A man hunting deer two weeks ago saw a large black bear eating acorns. A modest wonder of the natural world, the reportedly 650-pound bear weighed about double that of an average black bear and was eight feet long.
The man killed it.
It’s unclear why the man — out with his son on what is described only as “the large farm” in Fauquier County — audibled from deer and shot the bear, or how common it is for hunters to hunt one thing and shoot another. Maybe he shot a deer, too. The story doesn’t say.
You could guess why he shot the bear — he’s a part-time taxidermist, will turn the bear into 100 pounds of burgers and steaks, and is currently debating the beast’s merits as a rug — but that’s just a sloppy thing to do to a reader.
This is a unique event, a unique story. This hunter didn’t just kill a bear; he killed a bear that weighed only 90 pounds less than the Virginia record. Does he have feelings about this beyond, “Tastes great, but it’s unique. Nothing like chicken.”
Was there inner conflict? Did he hesitate? Did he consider that he was about to shoot a rare animal? What does killing a bear mean to him? Is there anything pantheistically transcendent (or blasphemous) about it? Did he shoot the bear on a whim? Is he aware of how a lot of people will view what he did? Does he care? Was he afraid? Was he in danger? What is his motivation?
Those are some of the questions you could ask him.
People have opinions about a man killing what all parties agreed was a remarkable animal. An official from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries even called it “a black bear of a lifetime for any hunter.”
It is a story written without awareness and without nuance. And worse, it’s unfair to the hunter. He’s quoted about process only and nothing else.