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How can you kill animals? That question again!

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The journalist on the phone framed her question 'there are people out there that say hunting is cruel' and I knew what was coming next. 'How you can kill an animal?' My first thought went to what I actually considered cruel. I remembered being on the farm and seeing lambs and calves that had been "played" with by the wild dogs, their ears ripped off, their soft spots (under their tail and their tongues) eaten out and the rest left to waist. Then i thought of the video I had seen of a wild dog that had taken 1080 bait. I fumbled around my answer.

As a hunter one of the hardest things to explain (to someone who has never hunted) is the respect that you can have for a living creature that you take the life of. Although I guided on bear and elk in Canada the biggest game animal I have personally hunted is a deer, and yes there are photos of me ‘smiling’ with the trophy. Why, you might ask?

My answer. That deer, that has been killed by me and is now lying peacefully on the ground represents so much more than a kill.
The animal, and the end of its life represents time spent in the bush, a personal challange against the elements while immersed in nature, the passing down of knowledge that goes as far back as man-kind itself, an understanding of the natural world and the true meaning of conservation. Yes there is certainly an aspect that, for me, is sport and yes the kill is a small part of the overall experience.
I know that before that deer became venison on my plate, food for others or a ‘trophy’ on the wall it was one of the ultimate game animals. A creature with natural instincts for survival, honed by predators with hunting abilities far greater than my own. A species that was able to multiply in Australia despite consistent hunting from the humans that introduced them because of their ability to hide and blend in. Even so, somewhat because I hunt with others and make use of dogs, the ‘trophy’ is not mine alone but rather a reminder of the hunt and of all the challenges we all face to be able to continue hunting.

See I told you it was hard to explain, this is just my opinion. There is still so much I could try to put into words but, unless you have actually experienced it, you may never understand. So i invite you to experience it for yourself, go out there and gain an appreciation for where your food really comes from.


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