The neighbors who knit me sweaters and invite me to their children's birthdays and make me vegan cinnamon rolls on christmas also kill a deer once a year, and hang it in a tree in their yard.
I watch them drag the body across the lawn, struggle to hang it, hose out the insides in the deep slice. I stare from every window in the house, trying not to look but unable to look away, checking every few minutes if it's still there for the entire three or four days it hangs there.
The first year I knocked on my neighbors' door and talked with them about it. That year, and most years, the deer has hung from the tree in a noose, and I talked with them not only about hunting, but about the trauma a body in a tree in a noose causes. They listened, and went on eviscerating the deer.
Now, powerless to stop it, I hang a "no hunting" sign on the house every year, cover the windows with sheets, but pull those sheets aside and stare, check, watch, make sure it's real. I see dead animals strapped to cars every year, and I get furious, terribly sad, I rant. I talk to myself about hunted animals having at least lived free (unlike the billions of animals in factory farms).
But the body hanging in the tree every year remains one of the hardest parts of having moved to the country.