I grew up in a Toronto suburb. My family enjoyed traditional and adventuring cottage lifestyles where we fished, swam, boated and engaged in a number of water sports. Growing up, nobody I knew was involved in hunting. Gary’s family hunted. When I met Gary, he did not hunt. His grandfather, father, uncles, sister and niece hunted. I thought that only “rednecks” hunted and that it was something that people had to do to survive. Fortunately, we did not have to hunt to survive and I was happy about that. I did not like or understand hunting; I just judged it and those who did it. I have since come to learn that I was misinformed and uneducated about hunting.
While our children were growing up, Gary did not hunt. He respected my feelings about it and it was not part of our lifestyle. However, as we continued to grow in our love of the outdoors and enjoyed our cottage lifestyle in expanded ways, the idea of hunting began to grow in the hearts and minds of my husband and some of our family and friends. I really began to listen when our 16 year old daughter expressed an interest in hunting. She had always been an outdoors girl, but this, I did not see coming. After all, this child cried when Fern Gully was cut down and Bambie’s mother was killed in the Disney movies. Needless to say, I also held false understandings and perceptions about hunting, and became determined to understand the culture of hunting given that my family was exploring an interest in pursuing it. Here are some of my insights and learnings:
My family are meat eaters, however we have become very selective about the meat that we consume. We buy organic meat, preferably from local farms and we have decreased the amount of red meat that we consume considerably. Hunting is a way for us to cull organic meat. When we hunt, we know where our meat comes from and how it has been handled from start to finish.
I came to understand that animals do not die of old age in the wild. Predators are vicious and relentless. Winters are harsh and unyielding. A hunter’s bullet kills an animal or bird quickly and humanely.
The circle of life is to be honoured and respected. Hunting is part of that circle and hunters, for the most part, are avid outdoors people who love and respect the environment, animals and nature.
Young women who choose to become hunters are formidable. Hunting creates in a young woman a type of self esteem and respect for themselves, animals and nature that is exceptional.
Men and women who choose to mentor the younger generation through the medium of hunting have a unique and wonderful opportunity to teach, mould, and guide young hunters into a love and respect for our environment and wildlife management.
My family is a family that hunts. My husband, son, daughter, son-in-law, and dear family friends are now hunters. They love and respect our environment and nature. They have inspired me to understand the circle of life from a different, and I would argue, more educated way. I have learned much along the way and I have found my place in it. I don’t hunt, but I sure do love researching recipes and preparing organic feasts! We know that people have different opinions about this topic, but I have come to understand that there is much to learn and appreciate about the culture of hunting.