|Of course, I chose not to take photos of a suffering animal or a bloody-faced dog. I decided to put a few older photos in here instead.|
Eric went out to see about it while I started getting their breakfast ready. Wait, did I just hear him call for me? That is unusual. Still in my pajamas, I threw on some boots and grabbed the leashes, thinking maybe the dogs had treed something or were wanting to run off after some turkeys. When I found them on the other side of the shop, Eric had both girls by their collars and told me there was a doe tangled in the neighbor's fence on their National Forest property line and that Delia had been gnawing on the leg. The deer was still alive, but seriously wounded.
I leashed up the dogs and brought them in the house while he tried to free the deer. I washed all the blood off or Delia's face while he had to cut a couple wires to free the doe. Of course she couldn't walk and we didn't have a way to help her. We called the sheriff who dispatched to Fish & Game and then called the neighbors to fill them in.
We met the neighbor lady at the fence and discussed our options, both practical and legal. After calls to Fish & Game and our local game warden we had received permission to put her out of her misery (our only way to help her), but not to harvest the meat. Since the neighbor kid (age 14) is an experienced hunter, his mom called him out of school and his older sister drove him home. The game warden came a short time later to take the carcass, most likely to donate the meat to a local food bank.
Neither of us want to take up hunting and while we are omnivores who know and respect where our food comes from, we don't want to do the killing. However, we also don't want to stand by helplessly while an animal suffers, especially if it suffers because of people living in its territory like we do. This reminds us that living in this beautiful and wild (-ish) place means we'll have to have a working gun that we both know how to use and store safely. Not only to scare off critters like bears that might harm our dogs, ourselves or our property, but also to help a suffering animal if we need to.