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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Archery and Ethical Hunting

Bowhunting is becoming popular again.

After decades of decline in hunting, bowhunting has seen a resurgence in recent years - most markedly by urbanites seeking a more authentic way of getting their meat on the table.

Part of it is society's new obsession with grass-fed, humanely killed, hormone-free food. Organic and non-genetically modified. (99% of organic food is GM.)

The decline of hunting can easily be seen in British Columbia, where resident hunting licences peaked at 174,000 in 1981, and dropped to 85,000 in 2005 but have since rebounded to 94,000 in 2012.

That rebound is largely due to bowhunters and crossbow hunters - both men and women - and their numbers are being swelled by urbanites / city dwellers who want to hunt for their own food.

For some of those people they are worried about food safety, eating locally and being connected to the food we eat. Others just feel that hunting is a more interesting way to get their meat in their freezers and love the taste of venison.

The government in British Columbia is making it easier to become a hunter too, eliminating hunter-safety program requirements and have set a goal of at least 100,000 licensed hunters by 2014-15. And because it is faster / easier to get your hunting license if you are a bowhunter, this means bowhunting is an easier option for people who want to get into hunting.

Hunting also brings in extra tourism dollars from within Canada and from foreign hunters. So it is a win-win for the province of B.C. to keep down the populations of deer, elk, moose, goat, sheep and caribou. The province is spending $2 million this year improving the habitats of animal populations.

Even youth hunters (10 to 17) are getting involved.

“These changes will give youth and other new hunters an opportunity to find out if they enjoy hunting,” reads the government synopsis, “before requiring them to go through the time and monetary commitment of taking hunter safety training.”

Back to the topic of urbanite hunters, Kai Nagata, a 27-year-old communications consultant, has taken up bowhunting in his quest for ethical hunting.

“Those of us who grew up in the city are disconnected from the food we eat,” said Nagata. “It starts out as a philosophy, but it gets hands-on very quickly.

And what is more is that the vast majority of hunters make a strict distinction between hunting for food and trophy hunting - and oppose trophy hunting as a crime against nature. They're not alone either. A recent survey found British Columbians support food hunting, but a large majority oppose trophy hunting.

Monday, January 27, 2014

1365 - when football was banned and archery neglected

Centuries ago - during the 1300s and 1400s - football was regarded as a violent sport which caused the young men of the day to neglect the practice of archery. Indeed many laws were passed prohibiting the playing of football.

The first national law that interfered with the game of football was decreed in 1365. Other earlier laws were passed against it, but it was in 1365 that such a law became a national issue. In Scotland King James I decreed as follows - "It is statute, and the King forbiddis, that na man play at fute-ball, under the paine of fiftie schillings to be raised to the Lord of the land, als oft as he be tainted, or to the Schireffe of the land or his ministers, gif the Lords will not punish sik trespessoures."

James I of England also wrote in his Basilikon - "From this Court I debarre all rough and violent exercises, as the football, meeter for lameing than making able the users thereof." This was made the ground of an indictment preferred at the Middlesex Sessions in the eighteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which charged sixteen persons – husbandmen, yeomen, artificers, and the like – for that they did, "with unknown malefactors to the number of a hundred, assemble themselves and unlawfully play a certain unlawful game, called football, by reason of which unlawful game there arose among them a great affray likely to result in homicides and fatal accidents."

These words give a somewhat accurate description of what is now known as a rugby scrimmage.

But the ban against football / what would later become rugby and soccer and American football / was far too popular, and indeed many lawmen themselves played football so it was a hard sport to suppress.

There later developed the custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday, which became at one time a great football festival. In 1797 there was an indictment preferred at Kingston-on-Thames to suppress this custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday, in which persons were charged for that they "did then and there unlawfully, riotously, and routously kick, cast, and throw a certain football in and about the said town". What is interesting to note is that by 1797 the game was played according to Rugby rules.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Archery, Part of Toronto's History

Archery has long been a part of Toronto's history.

You can see it in historical photographs of people doing archery at the Grange Park in 1867.

You can even see archery in the sculptures around the city.

Like the relief sculpture below at Ryerson University.

Or Henry Moore's 1966 sculpture "The Archer" located outside Toronto City Hall.

Large crowds came out in 1966 just to see Henry Moore's sculpture "The Archer".

Basically what it comes down is that archery has been part of Toronto's culture for a very long time - and it shows in our artwork and historical photographs.

I am on the hunt to find more examples of Toronto archery in artwork and historical photographs. So if you know of any please leave a comment as to where to find them.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Arnold Sports Festival

The Arnold Sports Festival will celebrate its 26th anniversary when it takes place in Columbus, Ohio, from February 27th to March 2nd, 2014. More than 175,000 sports and fitness fans are expected to attend and also another 18,000 athletes.

The annual event, which is co-produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer, was first organized in 1989.

In its early years, it was a bodybuilding competition, but it now spans 50 different sports, including amateur boxing, archery, fencing, grappling/jiujitsu, judo and taekwondo. It will also host a Martial Arts Festival and an Amateur MMA Festival.

If you are visiting Columbus, Ohio in February or March you might want to check it out at

So regardless of what you are into - whether it be archery or bodybuilding - it is certainly an event to attend if you get a chance.