A few days ago at lunch, someone commented that it was weird that I went hunting. After all, most of the food I ate was vegetarian. I laughed, groaning a little (okay, a lot) internally, and I explained myself yet again. I became interested in hunting *because* I am interested and concerned about the source of my food, not in spite of that fact.
This past January, I had the amazing opportunity to see the inside of a humane slaughterhouse in Vermont (not just be inside of it, actually walk under the swinging half carcasses of freshly slaughtered beef while “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” was playing. That song was actually playing. I can’t make this stuff up.). That same week, I met a taxidermist who was also an avid hunter. I was impressed by the care and respect with which both the workers at the slaughterhouse and the taxidermist discussed the killing of animals and the treatment of the animals after death. I started to think more deeply about my own meat consumption. And that’s when something shifted. Previously, I had tried to limit my consumption of meat or try to eat only meat that was produced in a good way. In other words, I tried to make my consumption of meat “less bad.” Even if the animal was raised and slaughtered humanely, which can be hard to determine and harder to pay for, growing meat still requires much more water and many more resources than growing other food. Researchers estimate that livestock-based food production causes about 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions. I decided I had to learn how to hunt.
My dad hunted, and he often offered me to go with him, but I was never interested as a kid. After my trip to the slaughterhouse and the taxidermist, I finally took him up on the offer. While visiting Miami earlier this month, my dad and I drove to Lake Okeechobee to the Rock Hill Hunting Preserve in the early morning. After about an hour and a half and with the help of two wonderful dogs (and one adorable pup that was in training), I killed two wild boar, weighing about 60lbs and 150lbs.
The wild boar that I killed were:
- Had spent their entire lives in the beautiful open marshes in central Florida
- Required no resources to raise
And, as an added benefit, the wild boar in Florida are a destructive and invasive species with no natural predators (see my post on invasive species).
If you want to learn to hunt, this is a good article to start with. Hunting requires a few upfront expenses (rifle, scope, shooting practice, hunter education course), but if you love the outdoors, it might be worth your time to take up hunting as a hobby. The easiest way would probably be to find a friend (or a father… XD) who knows how to hunt and tag along with them.
Some More Resources: