Today, hunting is a controversial issue. The killing of wild animals for food used to be a part of everyday life. My mother, up until about 15 years ago when she moved here from the prairies, still ate squirrels. Hunting/ fishing is a big part of my family’s history. Anti-hunting people feel it’s unethical, cruel, bad for the environment, etc. and hunting is un-necessary when you can just go to the grocery store. Few of us know how our food animals are harvested. Take Veal for example. Did you know the baby calves are taken away from their mother shortly after birth, put in small pens with barely enough room to turn around in for about 18 weeks and then slaughtered? Some can’t even stand and are dragged. Personally, I’m against this kind of harvesting and don’t buy Veal because of it. I don’t know one hunter who would ever behave in this manner.
There are very strict rules for hunting and huge fines and penalties if you don’t follow them. Last year hunting generated revenues of $350 million dollars for BC. In 2007 The Ministry of Environment, worried about the decline in hunters, proposed many recommendations to attract more. Here are some excerpts: “Hunters are essential to species protection and species management. Today, the healthy populations of game animals that thrive across much of Canada owe their well-being to hunters. To take a single example, waterfowl in the central flyway have been greatly enhanced through the efforts of Ducks Unlimited. This organization has worked hard to preserve vital wetlands and to secure the co-operation of farmers in the enhancement of waterfowl habitat. Funds generated by hunters pay for these lands by an over-whelming margin. The introduction of municipal bylaws prohibiting the discharge of firearms has greatly restricted hunting and has contributed significantly to the very rapid population growth of many species which have now become a real problem in some areas. Increasing hunting opportunities will allow hunters to lessen the number of problem animals, which will save taxpayer’s money. Hunting could be used to reduce bird and animal problems around airports, reduce introduced species such as starlings or grey squirrels, and even to lower safety concerns with black bears.”
Whether you are for or against it, hunting is beneficial on so many levels. Tighter restrictions on hunting have cost taxpayers millions annually because of problem animals alone. If you are interested in hunting, the Firearm Training Centre in Cloverdale, one of the top training schools in the province, is a wonderful place to start.
Steven Bednash, Publisher, Cloverdale Magazine