Skinning deer behind B&N Market in Bagdad, Shelby County, on the opening
day of deer season, November 1994.
     Hunters who use bow-and-arrow can hunt deer in Kentucky from October until the end of the year.  But for most people, the "real" deer season begins on a Saturday morning in early November and lasts for a little more than a week.  That's when hunters can use modern rifles to kill deer.  Most deer killed by hunters in Kentucky are shot during that week, and probably the busiest day of the season is opening day.
     This picture was shot behind B&N Market, a general store in northeastern Shelby County, at about 11 a.m. on the first day of "gun season" in November 1994.  The two men in the photograph were skinning deer, getting them ready to be cut up, packaged and frozen.  At the time I took the picture, I counted a total of 19 deer carcasses lying on the ground.  One of the men told me that earlier in the day there had been more than 40.  Hides from the skinned deer made a pile three feet high on a flatbed trailer behind the men's pickup truck.  I assume they planned to sell the hides to a tannery.

     From this you can tell we have a lot of deer in our part of the country--so many, in fact, that most of my neighbors have hit deer running across the road.  A deer ran in front of my wife's car in 1990, wrecked the car and killed the deer, but my wife and kids were okay.  One night last fall, a big doe jumped in the way of my pickup.  That deer, too, was killed; but oddly, my truck didn't get a scratch, nor did I.
     Driving to work one morning a couple of years ago, I happened upon a deer that had tried to jump a fence but got one of its legs caught in the barbed wire.  I stopped and approached the animal, which was thrashing wildly.  I stayed back out of the way, because a deer's sharp hooves are dangerous.  Finally, I drove back home and called the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to see if they would send someone to do something.  When I got back to where the deer was, it was gone.  Apparently it had ripped itself free.
     I'm not a deer hunter myself, though in the past I have hunted small game--squirrel, rabbit, dove--and probably will again sometime in the future.

-November 1996-