Many people often have odd reactions when I say that I hunt (not as often when I say I fish). These reactions are often associated with the negative image of the hunter or sportsman as we call them. People think of the jerk that goes hunting from his pickup truck, shoot an illegal deer, takes the head (leaves the meat to rot- Illegal by the way in WA) and then mounts said deer head to his wall right about his gun rack. Now that we have illuminated what people think of when I say “hunter” let me lay down what I think it means. Many people who react negatively to hunting ironically eat meat, ironic why? Because they eat meat, but do not condone the act of hunting. These individuals eat meat maybe even from “humane” farms, but take no care to understand what it means to raise, kill and butcher the meat they eat. A good hunter who has done his or her job correctly has harvested meat to go into the freezer and feed themselves for a long season. Really hunting is a way of making sure that you have meat on the table that is free of antibiotics, is certainly “free range”, has experienced a good life, had a quick death (which is assured by the hunter who makes good shots, target practices, uses correct calibers and tracks the animal if it runs away wounded) and is certainly cheaper than the same amount of meat bought at the store. Not to say that everyone should rush out to hunt because it isn’t meant for anyone and everyone and that is okay! I feel immense amount of respect for wildlife of all kinds from the deer to the fish I kill, its participating in the food web the way I feel we were meant to. There are many of the other kind of hunters though, the ones who don’t buy licenses, don’t pay attention to seasons or restrictions and take without care of how it is done, these people will tell you its their right as Americans, well to them I say nothing because the ignorant will never understand how much they hurt the system because they cannot see the system they can only see themselves. When you purchase hunting/fishing licenses that money goes to conservation efforts in your state, making sure that there is a future for the wildlife that you pursue. Humans have again and again exhibited their ability to annihilate a species for nothing more than their own pleasure (or maybe a small amount of money) think the Stellar Sea Cow or the Passenger Pigeon, GONE because no one regulated the taking of these animals. However there are many honorable sportsman out there so take care to categorize them with the others because they do more than you know. Do you know that also if you volunteer your time you can participate for a program offered through Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife called “eyes in the woods” where you can learn how to report illegal activity to the state? Or there’s a hotline through them also that you can call if you see anything iffy happening so that something can be done about it?
Basically what I wanted to convey through this post is that we all have different ways of living and we may or may not understand or respect those ways however your opinions/morals are your own created through your own living experiences so take care to try to understand others before saying something that may be harmful. And maybe just maybe you’ll think about taking control of the sourcing of you foods buy growing and harvesting as much as you can from your own home or the area around it, because not only is it more meaningful but also more sustainable. Thank you for your time and understanding.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
― Aldo Leopold,