I’m no hunter; it’s all new to me, I’m not very good at it, and there are parts of hunting that I’m not entirely comfortable with—like the killing and cleaning parts.
Not that I don’t support the kind of hunting that is done from this isolated outport—I do. In fact, that’s how I see my role in McCallum expeditions: I’m part of the support team, a role that includes a lot of walking, looking and lugging across some hilly terrain.
I joke that I’m a Sherpa—a nod of respect to a Himalayan people who support folks from away who wish to explore Nepalese and Tibetan backcountry—but even that’s not accurate, as a Sherpa is renowned for their skill in mountaineering.
My talents are not mountaineering related. And I can’t pretend to be comfortable with watching how slowly an 800-pound, 20-point moose dies—how long it takes before a big bull leaves its feet, even after a large bullet has passed through its lungs. I find it difficult to watch such a magnificent creature fight for its life until the very end.
But let’s go back a step: I have little patience for folks who take an anti-hunting stance but continue to consume animal products. Have they never thought about where their meat and dairy comes from? Do they know how hideous the trip to the slaughterhouse is for the animals they eat, some traveling thousands of miles for several days? Have they ever considered what the ‘kill floor’ is like in a meat plant, how their supper’s final days and hours were a far more terrifying experience than some moose’s final minutes in a marsh? Have they seen the factory environment within which their chicken and milk products originate, or peered into the cages where their salmon sort of swim at the surface?
Have they ever considered the chemical products such critters are exposed to? Do they realize their electricity might be the result of the damming of an ancient salmon river, that their home only exists because of several forms of habitat destruction, or that the beloved jujubes they refuse to live without are made out of animal by-products? Or do they believe that’s something worth killing for—their jujubes and wine gums?
“I prefer not to think about it,” the anti-hunting, meat-eating establishment often cowardly say when I question them about their beliefs.
I think everyone should have to look their meat in the eyes at some point on its journey. I think all people should have to ponder how their meat, chicken, and now fish, not only no longer remotely resemble what nature intended them to, but live an existence that is almost entirely about profit for the producer and convenience for the consumer, at the expense of animals living a holocaustic existence.
And I think all humans should have to consider the consequences of our twenty-first century aqua and agricultural practices, especially given current scares regarding the safety of our sustenance—food security issues being caught in the USA, despite originating in Canada.
All the more reason I like knowing that the meat I’ll be consuming this coming year came from a moose that lived free-range on birch and willow shoots and aquatic plants, was shot by a woman who stood 300-yards away from it at the time of pulling the trigger, and cleaned by five families that expect to eat almost all of it.