September 30th, 2014


Guess what?

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?