Thanksgiving in Alabama: Deer Hunting Among Paradoxes in the Black Prairie
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Alabama is steeped in land-use traditions that value big deer and fast-growing pines. As we join our Alabama friends on their land, we encounter these traditions from our own values as a budding ecologist and veterinarian. The ecologist grapples with managing a landscape primarily for economic gain instead of biodiversity and ecosystem health. The once-vegetarian veterinarian struggles with the ethics of eating animals by finding hunting to be more intimate and humane than other meat options. Through two decades of hunting and butchering deer in this managed, yet wild landscape, a new—more nuanced—ethic of land and animal management emerges for us. Now, on our own farm, we work to balance harvest and conservation in our approach to eating meat and tending woods and fields.