Growing up in Cape Breton, I remember my brothers pulling into the driveway with a deer strapped to the car, antlers displayed proudly. Snapshots taken with an old Brownie camera captured the occasion, showing friends and family sharing in the excitement. Meat wrapped in brown paper filled our freezer for the winter. Admired for their beauty, the antlers decorated sheds and living rooms alike: trophies honouring the successful hunter.
I never questioned hunting as a way of life back then. Now my husband is a hunter. I recently shared my excitement about an upcoming hunting trip to Saskatchewan with a young acquaintance. He stepped away in disgust, as if the distance would ensure his safety from the gun I surely would pull out at any minute or, perhaps to disassociate himself from a killer. I looked down at his feet, but I didn't ask where his leather shoes came from.
There are many questions to be raised around the ethics of hunting: How were these animals killed? What happened to the meat? How are their herds being managed? This typological study of antlers offers little scientific information and no answers about the ethics of hunting. The photographs, however, draw attention to the visual beauty of the antlers, inviting the viewer to reflect on their own views and ask their own questions.