Hunters often get a bad rep and being a “hunter” is a claim that anyone with a licence and a gun shooting at animals call themselves. Yet, if you ask true and genuine hunters, it’s not the case. Hunters who love the sport do it out of love for the sport as well as for the meat that they hope to harvest. They don’t hunt just for killing animals. They respect the game they’re after. They respect nature and they obey by law. By doing so, not only do they contribute to conservation of the species, but they are out there enjoying the outdoors, admiring what nature has to offer whether or not they “kill”. Hunting is NOT a sport to them. Hunting is a way of life, an appreciation of what it has to offer.
Living in British Columbia, I get to enjoy the openliness of the land. Here, you are free to hunt on most Crown Land and there is more of it than one will ever need. Living in BC also means respecting and appreciating that logging is one of the province’s biggest industries. Unfortunately though, hunters and loggers share the same playing field, and the Ministry of Forest is too busy getting caught in their big wheel red tape and bureaucracy to get out in the field and monitor the destruction those logging companies are doing. Knowing that they are rarely monitored, logging outfits will risk the odd “fine” for logging across creeks and wildlife habitats with little to no respect for the environment off which they make a living, as everything is done in the name of greed and money. Yes, I just said that.
A huge collateral damage the logging industry is creating is the laziest scum on the surface of the hunting territories: the Road Hunter. You know, those guys at the office telling you that they’re going hunting? Yeah well, ask them to be more specific. They call themselves “hunters” because they have a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) and they buy tags to harvest deer or any other prey they’re after. You know what many of them do? Go for a drive up in the hills in BC and watch them do “their thing”. I do. They sit in their truck, driving and following the highway-like roads loggers open for their clear-cut destruction and look for the vulnerable young bucks too dumb to seek cover… and they do that all day and yet, they call it hunting. “Yup, got my buck this year again”, one told me about the two-point Mule deer he shot after putting his beer down in his cup holder in his truck. “What did you get?”, he asked me.
Let me tell you what I got. I got to go out in the bush in the summer months, prior to fire season. I went out and cut trails. I built a treestand or two. I might have build a blind as well. I squeezed in a little fishing in a remote lake that you will never see because it means walking a couple of kilometers with a u-boat on your shoulders, enjoying a few rainbow trouts.
When Fall and hunting season opened, I drove my truck to a place where I park it every year. I then unloaded my quad, put my gun on the rack in front, and took off to one of my trails, you know, the ones that I cut in the summer? I walked carefully for a few kilometers, trying to avoid branches, twigs on the ground, in hope to see that elusive buck around the bend. I went and froze my butt in my treestand, barely moving, enjoying the squirrel gathering nuts, the partridge and other birds around me. I watch the does walk below me, unaware that I’m watching them. I use my grunt call in hope that a buck is around and, later in the season, I might rattle a little bit to make them think that other bucks are battling it out.
You know? Hunting? The game behind the game. The strategy, the preparation, the sense of fulfillment and the gratitude of being able to be out there and enjoy every minute in nature. Appreciating sunrises and sunsets alike. The beauty that Mother Nature is providing to us. The little things in life. Simplicity. Quietness, away from trucks and noise. Wait… here you come, again… throwing your empty can out your window. Worse, you have your young son and/or daughter in the passenger seat, teaching them to “hunt”. To you I say: “Give your head a shake. You’re not a hunter, you’re a predator on wheels. Never will you have my respect.”
My ex father-in-law is 83 years old and he got out of his truck, unloaded his quad and got himself a nice buck again this year. You, in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s… sitting in your truck calling yourself a hunter. What did YOU do? I know what you did… I was watching your lazy butt. If only Forestry did their job and got the logging companies to comply with the laws in every cut block, and deactivate roads when they’re done. If only they limited the amount of logging done in certain areas… perhaps deer would live long enough to get bigger and healthier in our BC forests. What? One can only dream, no?
On the lighter side, I came upon this song and it did put a smile on my face. I’m sharing in hope that it has the same effect on you. To you, genuine hunters, I say good luck and good harvest. To the truck driving, gun carrying, beer drinking city boys, I say get lost.