Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hunting, one of the biggest divides between rural and urban BC

In urban BC, places like Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George most people have no direct connection with anyone that hunts.   Once you get to places like Lillooet, Fort St James, Port McNeil and many other small towns it is almost impossible to live your life and not know someone that hunts.   Most people in urban BC have never tasted and wild meats like moose, cougar, bear and waterfowl while in rural BC the poorer people all tend to have wild meat as part of the annual diet.

This divide on hunting is one of the biggest divisions between urban and rural.   In rural BC a rifle is still a hunting tool that many houses will have.   Bears in your backyard happen and you need to figure out how to deal with them and hunting is a legitimate option.

At the heart the division is one based on how connected people are to the land and the world around them.   Many urban people have an unrealistic view of the wilderness because they have such limited connection to it.  Urban residents have developed a anthropomorphic view of wild animals and goes from the silly of feeding deer to the seriously dangerous view of bears as something warm and cuddly.

I have an very healthy respect for grizzly bears.   I have met a few people in my life who had an encounter with one and lived to tell the story.   I have see a few and been glad they have been far enough away to not be a threat to me such as one time at Leon Creek when I saw one 200 meters away and on the other side of the creek.

Black bears are a much bigger problem because they are happy enough to come into town.   Having seen them up close, less then five meters away, they are not something to be trifled with.  

I considered buying a rifle when I lived in Lillooet to go hunting because it would be a cost effective and healthy way to feed my family.   I could have gone out after work and hunted for an hour or two.  To do something similar here on the island would take a weekend or more.   Ideally I would want to go to the interior to hunt there and that then really means four to five days at a minimum.   My hunting would not be to have a head stuffed and mounted, it would be about getting meat in the freezer.

Urban residents tend to rather divorced from where their meat comes from and have trouble looking at a moose or deer and seeing anything other than a majestic animal.   Few of them look at a deer and think that it is a great way to get away for factory farmed meat even when they are not vegetarians.

 For the rural resident hunting is part of the world around them that they are part of.   The urban resident sees rural BC and the wilderness as a mythic preserve to he held in reverence and hunting has no place in it.

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