Would I consider being a vegetarian? No, animal products are a big part of my diet and I enjoy them.
Yes, I do know where our food comes from, which is exactly the reason I am a hunter. Everyone who buys their dinner should research the industry. You’ll discover some very disturbing facts and practices.
I much prefer harvesting my own meat from an animal that has lived a normal, wild life; not to mention that having to work that hard for your dinner makes one appreciate everything about it that much more.
By the way, it’s not as easy as non-hunters might think.
Now, let me take a moment to touch on “ethical hunting.” To start, let me just say that I have met several hunters over the years who think they fall into this category, but in reality I’d love to slap them.
Ethical hunting not only includes following all the laws, it goes way beyond that. Some of the true ethics I was taught and follow to this day are as follows:
1. Never take an uncertain shot. A quick, clean kill is essential to the quality of the meat, and over quick for the animal. It is a living creature, respect it. If you’re not sure and steady, don’t shoot.
2. Never kill anything you don’t intend to eat. Sorry, I don’t support trophy hunting.
3. Never harvest more than you can use. I don’t care how many tags we are legally allowed, there is only so much meat one family can use. Meat wasting in a freezer is wrong on so many levels. On that note, you should see how much goes to waste in our food industry. It’s sad.
4. Be respectful of others’ property and opinion.
I have never used a firearm when hunting is allowed on residential farmland. I have a nice, quiet compound bow for that. Then again, I don’t hunt geese.
Sometimes farmers have serious problems with large game destroying crops and killing livestock, so they call their wildlife conservation branch and hunters are invited in. They don’t kill all the animals, either; just the presence of hunters pushes off the unwanted guests. Animals are not stupid, they know when they are not safe anymore.
I never drive home with any part of my harvested animal visible. This includes the antlers. The old-fashioned display of your trophy is no longer acceptable.
You know who hates a jerk with a licence and a gun the most? Ethical hunters like me!
Lastly, I don’t know how many non-hunters love to go out into the mountains, but know this. Those conservation officers who keep the peace, stop illegal hunting and fishing, patrol the campsites (no matter how remote) and generally make sure everyone is safe and law-abiding – well, most of the funding for that comes directly from the revenue generated by hunting.
License fees aren’t cheap and, because you’re never sure what you might get a shot at, one generally carries way more tags than he/she will fill. My license and tags cost me $200 this season, not including fishing licences. Times that by the number of hunters province-wide.
Stacey Marton, Surrey