Yesterday I had the misfortune to be confronted with a scene outside my own front door which I knew at some point was likely but nonetheless it upset me deeply. I had been for coffee at my new neighbor's house and was returning home just as the guys across the street returned from a hunting trip. In the back of their truck lay a black bear. My eyes were drawn to the pitiful corpse and instantly averted. I rushed indoors, and to be totally honest, I thought my heart would break. Now please, don't for one minute think I am going to be one of those 'townies' who move to the countryside and then complain about the noises and smells of the cattle, or the fox hunting or any other country pursuit and demand it be stopped. Neither am I in the business of passing judgement on the people who hunt.
What it did do was cause me to reflect and question many things, and at this point in time, I haven't been able to reach much of a conclusion. There are so many sides of the argument. In the past hunting was a way of life. Our First Nation peoples hunted to survive. No part of the animal was wasted. It provided food and the skins were traded to make a living or provided clothing. The people gave thanks to their God in the belief that the animal had sacrificed itself so that they might survive. Indeed, many hunters today still eat the meat and use the skin. But I have to question is that a good reason, given that they can go to a supermarket and buy their food? Is it really a sporting trophy justified by the fact that the meat is eaten? And therein lies another question. The meat in the supermarket roamed the earth as a living creature, just as the bear did. So is it any different? Have I chosen to forget that fact because it is convenient to do so?
I have to confess that I am a meat eater and generally I don't question where it comes from. Does that make me a hypocrite? If so, should I put my money where my mouth is and stop eating meat? The sight of that poor bear was so painful for me. Perhaps it was knowing that the bear had been deliberately enticed with food each day for a week prior to the hunt, taking his mind off the game. Or because it was actually quite a small bear, possibly a juvenile. I since learned that the bear in question was shot a few miles away from the trap but that hasn't made me feel differently. Perhaps it is that I associate them with childhood comfort and sentimentality? Although I feel the same when I see whales being culled and I certainly never had a cuddly whale. Is it just that they are such big magnificent creatures I am in awe of them?
Having spent the last evening and most of today deliberating I still cannot reconcile my feelings on this. My conclusion thus far is that whilst my spiritual beliefs lead me not to judge the hunters in anyway, there is a very powerful feeling deep within my soul that morns the death of these magnificent animals. A small voice screaming out for their salvation. In the meantime I can only try to have an attitude of of Live and Let Live toward those who hunt in the hope that someday they, in turn, may adopt the same attitude toward the bear and other animals in the forest.
For anyone who has read my previous post and seen this picture before, please be tolerant. I make no apology for posting the same photograph as I feel it is a fitting tribute and something I just had to do.