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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.

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