Faceless Deer Raises Ethical Questions for Hunter

A Wisconsin man got a trail cam picture that has him questioning what he should do. The picture shows a deer that appears to have no face and is obviously very skinny and malnourished.

The hunter is located in an area that only allows bucks to be harvested, so legally he is not allowed to shoot the deer in the photo. It is also clear from the picture that this deer is suffering and will probably die a horrible prolonged death this winter.

The hunter does not want to watch the deer suffer, so he posed the question, should he break the law and kill the deer?

Most Fish and Game Departments do not deal with these types of cases. Their stance is to let nature take its course. I had this happen to myself with a deer covered in basketball size warts. The game wardens said they would not do anything about it since that disease is not contagious.

I will not pretend to have the answers on this one. We all hate seeing deer suffer, but wild animals’ harsh reality is they all die a harsh death if not taken by a hunter. Some will slowly freeze to death in old age while others will be ripped apart by a coyote or bear.

The other factor here is the role a deer like this plays in the ecosystem. Most likely, this deer will be eaten by a predator or scavenger. One time I watched a bald eagle eating a deer in front of my house. Those animals must eat as well, so the deer will not go to waste.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what is the ethical thing to do in this situation because it is not cut and dry.