If you grew up in the Ottawa Valley – Renfrew County in particular, chances are someone in your family hunts. Hunts deer, moose, bears, ducks….there are so many different ’seasons’ to choose from. Starting around Halloween until mid November, you are apt to see a lot of orange and camo clothing while out and about in Renfrew County.
I grew up in a family of deer hunters for the most part. My Grandfather, my Dad, my uncles, my brother, my husband….the list goes on. My grandparents house had deer horns on plaques on the walls. We ate venison as regularly as beef. Growing up we knew that after Halloween, Dad took off for the week to hunt. As kids, we would go out and sit on the runway on the Saturday morning of the first week. We would go out, Dad would have a camp fire, we’d eat Halloween Candy and see no deer. Afterwards, the ‘gang’ would cut up all the venison and it would be like a celebration.
There was one year in particular that I remember going out, and there was a deer that ran behind where we met to eat lunch. The guys all took off after it, determined to have a final deer to add to the tally. I think for me, that is when I really put it together that a deer goes from living to dead in a matter of seconds….and I didn’t want to experience that! Deer are probably one of my favourite animals. I did projects on them in elementary school, get excited when I see them – and always having lived in the country, I see them a lot – and I loved them alive and being graceful. And I had seen them dead. But I hadn’t really filled in that middle gap. After that, I never really wanted much to do with the whole hunting thing.
When I met my now husband, in his living room were 2 full deer busts (can I call a deer head a bust? I dunno, but I am!) like they were coming out of the walls. They were big, and it was creepy. Oh but guess what!!?? One of those big busts are now in OUR basement. I have affectionately called it “Bucky” and he creeps out my friends and kids think it is cool. I am not proud to say it is in my basement.
Anyways, my point of this post (and I do think I have one..??) is that I can coexist in a family that hunts and not necessarily agree with it. Last week my husband had the week off work and went into their camp and hunted while I was left to be a single parent for the week. This is something that he enjoys, as well as a ‘guys week’, so he deserves to do with that time as he sees fit. (Funnily enough, we had a doe and 2 fawns in our backyard a couple afternoons….and it makes me smile cause I like to think they know they are safe here ) I had gotten away from eating venison for many years, so now do not really enjoy its flavour, but we still have it in our freezer for the rest of my family to enjoy. I don’t think any less of my family and friends for hunting, but I just can’t see (nor want to) killing such a pretty animal. (I totally eat meat, don’t get me wrong. For some reason deer are not the same to me as a cow or pig etc Don’t know why.) But I do think hunting is kind of redneck-ish especially when I see women hunting. (No offense to women hunters!)
What disgusts me though, is the killing of a deer to kill and brag. My husband and my family shoot for food. The deer is not wasted. Meat is consumed and pelts are turned into the Ministry. I get that guys can get excited about who got the biggest rack (still talking about deer here ), but that is not the main point. Way back when, animals were hunted for survival not for fun. I think that needs to remain.
What ties do you have to hunting? What is your opinion on it all? Are you for or against hunting deer?
**Please note, I am not looking for backlash on animal cruelty or rude comments. Being from the Ottawa Valley, hunting is a big thing with a lot of people around here. I am not bashing those who do hunt, nor am I condoning all those who do. This is simply a post about my experiences on it, and where I stand. Please respect all comments that I have made and that others may post! Thanks!**