In this series of blogs it has been pointed out that several distinct motivations are involved in hunting activities, plus many others that may be less obvious but still influential in our outlook (perspective) and decision making processes of when to hunt, where and how, and what gear to bring along.
So far we’ve had a look at these prime motivations: Adventure, Challenge, Trophy hunting, Meat hunting and Sport hunting.
Next up are: (6) Healthy Living, (7) Involving others, and (8) Management of species.
In P1 I listed this as one of my primary reasons for hunting. Starting out as a big game hunter in my early twenties, it was not even a minor concern. But I soon learned it would become an essential part of a healthy lifestyle not only for the body but also for a well-balanced and healthy mind. I was fresh out of college, joined my farther’s commercial fishing business for a month, then married my fiance, and a week later was called to pastor three country churches in central New Brunswick, which was a complete change in environment from being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to a lumbering and agricultural setting. What all that amounted to was a total change in lifestyle, with new expectations and challenges at age 21. Don’t get me wrong, I was up for a new challenge but it was all very demanding to the point of near exhaustion by the time I reached 25. Fortunately, this was not only a woods working and farming area but also both hunting and fishing were common. So I began to enjoy those outdoor activities and greatly profited both physically and emotionally from them. I’d learned a simple but important lesson expressed in this old adage:”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Without being aware of it, I’d become like my farther who was a “workaholic”.
And, from time to time since those early experiences, I’ve had reason to remember this truth: God has made us complex creatures of spirit, soul and body. If we neglect any of those, or abuse them, we’ll be in BIG trouble! (see the Apostle Paul’s prayer and advice on this in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians ch 5, vs 23 – 24 in the New Testament. Preferred reading in the New International Version or the New Living Translation. This is one of my favorite Scriptures!)
Sure, if we’re in poor shape physically and/or mentally, the strong temptation is to “hunt” on our computers or TVs. That’s dangerous! And pernicious! I’m afflicted with a particular form of arthritis (same as my farther and grandmother) from time to time, but I’ve found the best medicine is to be physically active, and the physical and mental activity that tempts me most is planning, preparing for and participating in hunting activities — three “sweet Ps” to nurture body, soul and spirit. Yes, these are the physical and immaterial parts of “being”. But there is no “walking about” in unspoiled landscapes like a “walk” with our LORD in his creation!
Just yesterday, I noted this on a box of Federal Premium 12 ga Turkey Loads on my shelf of 12 ga shotshells: “Remember to take a kid hunting”. Whatever the case, it was my “kids” that got me involved again in hunting activities after I’d become another “workaholic”! The “kids” were two sons in college, Brent and Phil. Since then, I’ve involved them as part of my hunting activities which has strengthened our bonds. Also, I’ve involved others from the community in deer, bear and moose hunts. There is an added sense of personal satisfaction in being a part of the joy that others experience from their hunting adventures in the great outdoors.
<My hunting buddy for many years helping with bear bait, the CO Ken.
MANAGEMENT OF SPECIES
From the standpoint of government wildlife biologists, and legislation related thereto, hunting is foremost a management tool for maintenance of the designated species. And, from time to time, culls or moratoriums have been implemented for management purposes. How much of such legislation is purely “political” is often difficult to ascertain, but it ‘s a known fact that it took place in the case of the closure of the Spring Bear Hunt here in Ontario in 1999.
Nonetheless, despite apparent mishandling of management tools by governments and their agencies, there’s no question regarding its importance in securing a future for hunting activities. We can only hope and pray that any future elected officials will be person’s of integrity, laying aside personal agendas or prejudices in seeking the best not only for the species but also for hunters.
Personally, I have some serious doubts over the future of hunting as a beneficial activity in the not-so-distant future as it’s very apparent that culture is shifting away not only from meat eating but the activity itself.
However, there’s currently some consolation that one dead bear can no longer hunt moose calves or sheep in a pasture! Ergo: I’m all for “the management of the species”.
What is NOT understood by the general public of “well doers” is that without hunting there is no way to control unthinking beasts from over populating themselves to the brink of starvation! Hence, silent culls have been implemented in southwest Ontario for control of the whitetail population that was destroying the ecosystem they, and other fauna, were dependent on for survival. What was WRONG about that was the government’s silence, which was discovered by hunters who told the media. And that’s not all… there was also a black bear cull where stinking corpses were heaped in a pile in the woods that attracted other creatures, and discovered by HUNTERS who wanted some answers!
The point? Government officials can be VERY dishonest and hypocritical when it serves THEIR INTERESTS!
The designation “political” has the lowest possible connotation when used of the CHARACTER and motives of a person! As hunters we should NEVER forget that!
Yet, there are still some honest Conservation Officers who go about their tasks with decorum and a clear conscience, doing what they do for the overall betterment of flora and fauna, as well as for the well-being of honest hunters in the chase. I know, because one of my best hunting friends was a CO until retirement a few years ago. One of the strengths of his character was integrity while recognising that all of those who hired him could not always be described as such.
Now, what about OUR motives as hunters? Can we afford to be honest about them?
I was a bit more than a little disturbed when I learned that a very prominent member of a sporting Internet forum confessed that the only reason for his African hunting of BG and DG was to test bullets, declaring he wouldn’t have hunted otherwise as he had no interest in hunting, as such! Certainly, the best “test” of bullets is in game animals, but could that be the highest legitimate reason for shooting game animals or dangerous game? It seems to me that could be discovered anyway in a much higher motive of harvesting game — which has been the main reason for this brief series on HUNTING PERSPECTIVES.
< These Nosler Partitions worked excellently on moose and bear, but the primary motivation was hunting not merely to “test” them.