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I come from a long line of blood thirsty hunters. On both sides of the family my ancestors were immigrants to Canada who settled crown land. That means that they arrived here and bought settler’s packages that consisted of unbroken land, a shovel, a pick axe and a few other tools. They were also given some of the bare essentials like a cast iron frying pan (I still have the frying pan from our McCauley homestead on the Manitoulin Island) and a few bags of seed. Needless to say, they needed to hunt to survive, especially in those first few years while they were breaking the fields and building houses and barns.
While several of my cousins and even some of their kids still hunt each autumn, I’ve never had the urge. My motto is: Why go shoot some animal when the store is full of yummy steaks?
But, my attitude is not necessarily representative. Not only are hunting and cooking more often topics that go hand-in-hand in the blogosphere, but those in the know tell me that interest in hunting is on the rise. “Hunting is definitely trending up among women in the US. Anecdotally, overall hunter numbers are slowly declining, but the ‘replacement’ hunters for those who die off are increasingly yuppies — or whatever we’re calling them now,” notes Hank Shaw, author of the very popular blog Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, in 2007, the purchase of hunting licenses was up in all categories including small game, moose, bear and deer. In 2008 there were an estimated 450,000 hunting licenses sold in Ontario. Likewise, Lezlie Goodwin of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters says that participation in Hunter Education programs is growing. “Hunting is such a holistic approach to food,” adds Lezlie. “It provides delicious, wholesome, fresh meat and it helps people to become more respectful of their food.”
I like what Lezlie has to say because I think she’s right: seeing your dinner on the hoof (or on the wing) makes you realize that every bite is precious. That said, It’s my guess that hunting is like meat eating. Either you do it, you did it or you won’t ever do it. Use the chart above to rate your hunting interest and tell me how blood thirsty you are. I’m a 4 on this blood thirsty scale.