COLUMN: Reviving a Canadian tradition

If you made a list of longtime Canadian traditions, it would not be complete without hunting.

If one were to make a list of longtime Canadian traditions, it would not be complete without hunting.

The history that Canada has with hunting started around 8000 B.C. with our first nations and their pursuit of game for substance. For some clans, it was even a ritualistic step toward manhood. During this time hunting was often the only means by which many families were able to feed and clothe themselves. Hunting has since progressed from a means of survival into a multi-billion dollar industry. Something else that has progressed equally over the years would be the number of participants.

For hundreds of years now, many Canadians have been supplementing their diets with high-quality meat they obtained through their proficiency with a gun or a bow. A study conducted in 1996 showed that one in 20 people in Canada participated in hunting. In the past 35 years, however, the number of annually active resident hunters in B.C. has been on the decline. Based on license sales, interest in hunting here was at its peak in 1981, with public opinion and participation seemingly quite positive towards hunting.

By 2004, the number of annual license sales in B.C. had dropped by more than half. As a result, the number of mentors for youth hunters, as well as those for new inexperienced participants, was also greatly reduced. This will inevitably lead to less successful hunters as many of them are trying to learn how to hunt without proper guidance.

In an attempt to streamline the education process and increase hunter numbers, online qualification is available now but unfortunately, there is no longer a practical test for acquiring a hunting license in B.C. This has had a drastic effect on the number of hunter education instructors whose mentorship will be greatly missed.

Many years ago when we took our hunter education, the practical test was a mandatory and integral part of the process. It was also something many of the participants looked forward to as it was often the first time they had ever held a firearm. It consisted of a mock hunt conducted by the instructor with dummy rounds in the firearms. One of our instructors even took all students who passed the course to the gun club he was a member of and had us shoot a round of sporting clays with live ammo so that he could rest assured we were all comfortable and safe handling a firearm.

Luckily there is hope for the future of hunting. There has been a recent increase in the number of new hunters seeking qualification and the biggest percent of them seem to be from less than typical demographics. A new trend in the way people look at how they get their food is influencing their opinion on hunting. Fuelled in part by interest from young urbanites, men and women hoping to reclaim a family hunting tradition, urban farmers, vegetable gardeners, hipsters, artists, and foodies all looking for a sustainable and ethical way to feed themselves.

There is even a trend amongst vegans and vegetarians who originally stopped eating meat for ethical reasons related to industry raised meat that is now taking up arms in search of truly organic forms of animal protein. Hopefully, these new hunters will one day become the new mentors, and help continue the progression of one of Canada’s oldest traditions. If you are looking for a healthy way to put meat on the table that really makes you feel like you earned it, seek a good mentor, head to woods, and go hunting!!

Alex Nash and Trevor Loren are second-year Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College in Castlegar.

Just Posted

Slide on Momma Bear run causes Polar Peak to close

One individual trapped in slide, rescued by CARDA

Fernie Skating Club performs annual show

On Saturday, February 18, the Fernie Skating Club braved the cold, and… Continue reading

Outstanding support for Blankman family

“There’s no shortage of support in this town if you need it,” said Maggie.

Ghostriders accelerating towards playoffs

Fernie’s first playoff game of the season is this Sunday, February 25 in Sparwood.

City of Cranbrook culls 50 urban deer

In an effort to reduce incidents of deer aggression across the community,… Continue reading

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadian’s to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Fly Fishing Film Fest coming to Fernie, March 1st

On March 1, the doors will open at The Vogue Theatre to… Continue reading

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Most Read