hunting season or target practice

by underswansea

rce_6127Small doe deer shot and left on the side of a back road. At least the ‘hunter’ had the decency to harvest the meat.

It is hunting season. That means more bullet holes in things, including signs, old TV’s, trees, derelict cars, etc., and of course animals; in and out of season and legal or not.

Before I go on, let me say, I grew up in a family that hunted. There were many years we depended on it. I have fond memories hunting with my father. My brother and sisters also have fond memories of hunting. My grandfather hunted with my father and fed the family on wild meat. Rifles and hunting were a part of our lives ever since I can remember.

Furthermore, I can think of nothing nobler than the lessons hunting can teach, the respect of wilderness and animals, the importance of self-sufficiency and giving thanks for what nature provides. I know many hunters that practice these same ideals. Over the years I have written many articles supporting the virtues of hunting.

However, I see evidence of many more hunters that practice unethical hunting.

I have a distinct advantage, having grown up in the area, to know where hunters will be and I try to stay the hell away from them. When I do wonder into their haunts, I usually find carnage. Everything from garbage left in campsites to dead animals, often illegally killed with only pieces taken. It is disgusting and outrageous.

rce_6126Calf elk. Killed when a bull couldn’t be found.

Recently, the Globe and Mail Newspaper wrote an article about the dwindling elk population.

There are many contributing factors to this. However, hunters refuse to acknowledge their part in elk populations going down. Instead, they point to predators such as wolves, cougars and bears as the problem. Their solution is to cull these animals, specifically, shoot them from aircraft in hopes this will boast the elk population so they will have more of these animals to hunt. Sacrificing one animal for another is never sound wildlife management.

Missing from elk populations, and of primary concern to hunters, are large bulls. These animals are the best breeding animals and their presence is important to the health of the herd. I can say with certainty, it is not the wolves and bears that are killing off these large animals. Why would they when it much easier to down a smaller weaker animal. It is these large bulls that are prized by hunters and guiding outfitters. They are being hunted and killed off at the expense of the entire herd.

Hunters like to point out how much money is raised for conservation through their licensing fees, and also how much money guiding brings into the province. It is disgusting to watch rich Americans blasting away to mount heads on their wall, or throwing javelins at bears. ( I also know we will never do away with this nonsense; there is just too much money at stake.

rce_6116When all else fails and you run out of game shoot up the campsite.

Perhaps, a solution lies in experienced hunters teaching younger hunters before they get a license. Some of this happens now. Unfortunately, there are too many people who think once they pay for their tag, they can shoot and pollute in every manner possible.

What I see more and more each year is not conservation but destruction. It is up to hunters to challenge themselves to change. Unfortunately, considering the prevailing mindset, it’s going to be fucking difficult.