I always will remember,
’twas a year ago november,
I went out to hunt some deer
On a mornin’ bright and clear.
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow. Tom Lehrer, "The Hunting Song"
Ahh, the smells of autumn: crisp clean air, the first nip of frost, and gunpowder mixed with beer. What could be more typical of a Canadian November than grabbing a two-four of your favourite brew, your high-powered rifle, kerosene for lighting your fire, three buddies, and enough ammunition to start a small war. Then jamming yourselves into the all wheel drive to go bond with nature and see if you can't blow the head off a deer.
I was in no mood to trifle,
I took down my trusty rifle
And went out to stalk my prey.
What a haul I made that day.
I tied them to my fender, and I drove them home somehow,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow. Ibid
Now before anyone can start going on about whiney liberals (don't call me an effing liberal!) let me tell you that I have nothing against hunting, as long as you are actually going to make use of what you kill. I'd prefer you only kill if you have a genuine need for the food to feed yourself and the family, but as long as you're going to make use of the meat, I'm not going to complain. With prices the way they are at supermarkets almost anybody can justify bagging at least one deer a season to offset their grocery bill these days.
In fact I think it's a lot more socially responsible to go out and kill your own food than buying that pre-packaged shit they sell in grocery stores. You're at least not passing the buck, so to speak, when it comes to killing the animal you're eating. You want free-range organic meat, go out and get it yourself, don't have somebody else do it for you. It might ease your liberal conscience to not know how it's done, but it's damn hypocritical.
For anyone who wants to bleat about the inhumanity of hunting your own meat and killing Bambi, may I direct your attention to the nearest slaughterhouse and what happens there. Talk about inhumane treatment of animals. Packed in pens too small for them to move; listening to the death screams of the animals ahead of them in line; smelling the blood and offal from the slaughtering: I'm sure that makes for a swell environment for your last days on earth.
Than there's the whole imbalance in the eco-economics of raising meat cattle: the amount of farmland that has to be used for growing feed, the amount of natural habitat that is destroyed to make room for herds of cattle, (the acres of Amazon rain forest that have been lost for MacDonald's hamburgers alone is nauseating) and the polluting of our water table from cow and pig excrement seepage are three negatives on the balance sheet that springs to mind right away. The amount of food that could be grown in place of what it takes to bring one cow to market weight is depressing to think about. Especially when you consider the number of people starving to death on a daily basis around the world.
So you can see there are a lot of arguments that can be made favouring hunting. Unfortunately there are far too many people who still fall into the bozo in the orange vest and hat category. They may have taken their gun safety course, so they now know which end the bullets come out, which entitles them to get their hunting licence, but has anyone taught them what to do with the animal after they've killed it?
Do they know how to properly bleed it so the chest cavity doesn't fill with blood ruining the meat? Do they know how to clean the guts out properly so the contents don't explode inside the animal? Considering how many pictures I've seen of deer hung by their hind legs I doubt it. To get that permit you should know more than which way to hold your weapon
The law was very firm, it
Took away my permit,
The worst punishment I ever endured.
It turned out there was a reason,
Cows were out of season,
And one of the hunters wasn’t insured. Ibid
I don't what it's like where you live, but around here we have at least one hunting related fatality a year. By that I mean as a direct result of someone shooting someone else, so that's not including how many drunk drivers coming back from their shooting sprees have killed anyone.
To my mind that means there is something seriously wrong and there are still far too many people out in the woods blasting away at anything that moves. Which then makes me wonder how many gut shot deer are there each year that can't be eaten; or how many animals are shot and only wounded and left to wander in the woods in pain until they slowly die of infection or bleed to death.
I have a hard time believing any of these organizations that talk about themselves as promoting "responsible hunting practices" If stuff like this is happening on a regular basis, than I want to hear their definition of responsible hunting. Fewer than ten people killed each year? They say they encourage people to hunt down wounded animals. Screw that, they need to make them.
If it means having to assign a guide to every hunting party that goes out into the woods then so be it. I'm sorry if that offends you anti-regulation types out there, but I think the current behaviour of too many hunters is even more offensive. I'm sure there are a lot of responsible individuals out there who wouldn't need the services of a guide, but until hunting organizations come up with a means of policing the yahoos, others are going to have suffer. I'd rather be out with a guide than get a bullet in my head any day of the week.
People ask me how I do it,
And I say, there’s nothin’ to it,
You just stand there lookin’ cute,
And when something moves, you shoot!
And there’s ten stuffed heads in my trophy room right now,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a purebred Guernsey cow. Ibid
Look, like I said at the beginning of this article, I have nothing against hunting, and in fact I can think of some good reasons to support it. What I am against is what passes for hunting by the average idiot with a gun. I'm sorry if it upset hunter types but something has to be done to eliminate the weekend drinking buddies hunting expeditions.
Make a hunter pass some basic skills test for dressing a deer, and marksmanship; figure out a way to enforce if you hit it, track and put it out of its misery; and make it illegal to drink while hunting. Not only will you ensure safety with these measures, but they will also have the bonus of dissuading those who aren't going to be responsible, before they're in the woods armed and loaded in more ways than one.
The only thing wrong with hunting are some the people doing the hunting.
I'd like to thank Mr. Tom Lehrer for the assist in writing this article. I couldn't have done it without you Tom.