I suspect this is a universal complaint filed with newspapers every year — at least in Pennsylvania. If we publish a photo in the newspaper of a deer that was shot and killed by a hunter, chances are great that we’ll receive at least one complaint about it. Depending on a number of variables, that could be a slew of complaints.
On Tuesday, the photo you see above was the main photo on our front page. It’s just the head of a deer. No wounds or entrails are visible. But it is dead, and it is about to be turned into venison.
And we received at least one complaint:
I am not a hunter nor do I come from a hunting family. I do understand people hunting for food and to control the deer population. I personally don’t understand hunting for sport but that is my opinion. However I do not understand or appreciate the york papers printing photographs of dead deer on the front page. Not all of us are comfortable with these images. Perhaps they can be shown in the sports section under hunting photos and stories.
Please let me have my morning coffee in peace!!
This will likely be the only time this year that such a photo will appear on the front page. But in other parts of the paper, we will run scores and scores of photos of hunters posing with their prey. These will be men, women and children and each will be glowing with pride and excitement from the hunt.
Hunting is a big part of York County’s heritage and culture, and those who are in to this are usually very much into it. They make no apologies.
But many of those who are not into it are very much not into it. Some are outraged at the thought. Some are sickened by the sights. Others just don’t want it to be thrown in front of them.
So how do we best serve and reflect the diverse interests of such a county? The first day of deer hunting season always provides remarkable visuals at deer processing centers. Should we show this aspect of the hunt? It’s not exactly practical for a photographer to be out in the deer stand with a hunter — cameras are pretty noisy, you know.
I ask you , citizen editor. Would use you use such photos on the front page? Would you run the many photos that hunters submit to us for publication?