Epilogue: The mindful carnivore

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Is hunting food for thought?

Probably not if you live in the city.

This fall, I shot my first partridge. Hunting is a tradition in my family, and I was more than eager to take part. After hunting casually for the past few years, I wanted to start taking the hobby seriously. In my mind it was something to be proud of.

I’m from Riverview, New Brunswick. It’s not exactly a rural community, although its residents sometimes like to think otherwise. And seeing the blazing hunter orange is ever common in the fall.

When I returned to Fredericton from my grand expedition, I, like any man would, mentioned it to just about everyone who would let me bend their ear. The reactions I got in response were not exactly polite congratulations. What I heard most was “how could you do that?”

I expected I might get these comments from my peers at St. Thomas, it being a liberal arts university.

“I don’t often flaunt that I am a hunter,” said Michael Tees, a St .Thomas student and life-long hunter from Minto. “I am a proud outdoorsmen, but I understand that not everyone was raised to accept that kind of lifestyle. So when someone reacts negatively towards me, I just assure them that I have the most possible respect for any animal I harvest.”

St. Thomas student Naomi Ward is one of those opposed to hunting.

“I just don’t think there is any need for someone to hunt in this day and age and it’s just sad to think people kill animals for show,” said Ward.

Award-winning author and experienced hunter David Adams Richards has written several books on hunting in New Brunswick and how it is misunderstood. He mentioned that while living in Toronto, he encountered the same reactions that I got.

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“The opinions you get are usually biased and fairly reactionary, but you have to deal with that.Until everyone is vegetarian by choice, a person has a moral obligation to kill that which they eat at least once in their lifetime. They need to know where it comes from,” said Richards.

Hunting a wild animal is better for you than processed, flash frozen meats. But there is still the superstition that it is inhumane. However, the treatment of cattle and other animals used for food is ludicrous because of added hormones and cramped living conditions.

Are people in the city forgetting how we originally got our meat before there were grocery stores, or are we just getting lazy?

It takes dedication, practice and patience to hunt. Those same things ought to be applied to anything you do. Most hunters embody these traits, and I believe light should be shed on that instead of being depicted as murders.

So if you decide to go hunting, make sure to be weary of who you tell, as you might not like the response.

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • Tony

    Good for you for still being in touch with where food comes from and choosing to not contribute more than necessary to the farmed animal atrocities. People who are so blatantly against hunting have completely lost touch with where food comes from unless they are vegan and do not wear any leather whatsoever. My usual response to a negative comment about hunting is that my meat lived a happy and healthy life and had it ended quickly and humanely, which is not what can be said for farmed meat. Farmed meat is also full of vaccinations and hormones not to mention whatever else they put in it that we’re not fully aware of. People with comments like the one in the article, “it’s just sad to think people kill animals for show,” said Ward” just goes to show the level of ignorance and detachment. Why would we be sustenance hunting for “show”? Harvesting organic meat is how we survived in the first place. I don’t run around giving people crap at the grocery store for contributing to the problems of farmed livestock when I see them picking up meat at the grocery store so what right do they have to critisize me for doing it the right way? Maybe that’s the ticket, maybe we should all start giving people crap for contributing to the inhumane conditions when we see them buying meat at the store and start educating them on the way is was meant to be? Despite what many may think about how “easy” it is to hunt for meat, it takes a huge investment of time and money to hunt, and one is never guaranteed to succeed.

  • Frank McFarquhar

    I was born in Toronto in a family that had nothing to do with guns or hunting. My Dad’s main hobby was bird watching . I had no
    exposure to guns or hunting till I was 13 yrs. old ( 1960) when we moved to Lindsay Ontario ( farm country) .
    It started with shooting groundhogs on a friends farm as they where a pest to the crops & domestic animals.
    As the years passed it progressed to rabbits , grouse in the Fall Hunting season. Latter ducks , deer & moose.
    My thoughts where that an accurate shot would be a humane shot , so I joined a gun club to practice shooting. At the club
    there was many types of competitions that all would provide different shooting lessons . These involved rifles , handguns and shotguns . They all made me a better shooter to then be a better hunter .
    As all this happened , I become very interested in guns.
    Mostly old sporting & target shooting models , which started me
    collecting guns as a hobby & great study of history.
    I have always gone hunting since 1960 ( 54 yrs. now) & am
    very proud to be a hunter. All good hunters ( most are) want
    there to be lots of habitat for animals with sustainable populations
    of game animals for ever.
    Therefore hunters are the last people who want animal populations to decrease.
    I own a 200 acre deer camp where the grouse hunting regs.
    allow 5 grouse per day as a limit. As the population of grouse
    is not high right now I have imposed my own limit of 2 Grouse
    per Fall. I love seeing them throughout the year & the 2 a yr.
    is just fine. That way I can see them & still enjoy the tradition
    of hunting that I love. I do love to eat them as well as all the
    other game I harvest.
    Remember Hunting is a tradition of man & with the regulations
    can go on forever without any negative affects to the populations.
    The revenue generated from hunters is the main money used for
    game management.
    Yes ,,,,,,,,,,,, I am proud to be a hunter.

  • Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore

    Thanks for the essay, Conor. Nice title, too. 🙂

    Having gone from vegetarian to hunter, I understand the wide range of views you mention, and the reluctance some hunters feel about mentioning their pursuit. Fortunately, there’s growing support for those of us who come out of the closet.

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