The Dear Hunter

Early this spring, we received a letter from the Cleveland Metroparks, like we do every year at that time. Subject: Thinning of the deer, a management program.

No, they are not put on a diet. It is a more pleasant way of saying, “Time to shoot and kill deer.”

Apparently they overpopulate, as do we, and somebody’s got to go!

Starving is their alternative. That agonizing death makes the quicker way okay, I guess. Feeding them is not the answer. In fact, that would cause unnatural chaos and make the problem much worse. It is important to keep ‘the wild’....’wild.’

My home is near the Metropark Reservation and the golf course, so I am privy to all that goes on surrounding my neighborhood.

I always enjoy seeing the deer. I have lived here ten years and still run to the window, then step outside, camera in hand, hoping to get a good ‘shot.’  I don’t even mind them mowing down my Hostas. Hey, that’s what I get for planting ‘deer salad’ near their home.

Even though I believe it’s a necessary evil, that familiar chill runs down my spine as I open that envelope. Seeing the roadblocks in the Metroparks makes it all very clear.

I picture some of their faces in my head, hoping the assassin team has a ‘sure fire’(it just keeps happening) method for which deer are best to remove from this planet.

Maybe the deer are such an annoyance to those park employees, mostly interested in plant and tree survival, that all that death comes as a relieving resolution. But who really knows what they are thinking.

When I worked at The Cleveland Zoo, I assumed we were all there for the love of animals. That was not the case with a few whom I worked with directly.

* * *

There is a large albino buck that lives in the area. I have seen him in my backyard now and then over the years. I’ve followed him more than once trying to get a fascinating picture. He is camera-shy, so my picture here is a bit ‘fuzzy.’

I always wonder if I will see him again after March when the program is finished. What a shame if he were hit in the crossfire.

I have faith that no man or woman [affiliated with our park system] would purposely take out such a majestic anomaly, unless of course, he is injured or clearly starving.

I will observe this winter, with hope.

* * *

 There’s a short story I often share about what I observed two years ago during the management program. It still makes me teary.

 I heard shots...

 I went to my favorite window that gives me a clear view of the park ravine. There, I saw what looked to be a family of deer. A female sitting and two smaller deer near her. In front of them stood a large buck. He was gazing toward the sound of the gunshot, standing tall, as if to guard them.

What a powerful, sweet and sad image that was. It was a sight I won’t soon forget, if ever.

* * *

As for those of you that hunt for sport: The next time you are proudly perched in an ‘unfair advantage’ hunter tree stand, or on the ground proudly hiding and stalking the innocent ....take a minute before you pull that trigger...

Look into those big brown eyes...Think! may be taking out a little ones mother or father.

Lauren Falcione

Lauren Falcione is a Fairview Park writer as well a the creator and  proprietor of the Blonde Italian sauces series whose Web site can be found at

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 11:03 AM, 07.02.2013