Monday, September 05, 2005


On Saturday morning I went hunting with a friend of mine. My experience with both guns and hunting is quite limited, and I the last time I went hunting was with this same friend, about a year ago. Our destination this time was a spot near the Bulkley River off of Snake Road, about ten kilometres north of Smithers. We were on the lookout for black bear, which are quite bountiful in the Bulkley Valley. The property that we were hunting on is owned by a farmer friend of ours, and he was more than willing to let us engage in population control of the bears, as they tend to bother his lifestock. So, off we went.

As I said before, I am not an experienced hunter. Hunting has never been something that I have strongly desired to do, but I am certainly not against the activity. What strikes me is that my friends and family have expressed mixed emotions about my new-found hobby. Some have even suggested that engaging in such an activity is heartless and cruel. The argument most often sounds like, "it is humans that have invaded their territory, so why punish/kill the animal for being an animal?". Somehow the idea of going, on purpose, to find an animal, kill and eat it is immoral and unethical. Can someone please explain this to me? These same people who have expressed this concern are more than happy to pick up a pound of hamburger from the store and cook it up. They are quite content to eat a big steak at a restaurant. They do not shy away from the Meat Lovers pizza from Panago either. But going out and shooting a bear or a deer or a bird, well that is simply unacceptable.

Would it be better if we herded bears into pens, bred them en masse, fed them and fattened them up, only to send 'em through the grind-o-meter like we do with cattle?

It is not as if black bears are endangered in northwestern British Columbia. In other parts of the world, poachers dwindled elephant, cheetah, and gorilla numbers to near extinction. If this were the case here, I would certainly agree that it is reckless and irresponsible to hunt an animal that is in danger of being wiped out. But black bears? They aren't going anywhere.

*Note: I have one friend who is consistent in her views. She is a vegetarian and does not eat meat of any kind. Ironically enough, she lives an a Dairy farm that is next to the place we were.

Update 6:40pm Along the same lines, Darcey is talking about bears too, and mentions the East Coast seal hunt. Perhaps I'll post the gory photos of our expedition at a later date...