NOT ALL HUNTERS ARE THE SAME BUT WE ARE EQUAL
It’s spring bear season here in British Columbia and I’ve been out trying to obtain 2 first for myself. First off, getting a bear with archery gear. Here you can use rifle, shotgun or bow. A second would be getting a colour phased bear. The area holds plenty. Out of the 26 bears I’ve seen so far, I would say about one third of those have been some colour that isn’t jet black.
Baiting bears is illegal here, so I’ve spent a lot of time alone and a lot of time just hiking and thinking. A lot of the thinking done is about hunting. Especially since more and more bear pictures are popping up on hunting pages. My main thoughts have been hunter perception.
I do see some, “You’re either a hunter or an anti-hunter” mentality. I’ve always thought and proclaimed, “I’m from a strong line of hunters in my family”. I can draw a straight line down my family tree and see this lifestyle. I’m a hunter and my brother is a hunter. My dad is a hunter, my grandfather was a hunter along with his brothers, and I’m sure my grandpa’s stepdad was a hunter.
If I start to look either side of that line though, it becomes clear that there’s a lot of non-hunting in my family as well. I have a step-sister that enjoys fishing from time to time, but would rather go exploring in her Land Cruiser. I have another step sister that will go out hunting casually with her boyfriend. But she would rather be a beach rat fishing for salmon in the summer. I have a step brother that cooks the best steak I’ve ever had. He loves eating meat, but can’t stand seeing an animal being hurt. He doesn’t like seeing a fish flop in a boat and has live traps for mice. He’s not against hunting or fishing, it’s just not something he has the heart to partake in. I have another family member that just doesn’t like the part of hunting that comes right after pulling the trigger. They stick to their fishing and taking second helpings of moose roast at family dinner.
Even the hunters within my family and friends are at different points on the spectrum. Personally, I like going after the adventure of testing my limits. If I don’t have a story with meaning before I touch the trigger, chances are I’m not killing anything. Being a single guy, I don’t really hunt moose or elk. I don’t need animals that big. My brother and our friend like to burn fuel and put kilometers on their vehicles. I’m slowly pushing them away from road hunting and taking them to the mountains. However, more often than not, they get their 130-150 class mule deer every year. My dad usually sticks to hunting mule deer and moose. He’ll go chasing mountain goats if he gets the draw, but he just fills the freezer.
Not all hunters are the same, but we’re all equal. We should also engage non-hunters as equals. Just because someone doesn’t hunt, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re against hunting. Leading off with insults in online forums and social media can only hurt our public image. Hunters aren’t going to convince everyone that hunting is good but, we also can’t even win over other hunters on certain issues. If we go into these conversations with an open mind and a willingness to listen and discuss issues, we will be way better off.