I am a Grey/Bruce sportsman who last week, participated in the rifle hunt for white-tailed deer.  This has been an annual tradition for the small group with which I locally hunt.

I too have felt the general stigma associated with hunting on occasion and with more frequency leading up to and during ‘deer season’.  I believe the labelling and animosity shown towards hunters stems from two themes; first is the portrayal of both hunters and animal life in the media.  For many, their only examples of Sportsmen and wildlife are the visual images depicted by Disney and anti-hunting groups whose voices are often louder than that of the typical hunter who chooses anonymity over arguments justifying their activity.

I question the motives and hypocrisy of those who speak out against hunting and fishing groups from the comfort of their armchairs- the people who are content to do their ‘hunting’ from the convenience of their grocer’s freezer.  An environment where everything comes pre-packed in aesthetically pleasing cellophane packages.  I urge those who feel strongly for the environment and it’s creatures to get involved in a conservation group.  Take part in tree planting, stream rehabilitation or winter feeding programs and you will find that most sportsmen are as passionate about preserving our natural resources as they are about harvesting them. 

Secondly, there are a few hunters who choose not to follow the rules and regulations of the sport and show a lack of respect for both their quarry and the environment in which they live.  As housing and commercial development continues to creep into rural settings, there is less property that is open to hunt freely.  Common courtesy requires hunters to ask permission to hunt on others land and to treat it as if it was their own.  Over this past week I was surprised by the postings of ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘No Hunting’ in areas that had always been open in the past.  I can only speculate that a few ‘bad apples’ or new ownership had ruined it for the majority.  Whether the cause was littering, hunting too close to livestock and habitations or in general disrespecting landowners that caused this occurrence, it is certainly disturbing.  As hunters, we must act like ambassadors to the sport – both educating and respecting those who do not understand our pursuits, and sharing our harvest with others.

Although I occasionally feel the pressure placed on hunters by those who do not understand the sport, instead of sinking into the shadows I choose to educate.  To tell anyone who will listen why I hunt.

The time spent with my father and brother and friends is what I cherish most.  The feeling of peace at first daylight on my stand, shattered unexpectedly, by the approach of a whitetail.  The thanks giving and happiness shared with others over a successful harvest.  And finally, recounting the memories of the best week of the year every time I reach into the freezer and pull out a brown package branded with a ‘V’. 

As a young hunter, I look forward to what future hunts hold.  The experiences that can never be replaced, only added to over many seasons.  My motives for hunting may change as I get older and more experienced.  However, my love of the sport and the animals I hunt will continue, and I look forward to experiencing the outdoors with my children like my father did with me. 

Please find attached a picture from last weeks hunt.  I was fortunate enough to harvest a nice buck and I am proud of it.  I have no problem with people knowing who I am and associating me with hunting, I hope others will not be afraid to do the same.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jamie Fenton