I had an unexpected encounter with a deer hunter on Saturday. Our family was delivering Christmas gifts for Project Angel Tree (see story in this week’s Catholic Spirit), which provides a way for prison inmates to give presents to their children.
We arrived at the house of a Hmong family in St. Paul to drop off gifts for two children. There were three generations present in the home and we were surprised to see two whitetail deer head-and-shoulder mounts in the family’s small living room. It turns out they were shot by the grandfather, who, obviously, is a skilled hunter. If his English had been better and if we would have had more time, I would have talked more with this gentleman and gotten the stories of these two successful hunts.
I did manage to find out that he shot the deer in Wisconsin. After we left, I couldn’t help but ponder the ugly incidents between white hunters and Hmong hunters that have taken place the last two years. It’s really a shame. I have met a number of Hmong people, including hunters, and they seem to be very gentle and mild-mannered overall. I believe that the violent confrontations in the woods could have been avoided.
Emotions often run high in the field like they do on freeways during rush hour. I will try to keep the image of this older Hmong hunter in my mind should I ever encounter a Hmong hunter in the woods, which I have. When I told him I admired the nice bucks on his wall, he flashed a huge smile. I couldn’t help but be excited for him and hopeful that he will enjoy many more deer hunting seasons in Wisconsin.