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Definitely not the Grocery Store – Deer Hunting 101 with Chef Robin – Update 2

In a room full of 20 something boys from the sticks, I passed my CORE hunting program on Wednesday with 97%. Yeehaw! Mark one for city girl. I will say that it was a painfully easy exam for a pass that permits you to kill living creatures. My bloody sommelier exam required 100x more study.

One piercing question has been rolling about my mind since getting my hunting license. Is hunting for food morally wrong? I realize the issue is more complex than this simple question. A lot of if, ands or buts come to mind, but it’s an important question for me to consider before diving into the forests. I posted the question to my Swallow Tail facebook group and I got some impassioned answers.

The moral key for me is to cull only the populations of ‘meat’ that are abundant, sustainable and “happy”. I realize that it sounds really hypocritical to say you will only kill happy animals. What the hell is a happy animal? I can only guess by putting myself in it’s hooves. An animal that lives it’s life free in the forest is my bet for a happier being rather than one stuck in a feedlot ankle deep in it’s own shit. Deer is an abundant species in BC, mule deer in the interior alone number around 165 000 which is probably where I will go for my first hunt. The main threat to deer populations is habitat loss. Believe it or not, hunters are some of BC’s most effective land conservationists, because they are nature lovers and see wildlife as a fundamental part of their lives. Even with these facts taken into account, the question is still rumbling about in my noggin. Is hunting a good moral option for food? What do you think?

A few quotes from the facebook discussion…

No one in Vancouver hunts for subsistence and to put added pressure on already stressed prey animals in the wild is way offside. The argument that an urban hunter is somehow more noble than a consumer at Safeway or somehow has a more profound respect for nature is bullshit!!!” – CH

“I have to disagree with CH. One of the biggest threats on deers in a lot of places is overpopulation. This brings on several other issues like bringing predators closer to human settlement, danger of disease spread and more animals being hit by cars. As for the noble argument, to me it is more noble because the animal I’m eating led a more natural life than the cow I could be eating from Safeway.” -MB

“I feel that shark hunting for shark’s fin soup is definitely on a different moral pole than Kenyan marathon hunting. I feel that each act of hunting can be assessed to have it’s own moral value depending on intent, usage, wastage, ecological impact and suffering of the prey.” – NT

Photograph by Shannon Mendes Photography