Unusual Deer Photo Op
January 31, 2019
Editorial Staff (287 articles)
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Unusual Deer Photo Op

Blast from the Past

By Horace Gore

The featured photo here is unusual from our point of view. It appears to be a set-up photo, circa 1915. What makes it interesting is that we cannot imagine what the photo’s purpose was.

I think we would all agree that it’s from a northern state—maybe a mining district or near a lumber mill. The men have work clothes on, and most have a white pin on their caps that identifies them as part of a work group.

The deer have been brought to the photo area and hung on the long pole. They appear field dressed, young, and were probably killed for meat. We can’t tell if they’re bucks or does, but if they’re bucks, they’re young with no stained tarsal glands on the hind legs. All were killed in a short time period because they’re fresh, and no refrigeration existed in that time period.

The “horse” sign on the right wall shows 1912, and the paint is clean and new. But why would someone want a photo op of a group of 15 men and 16 hanging deer? The gentleman in striped overalls and tie appears to be the boss or leader.

What’s the deal?

Could this photo be associated with a market hunting processing plant for deer meat? During that time period, market hunting was common. The location had to be a northern state with lots of deer—New York, Michigan, Wisconsin—for example. Those states and others in the north had good deer populations. There was no southern state with deer so numerous that you could kill 16 in a few days.

Maybe it’s associated with a mining camp where deer are the main source of meat for the miners. This is certainly not a hunting scene—no guns; no dogs; and no hunting gear. One thing is sure. Scenes like this gave good reason to establish game laws to prevent the mass slaughter of deer and other wildlife. As Margaret Mitchell would say, such events as this are “Gone With The Wind.”

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