Shhh! I’m Hunting Wabbits!!!


I’m going to be getting into hunting in the fall and thought I’d share a bit of my feelings about this.

First of all, if you’re in the city and can’t raise your own meat animals, but would like to see what it’s like to be the one to kill and butcher your own meat, this might be the best way for you to do that.

“Why on earth would you want to do that though!?” You might ask.

I ride my bike part way to and from work. When it’s raining and dark, I hate seeing smushed worms and frogs on the road (the main roadkill around where I live, which is pretty tame I admit). I go around every single worm on my bike and give the frogs lots of room if I’m going around them, but I often stop to usher them off the road. Only once have I come across a Bullfrog – an introduced, invasive species in my area. I couldn’t just leave it, so… now it’s in a tank at home. I don’t enjoy killing things.

But I do eat meat, and I’m OK with that, though I find it morally disturbing when people who eat meat get disgusted when they think about how they’re actually eating parts of an animal. If you don’t like that reality I think you shouldn’t eat it. In fact, that’s exactly why I think someone who eats meat should, at least once, actually kill and butcher an animal and then eat it. When you’ve done this, you will be either completely grossed out and won’t be able to eat meat again (which is totally fine, and better than lying to yourself about what you’re eating), or you will have a much more profound and deep appreciation for how meat actually gets to your plate. You will feel a sense of gratitude when you eat it and not just take it for granted, as if it just magically appeared nicely wrapped in plastic on its little styrofoam tray with the little diaper thing tucked underneath.

But here’s the thing – everything that lives, dies. The only questions then are: how does it live? And how does it die? If you’re going to eat an animal, I think these are very relevant questions.

“Free range” is a big buzzword these days. People feel warm and fuzzy knowing they’re eating free range animals which themselves are eating a diet that closely mimics what that animal would naturally eat, with no artificial hormones and antibiotics. Well… a wild animal is as free range as you can get and, by default, is organic, eating it’s natural diet and freely expressing its natural behaviour. We’ve all seen the images of factory animals packed into cages, literally fattening up (there’s significantly more protein in wild game meat) on food that they wouldn’t normally eat, giving them diarrhea which they then stomp around in with festering sores from constantly rubbing on the bars of their tiny cages. If you eat meat from this system, it’s very hard to take the moral high ground here.

Further, no one is growing monoculture crops to feed wild game, using machines and diesel and fertilizer and pesticide and fungicide and herbicide, using water pumped from rivers to the extent they no longer make it to the ocean, on land that would be otherwise suitable for human food crops, and then using more machines and diesel to harvest, process and transport that feed to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), and then somehow dealing with the concentrated effluent running off of these CAFOs.

So eating wild game is superior in pretty much every way when it comes to looking at how the animal lives.

So that brings us to how the animal dies. Ideally, a factory animal is killed very quickly with little suffering. Is this done consistently? A lot of video evidence from people working in slaughterhouses would suggest otherwise. A well placed shot (and you shouldn’t be hunting unless you can place a shot well) drops an animal where it stands. Is this done every time? No, but the vast majority of hunters strive for this with every shot and when a quick kill is not achieved you pay the emotional cost of watching the animal suffer, you don’t get to just eat the meat in complete ignorance of any suffering the animal may have gone through to get to your plate. This reality is what has me out target practicing every chance I get (I have an air rifle so that I can easily practice in my yard).

What are a wild animal’s alternatives for dying, other than with an arrow or bullet in  the chest? Lying down peacefully in a bed of sweet grass and flowers, sighing a final breath of contentment before closing it’s eyes and crossing the rainbow to the land of endless, green fields? Not really. A wild animal’s options are basically: starve to death, freeze to death, die of disease, or get torn apart by predators. In the area I live there are no predators (a small island) so the deer will keep reproducing until their population surpasses what the island can support, at which point starvation is the only thing besides hunters that will keep their numbers in check. However if hunters keep the number down below what the island can comfortably support, the remaining deer will be well fed and healthy.

So when it comes to how an animal dies, game meat again wins (unless you’re a horrible shot. If so, then please support your local, pastured animal farm).

A lot of the issues people have with hunting I also share. I don’t see hunting as a sport unless the deer have guns, too. I don’t support trophy hunting at all (I even think taking a picture with the hunter smiling over the carcass is a bit disrespectful). I don’t support baiting or anything like that, nor putting land aside specifically for hunting (where I live, hunting is only allowed on large, private properties/farms). I fully support laws that require hunters and gun owners to take comprehensive safety courses, and set guidelines regarding setbacks from roads, property lines, houses, public buildings etc. for safety. I wouldn’t argue that hunting decreases landscape damage or decreases car strikes. And, yes, if everyone started hunting for all their meat we’d quickly decimate the wild populations (that being said there are some species that could do with a bit more culling! Invasive species definitely come to mind.) My interest in looking at guns is about the same as looking at pruning saws – what’s the cheapest thing I can get that will do a really good job. I’m not planning on building a pruning saw collection or going to pruning saw conventions or join the local pruning saw club, same goes for guns. I don’t subscribe to the belief that society is imminently going to collapse, and if it did, hunting would probably only be a short term way of getting food until the game in your area was completely hunted out. If you think eating any meat is unethical, then don’t eat meat. I fully support people who make that decision and I don’t think people “need” to eat meat. As stated, I don’t like killing things, but for me that’s a reason not to just have someone do your dirty work for you.


When looking the arguments, hunting is the most ethical meat to eat (if you are going to eat meat). This is what drew me to hunting in the first place. It’s also healthier, tastes better (well, I guess that’s subjective but I like it better) and is (potentially) much less expensive than meat from the store (your first season should provide enough value in meat to offset your initial expenses). What’s more, you’re experiencing providing for yourself (and family), growing your skills and being more self-reliant, more “grown up”. And I bet that combination will result in you feeling more satisfaction, enjoyment, and gratitude for that meat than the best steak served in the fanciest restaurant (yes, I’ve eaten in world-renowned restaurants, and while I can’t say that about meat I’ve hunted yet, I do know that that’s the case for my home-slaughtered chickens).

I look forward to moving forward with my goal of becoming more connected in my life and being able to do more things for myself. I’m sure I’ll be writing a followup post in the fall!