Kane Saxton, 23, of Woodbridge, butchers a deer at Springfield Butcher last month. After being butchered, the deer meat is taken to a shelter in the District, where a cook makes stew of them for homeless people. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Deer have long been a hot topic of conversation in Northern Virginia, particularly Fairfax County. We love the look of the deer, their graceful gait, their stealthy movement. We hate their destruction of native vegetation, their spreading of diseased ticks, and their capacity to run in front of moving vehicles. In D.C., they are now grappling with the expanding deer population of Rock Creek Park.

Years ago, Fairfax made the decision to cull the deer population with sharpshooting hunters, using both guns and bows and arrows. Now, The Post’s Robert Samuels has written a remarkable story about every step of the deer control program. He hung out with a police marksman, an animal control officer, a butcher, a driver and a man who received and ate the deer meat harvested in Fairfax.

For folks in D.C., it’s an instructive story of how deer control works. For folks in Northern Virginia, it’s an educational story of how such a program can be created to help others even as it targets another species for elimination.