TURNING THE TABLES
It’s Deer Season
One great joy in collecting postcards is learning how many strange collecting categories are possible. I never specifically looked or asked dealers for postcards of deer behaving like hunters, but over the years I have bought all sorts of odd and interesting postcards in a variety of postcard genres like linens, chromes, comics, real photos, advertising and more. After years of collecting and sorting and filing and searching through these cards, I sometimes notice a common theme. And before you know it, there is yet another strange collection of postcards.
When we moved to the suburbs from New York City years ago, I sympathized with the deer during hunting season. In those days there were local groups that protested the hunt.
Now, in my part of the state, white-tailed deer are ubiquitous. We need a seven-foot fence to keep them out of our vegetable garden, and they have destroyed countless shrubs and flowers.
Although we live in the center of a small town surrounded by woods the combination of rural-suburban development and the lack of natural predators have enabled the deer population to explode. Their main predator now is the automobile and a deer carcass on the side of the road is a routine sight. These collisions have not only been fatal for the deer, but also for humans. Now we have an annual controlled hunt in our town to thin out the herds, and I root for the hunters.
The cards shown here were produced from the 1940s to the ‘70s. The subject of most of them is one or more deer driving a car with their human prey tied to a fender, but a few cover other episodes in the hunting experience.
The deer waking up in a hunter’s cabin certainly would start off the day.
And the deer proudly posing with the day’s bounty hanging from a rack might end the day.
Ultimately, we have the deer relaxing in his cabin with the heads of two of his quarries proudly mounted on the wall!
At first glance one might think these are postcards made for people who aren’t keen on hunting, but on the contrary, I think what they really show is that hunters have a sense of humor
One is even an advertising card for Bennett’s Gun Shop, while most of the others are published in areas that are well known for deer hunting, particularly Pennsylvania.
The comic postcard by the artist Fox even has an amusing limerick to this effect:
There was a guy from PA.
Went hunting one autumn day.
He came back from the trip
When his gun made a ‘slip’
And the buck drove him home so they say!
Postcard publishers have historically been notorious copycats, if not downright pirates, in appropriating images and ideas in all categories of postcards from greetings to views to topics. Here it seems pretty obvious that some of these cards are far from original in concept.
Note that three of the cards feature a cigar-puffing deer driving a yellow convertible with tongue-dangling human quarry roped to the front fenders. Coincidence? Not likely!
These cards hardly rank with the finest of postcards but shown together as a group they are a good example of just how quirky and fun postcard collecting can be.