First, I will be right up front: I grew up in a family of hunters. My mother could outshoot my father when they meet/where first married. I grew up around guns. I was taught to respect them. If I had wanted to, I am sure my father would have taught me to shoot. I have seen animals displayed in ways many people would not approve of or could possible handle. Second, I am a proud meat eater. Have been all my life. And finally, I respect those who do not agree with any of the above, but please offer me the same curtesy.
With that said, the illustrations in The Hunter are fantastic! Tim Jessell has created rich, deep works of art and has captured the fall day perfectly. They save this book from any perceived flaws I feel the text has.
I am sorry to say I was a bit disappointed in the text of Jan Wahl. One: a good hunter will not shoot a doe unless they have a permit and Two: they would not if they saw it with a fawn and Three: there is nothing wrong with hunting if you do it ethically and responsibly. By the illustrations this person looks like he might be a farmer and perhaps needs the meat for his family. (Ever had venison? It is a little gamey but yummy). And even if it is for sport, as long (again) the hunter is responsible there is nothing wrong with this.
The story is very modern with the (spoiler) hunter not shooting the deer. The last illustration does show the hunter with his gun (though he dropped it earlier) therefore, there is hope for another hunt another day. If you are anti-hunting this is probably a book for you. This is not for the very young reader as the way Wahl does set it up, the deer might actually be taken. It is a mature book.
I do hope everyone gives it a chance, however. I think something like this could speak to many people on many different levels. And I would love to know how people feel about it (pro or con!)