It is hard to conceive of a more ancient activity than hunting or one so intertwined with our evolution as humans. Of course, we no longer need hunt to survive, but, paradoxically, some animals actually need to be hunted. Hunting in our part of the world is, in the main, deer hunting. The current landscape of Delaware County wasn’t designed by anything or anyone, but it is close to what deer would have created if they were making a habitat to maximize their population. Paradoxically (again), a fully mature “climax” forest can support relatively few deer, which must rely on vegetation that they can reach. The reforesting mix of woods and fields that characterizes the terrain around Franklin Chthonics is an ideal provider of sunny field edges and thickets of sapling trees—deer food. People, starting with the Indians, did another important service for the deer: eliminate virtually all their natural predators. Without hunting, deer populations would expand to the maximum this environment could support and then be subject to massive famines and die-offs when particularly bitter winters made foraging meager.
Hunting remains an important part of the local culture. After the release of “The Deer Hunter”, for several years in the late 70’s and early 80’s, there was a vogue for hunting that brought great numbers of heavily equipped hunters eager to test themselves to Delaware County from downstate. When that invasion subsided, hunting became again basically a touchstone for area residents and those people who had established hunting bases locally. Although none of the city people involved in FC hunts, we do have, in effect, a gamekeeper who has hunted in this area for decades and on our land for over 20 years. We have scheduled a program in 2015 with Roy that would allow interested people to learn how a hunter of wild turkey and deer prepares and executes hunts for these prey, and, with luck, how he handles their carcasses after a kill