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Guess what? - Tactical Ninja

Sep. 30th, 2014

08:58 am - Guess what?

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I am going deer shooting!

*cue unfriending by all the vegans*

I'm not really a hunter, I'm a farmer. I hunted a lot as an older child/young teenager - my family was pretty poor and we made money from possum and rabbit skins and tails, and we also ate them enough so that I appreciate a good bit of wagyu steak probably more than most people. But once I got sufficient agency to decide for myself, I decided that I enjoy looking after animals as much as I enjoy eating them, and that farming provides a much better payoff than hunting, reward-for-hours-spent-wise.

But, NZ has a fairly high proportion of hunters because we have lots of backblocks and thanks to Them That Thought They Knew What They Were Doing In Ye Olden Tymes, we also have lots of introduced pests. Goats, deer, possums, rabbits, hares, to name the most damaging to our native flora and fauna. Hence making money off possum tails - there used to be a bounty on them.

I know in Australia they are protected, but in NZ they are responsible for the destruction of substantial quantities of native ecosystems, and are also a vector for the spread of TB (which is making a comeback here because they stopped vaccinating for it in the 1980s and also because poverty. Antivax people, take note).

Deer are the same. They might be cute and fluffy and majestic and shit, but they are also a disease-spreading pest that destroys native ecosystems (and thus native wildlife) disproportionately to any benefit they provide with their majesty. So I am ethically ok with killing them.

Still not really a hunter though. This is another case of me helping my mate Evan complete his bucket list. He wanted to take me deer hunting, so deer hunting is where I'm going this weekend. We're going to a station up in Arthur's Pass:



Where we will sleep in a hut for a few days and wander around those mountains looking for Bambi. I have no real interest in shooting a deer, although I'll take my turn if it comes up (last I remember I'm not a bad shot but it's been years). My job is mainly to fetch and carry anything that we catch. My two companions both being somewhat elderly and a bit decrepit, I'm the fittest of the bunch. Since I don't believe in killing things for fun, retrieving the meat is the most important job IMO. I am not interested in trophies although I wouldn't say no to a nice skin and a couple of back steaks.

Also, photos. Because NZ's South Island ranges are super pretty and it's spring so it'll be green as, with snow still on the tops (shit, even the Tararuas still have snow on them after this weekend).

So yeah, that's what I'm doing this weekend. Feel free to disapprove.

As an aside, NZ has 22 guns per 100 people (compared with the US's 90). Almost all of them are on farms or kept by people who use them for hunting. What other reason could anyone have for owning a gun?

Comments:

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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 29th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Hey, as a meat lover: have a nice hunting trip! Enjoy the scenery and hope you get some tasty venison!
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! If we do get some, I'll see if I can do a bush-to-plate photo series.
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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that would be really cool!
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From:didotwite
Date:September 30th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Yeah venison is NOM
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From:ms_hecubus
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
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We have a great climate for deer in Michigan and get some huge white-tail deer running around. I've passed herds of 50+ while driving in Northern MI so you kinda have to have hunting or our agriculture would be in the crapper.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
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We have mainly red deer, fallow deer and (in the south) wapiti here. The reds are the main problem, along with feral goats.
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From:c_maxx
Date:October 1st, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
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I understand (maybe correctly) that goats are one of the reasons the hills in Greece are so bare and rocky...
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From:plantgirl
Date:October 23rd, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Feral goats are a problem in Hawaii. They live in terrain that is too freaking steep for hunters to get them, and traps or poison endanger the native wildlife, so the ecological impact is getting worse & worse.
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From:siduri
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC)
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We used to have a neighbor who brought us venison. I still have a set of antlers from him.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
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The sad thing for me about living in the city is that the friend-who-turns-up-with-wild-food is no longer a regular occurrence. :-(
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From:siduri
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
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That is too bad. I don't have anyone either any longer. Then again, I don't eat that much meat any more, so I guess it is ok.
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From:didotwite
Date:September 30th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
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a lot of the hunts in the northeast work with a charity butcher program who donates the prepared meat to soup kitchens.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
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my dogs would totally love it if we had a hunting deer type of friend who brought us meat. i am on board with the whole "if you need it to feed your family or survive" thing, and it's definitely ok in terms of pest reduction. sport hunting isn't very cool, though.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
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Simple rule - if you're not going to eat it, don't kill it.

That works for most individuals, however NZ has pest eradication programmes because if we didn't, our native bush would be gone by now. This means that lots of animals get killed and not eaten, and I'm pretty certain that some people do this job because they enjoy bloodsports.

It's complicated.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
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that is complicated. too bad there weren't other critters that could eat what they'd hunted. hmm.
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From:tieke
Date:September 29th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
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I did a contract looking at evaluating pest management, and as part of it I went to a workshop with a bunch of people who worked in pest management. I got chatting over lunch with a guy who killed mammalian pests for the council and asked him what got him into the job.

He said "yeah, I like killing things, eh"

Pest management is the only job I can think of where that's an entirely acceptable reason for your career choice!
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From:plantgirl
Date:October 23rd, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
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California has a feral pig/boar hunting program, and there have been efforts to get that meat to people who need food assistance, but there are all sorts of obstacles in the way. Including people who scream "Don't shoot the cute little piggies!"

Sadly one is not allowed to beat them until they realize that just two or three feral pigs can destroy a farmer's field in one night, and the damage they do to stream beds & waterways, and the resulting problems from erosion, are huge.

So says the former vegetarian turned vegan turned omnivore again. Plus bacon is tasty. So was venison, the one or two times I've had it.
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From:kishenehn
Date:September 29th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
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I confess to you that I am a very strident anti-hunter. But if you post a couple more lovely pictures of Arthur's Pass I'll easily be able to ignore all the bloodsport stuff. :)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm more of a tree hugger.

Kiwis often have a weird split personality about this stuff. We love our clean green image and are all for preserving native flora and fauna, and will get very angry if someone kills a kereru. But possums, deer, goats and rabbits? Not so much.

Arthur's Pass is pretty amazing though. ;-)
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From:khaybee
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
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Have a great time with people. Enjoy their company. Good luck with the venison retrieval. I wish I could do an overnight trip like this, but as I am dependent on a medical device that requires electricity, I am very restricted on overnighters. So many places I wish I could go. Someday we'll figure out the battery problem.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I suspect I'll spend some time biting my tongue, and I really hope they don't start talking about politics. But yeah, looking forward to getting out in the bush.
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From:khaybee
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
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You can always practice steering the conversation away from politics :)
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
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"What other reason could anyone have for owning a gun?"

Target practice? I enjoy shooting paper targets for sport. My father taught me when I was young and I developed a certain amount of skill. It was easy to do this sort of thing in the desert when I grew up with lots of open space and outdoor ranges. Now I don't really do it anymore, but still have the guns in the safe (couple of lovely antiques). But he never hunted as an adult and I've never had the opportunity. I potentially would if invited, barring endangered species obviously.

Do you consider that strange?
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
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Not really, I can see the appeal in developing a skill. I think if I were to do that I'd probably go for one of those simulated hunting environments though, rather than just go to a rifle range (we have those here too).
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From:pombagira
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
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yay hunting.. *skips about*

what day for are you leaving for your hunting adventure?
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Thursday. Be back next Monday. ;-)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 29th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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My weetbix packet understanding of this is that deer and possums are a vector for TB in cattle as well. And you and I both know the extent (and you probably know the cost as well) of the TB programme in cattle.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 30th, 2014 05:52 am (UTC)
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I'm not actually sure what you're trying to say here. Are you suggesting that we shouldn't be concerned about deer and possums as a TB vector?

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From:tatjna
Date:September 30th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
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Well, yes. It has been for years and years.

And I think there's a huge difference between killing badgers in the UK for no good reason, and the number of very good reasons we have in NZ for killing possums and deer.
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From:pickleboot
Date:September 30th, 2014 01:08 am (UTC)
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as long as you kill the deer to eat them or donate excess meat to food shelters(i swear this must be an upper midwest us states thing) deer hunting can be a great thing. unfortunately, i live in minnesota where it is acceptable to hit a deer, chase it down through private property and then onto/into traffic. we lost the best suv ever to that exact scenario, the poor buck almost put his head through the driver side front window, then went up on the running board and over the bonnet. so sad we lost that one as it would still be going now!

we have a very large deer population here, and it is to the point they are coming in town to raid gardens. crazy. but hunting season is a bit off, so nothing anyone can do but call the police.

as for guns...i inherited mine from my grandfather when he died. the long gun/rifle(the estimates say two different things) i used for trap shooting, a glock that was his at one point or he traded for, and i'm drawing a blank on the last one. i can shoot them all, and to my surprise both kids want to learn how to shoot "those plate thingies". ok then. but they are locked away and the ammo even in another place that i can find easily, but none else has.

and i'm rambling. sorry. i want to see lots of photos! i love doing something like scrimshaw on the antlers, which reminds me i need to ask for some this fall- for art and the dogs!
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From:tatjna
Date:September 30th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
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In NZ, deer hunting is useful even if you don't eat the meat, because they are a noxious pest.
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From:pickleboot
Date:October 5th, 2014 06:45 am (UTC)
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learn something new every day. and i am sorry if my comment rubbed you the wrong way or anything like that.

are deer native to new zealand? sure, they are pretty to look at, but when i have them in our back yard/garden, i worry that the dogs with give chase and scare the deer into oncoming traffic. right about now is when we start seeing more and more roadside carcasses, and part of it make me sad as that could have fed a family of four for a good bit, but also the illegality of the kill. you clean up your kills, not leave them for the carrion birds.

i do apologize if i sounded mighty in my last comment, i certainly did not mean it to be!
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From:fbhjr
Date:September 30th, 2014 01:52 am (UTC)
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I hope you have a good time!
It looks like a fantastic place!
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From:crazedturkey
Date:September 30th, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
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Had THE BEST VENISON PIE EVER OMG on the South Island of New Zealand,


That thing changed my life.

A+ would eat again.
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From:richaarde
Date:September 30th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
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I'm sure Google Street View doesn't even come close to doing Arthur's Pass justice. The scenery along the highway that runs through it is breathtaking.

I guess every place has its introduced pests that are proving difficult to eradicate. Right now, the American South is being overrun by a vine imported from Japan.

This plant has spread through my area, although I believe they now imported an insect to control the species.
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From:meathiel
Date:September 30th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
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Have fun!

I do not disapprove ... ;-)
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From:warriorsavant
Date:September 30th, 2014 10:11 am (UTC)
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I used to be in the Vermont National Guard. Normally the National Guard drills one weekend per month, but they don't drill in November because it is deer season. Vermont is regarded as a very liberal, upper-middle-class, tree-hugger state, but that is because when people think of Vermont, they think of the few ski resorts. In fact, most of the state is rather poor and large parts are agricultural. Many families go hunting: husband and wife each bag their deer, and that's their meat for the winter.

Other reasons for owning a weapon are self-defence (although often over-rated as a reason for gun-ownership), and you enjoy target shooting as a hobby/skill. Being the urban (and urbane) guy that I am, I prefer my food already dead and bought from a market. I don't go pistol-shooting as much as I'd like, but I manage 2-3 times/year to keep up my skill and because I like it.
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From:didotwite
Date:September 30th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
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Oh, hello.

My husband is from Vermont. I see that you live in Montreal. I have family there. I would like to be friends. Please let me know what you'd like to know about me before embarking on the clicking and approving.

I grew up in CT, where hunting happens, but under the radar. Hiking in VT during the season was a cool experience for me. So thaaaat's why there are posted signs everywhere! Good thing orange is my favorite color.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 30th, 2014 07:14 pm (UTC)
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In NZ, self defence isn't really a reason for owning a weapon. There are probably some people who think it is, but the law is set up around a culture of guns as tools for hunting and farming rather than use against other people.
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From:warriorsavant
Date:October 2nd, 2014 01:32 am (UTC)
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How much self-defence is needed, and how much is the perception of need, is an interesting question, which I don't have the energy to look into right now. In Canada too, where there is less of a culture of self-defence, there is the divide between urban dwellers who froth at the mouth to increase gun control, and rural dwellers, who froth at the mouth against it.
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From:pundigrion
Date:September 30th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
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No disapproval here!

Canada has an even higher per capita ownership of rifles than the US, but it almost entirely due to hunting up North rather than "self-defence"...at least from humans.
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From:meri_sielu
Date:October 1st, 2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
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I actually really like venison, I don't know that I'd shoot it myself but I definitely love eating it so no judgement here. <3
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From:kehleyr
Date:October 2nd, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
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My dad's a hunter and he is on his way to Finland right now to hunt some moose. I don't know if I could kill an animal myself but I don't have a problem with other people who do (for food... not sports).

Let me know how it went :-).
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From:crsg
Date:October 5th, 2014 11:56 am (UTC)
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Somewhat late since I've been away, but hope you had a good hunting trip! I've never been myself (it's not really my thing, but I personally don't see anything immoral with it so long as people don't waste what they kill and/or only kill major pests), but people hunt around where I live as well. Not deer though - we have wild boars around the place, and since they're also a pest, there are definitely bounties on those things.
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