In this day and age with many people living in cities and not getting out into the woods, , the once necessary skill of hunting is diminishing. Hunting in my culture and in general is meant to be a respectful endeavour. This decline is partially tied to current issues surrounding guns in society. When some people think of hunting and firearms today, they only see the problems with hunting, when in reality, there are great things to be said about hunting as well. I think it’s a great activity and that it is not as dangerous, irresponsible, or generally bad as people believe it to be when done properly.

Hunting is meant to be a respectful activity. You are not supposed to waste the meat of an animal and a hunter should always be grateful for their harvest. In Southern Tutchone (a Yukon first nation) culture, we say a prayer and thank the animal once it is harvested. We respect the animal every step of the way. An animal is valued highly and is not considered a resource but a living creature with a conscience so we make sure not to waste any part of the animal. By law, in Yukon you have to harvest and use all of the edible meat (excluding things like the tongue, heart, and liver). You cannot feed the meat to an animal. The meat is meant to be eaten by humans not our pets. You also cannot openly display your “trophy/catch” on your vehicle while you are transporting it home. Breaking these rules results in consequences. You should always treat the animals you hunt with respect. They gave their lives so you could have food on your table.

Some people believe that people don’t need guns or shouldn’t have them because of the safety concerns that are brought up in relation to them. Guns are not designed to be a weapon. Guns are meant to be a tool. But like any tool, there is the potential for injury when using it. In Canada when you get your firearms’ license you have to go through extensive training and background checks before you are allowed to own a firearm. You are only allowed to own non-automatic rifles with a maximum magazine(“clip”) capacity of ten rounds as stated in the Criminal Code of Canada. The guns that Canadians are allowed to own are meant to be used for target practice and harvesting animals. You don’t need a fully automatic rifle with a 50 round magazine and all the gadgets designed to stop a soldier. Many countries especially the ones of the Canadian border have far more relaxed firearms rules than Canada. Consequentially, firearms that are designed to be weapons are far more accessible to those who aim to do harm. America barely has any background checks in place for firearms owners. Because of the sub-par regulatory standards, the violent culture that surrounds firearms and everything in America there are a lot of gun-related injuries and deaths both intentional and unintentional. Proper training and regulation are key to keeping people safe.

Hunting is not a bad thing. It is only looked at in a bad light because of the terrible things that have been happening in America and elsewhere along with the hunters who disrespect the animals they hunt. Poachers trophy hunters and people who have no respect for the animals they hunt have been getting news coverage and sullying the image that the general population has of hunters. Hunting is a great way to get out and see nature while also putting food on the table. Often when you are hunting you also see a lot more wildlife because you are being quiet when hunting. The wildlife doesn’t run away before you get there. You also bond with your fellow hunters and anyone else coming along with you because you are away from devices, work, and other distractions so you have better conversations with those around you. Hunting is a memorable experience and even if you don’t get an animal you still got to go out into the woods and (hopefully) enjoy yourself.

Closing off, I would like to make it clear that I support the control of guns and hunting. Laws are put in place for a reason. I do not support America’s “second amendment” (right to bear arms), militant groups, organizations like the NRA or anything similar. I enjoy hunting but if it creates a problem, it is completely reasonable to restrict or ban hunting. Firearms should always be treated with respect and safety should always be of the utmost importance when using a firearm.

If you want to know more about hunting, or firearm safety in Canada and abroad, feel free to ask me to talk about it. Or talk about anything else. You can reach me at my school email.

If you would like to see some photos I took on a hunting trip, here is the link to a Google Drive with them on it. There should be no images of dead animals on this drive.

Douglas McKinnon

About Douglas McKinnon