats, and leggings worn in the forest--is generally made up of white, middle-class males in search of camaraderie, challenge, recreation, and the proximity of nature and wildlife. Recognizing an imperfect system and that ""hunting is a privilege, not a right,"" Sajna strongly urges American sportsmen to adopt the German system of ""mandatory classes on every aspect of the sport before [the hunter] can obtain a license."" A heartfelt, persuasive book that should be read by interested parties, for or against hunting.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press