It’s a little ironic that I’ve never been hunting. Although I have gone fishing in my youth with my Grandfather…does that count? I suppose it does yes but fishing isn’t what comes to mind when you think of hunting.
The irony being because I’m a Canadian outdoorsman and my Dutch surname literally translates to “the Hunter”. However, I’ve never fired a rifle or bow at an animal. The only thing I’ve ever shot an animal with is my camera.
In today’s age of modern conveniences, and living in a major city, there is no need for me to hunt. I have no problem with those who hunt as a way of life and in some way survive off doing so. Many people rely on hunting as a food source. Just like when I went fishing with my Grandfather, we would eat the fish that we caught, and for those hunters who eat what they kill, I have no problem with that. It’s an important resource and when done responsibly, it’s sustainable in small numbers. I’ve even known a few people over the years who went further than just using the meet for food. They would also harvest the skins, pelts, and bones to make clothing and tools. Over-hunting though can have disastrous results. Just look at what happened to the Bison in North America. Their numbers were in the tens of millions and they were hunted nearly to extinction. The same can be said about many other species in the world.
I do have a problem with Sport or Trophy Hunters. Those who hunt just for the sake of their own ego, and go out and kill large animals, especially endangered ones…well let’s just say I have little patience for those types of people. If you want to go to Africa and do a “Big Game” hunt for a Rino, or Elephant…I won’t shed a tear if you yourself get shot.
In Canada, we have one of the most diverse ecosystems in the word with creatures ranging from the smallest Gnats up to the majestic Moose, Elk, Caribou, Wolves, and Bison, as well as a range of bears like Black, Brown, Grizzly, and the truly massive Polar Bears (although their numbers are dwindling fast).
Now you would think that on a road trip around the country, that I would see many of these large animals but that isn’t the case. I’m moving rather fast in a vehicle, crossing huge distances each day. The only wildlife I would see would be whatever can be seen from the roadway, and since most animals are skittish, they stay away from noisy places like roadways. It’s only at night when the roads are less traveled when the animals are usually nearby.
Although there are exceptions and sometimes those big beautiful animals that you want to see, wander close enough to the road during the day. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to shoot them…with your camera. Usually though, you’ll only get a passing glimpse of them. I was extremely fortunate to see several types of large animals in the northern British Columbia region, as well as in the Yukon and North West Territories. I was even more fortunate to be able to capture them with my camera. Getting that elusive black bear was one of my prize trophies, as well as the Bison, Big Horn Sheep, and the one animal I never thought I would even see in the wild tolerated my presence long enough for some photos…a Canadian Lynx.
Shooting a deer, moose, or a bear with my camera may not fill my stomach, but it does fill my soul.
On my road trip up to the Arctic, I was fortunate enough to see the following:
- 4 Bison Herds, + 30 randoms, so about 80 in total
- 13 Black Bears
- ~1 dozen Seals
- 6-7 Orcas (Killer Whales)
- 9 Deer
- 5 Moose
- 4 Foxs
- 3 Big Horn Sheep
- 2 Bald Eagles
- 2 Porcupines
- 1 Canadian Lynx
- 1 Caribou
- 1 Mountain Goat
- Countless Columbian Ground Squirrels