Young Ohio hunter shamed at school for shooting deer

CLICK HERE TO READ THE UPDATED STORY WITH REACTIONS FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT.

AN INCIDENT OF HUNTER SHAMING RECENTLY CAME ACROSS MY DESK, and this situation is really beyond the pale.

Let me lay it out for you: A 9-year-old girl from northeast Ohio, Domonique Yatsko, was lucky enough on the youth weekend to harvest a really nice buck.

She tagged the deer where it lay and checked all the boxes to make it a legal kill. 

It was her first deer. Now, the family has a tradition that when one of its members takes his or her first deer, they celebrate the occassion, as well they should. In this case, that included getting a sweatshirt made with Domonique’s photo on it with the cleaned-up buck. No blood, no nothing to offend the senses, so to speak.

This is where the story takes a turn: Domonique proudly wore her sweatshirt to school soon after and was told by her teacher that “killing animals is not what we do.” Shaming, in other words. The way her mother tells it, Domonique was so shamed by the teacher and ridiculed by others in the school that she threw the sweatshirt in the trash as soon as she came home.

“We’re a farming family, and (ancestors) have lived in this area since 1827,” said Domonique’s mother, Heidi. “So, she’s used to raising livestock, planting crops, and planting fields for wildlife as well as hunting.”

Heidi took up the matter with school officials, hoping to get an apology for a perfectly legal activity enjoyed by thousands of Ohioans. Nothing more. One was not forthcoming, however.

“The principal’s quote to me was ‘we don’t have dead animals in school,’” Heidi said. “So, I asked her what they serve in the cafeteria?”

It is not lost on me that Domonique shot her deer on Nov. 20 – during the statewide youth season that is specifically geared by the DNR Division of Wildlife for just this sort of activity.

“She scouted the deer,” Heidi said. “She didn’t just shoot the first thing she saw. She practiced. She did everything right.”

Heidi and her kin all grew up as hunters, and weren’t afforded the opportunity of a special youth season tailored just for that purpose. 

“There’s so many good opportunities out there now,” Heidi said. “We do the whitetail dinners for the youths, and she’s been involved in all of that.”

This was Domonique’s first year of hunting, and hopefully not her last. Shame on the adults in this situation for being so unenlightened. But, it’s just a reminder of a battle that we all face daily from the opposition that would love to put us all out of business.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE UPDATED STORY WITH REACTIONS FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT.

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