"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

An appeal from the heart of a hunter

A great many individuals gave well-researched speeches at the shooting-ban bylaw public meeting last night. Some tugged at the heartstrings. Some relied on facts and figures. But no one delivered a more passionate and reasonable appeal than did Chris Bradford of Pitt Meadows. Here, in its entirety, is what he said:

My name is Chris Bradford. I am a resident of Pitt Meadows, a husband, father of two, and I am an angler and hunter. Thank you for the opportunity to have such an open forum on this topic. 
This topic is always an emotional one for people, as some believe that there is no need for hunting in our “modern” society.  They will say that "there are butchers, so you can get your meat there.”  Fair enough. BUT, under that SAME thought process, I could propose that there are a number of other things our "modern" society can do without.
  Libraries for example.  ALL the info you could ever need is available online, and devices like a Kindle let you download and store all the books you want.
Museums are another.  Every artifact in a museum could have its picture taken and be downloaded for your viewing pleasure.
Little girls baking cookies with their grandmas. There are bakeries all over that sell all kinds of baked goods, and they are cheaper too!
  All of these are things are no longer needed in our "new" society. Now just think how absurd that sounds! Well, to those of us in the hunting community, so too does banning it.
  For us, the smell of neoprene waders, rubber boots and freshly poured coffee in a musty marsh, is the same as the smell of those cookies baking in the oven. The lessons of gun safety, ethical shot selection, proper game handling and preparation for the table is the same as the measuring and mixing of ingredients, the dangers of a hot stove and the greasing of a cookie sheet.
  The ever changing early morning light, filtering in and filling a frosted pre-dawn forest to reveal a fresh scrape or a rub is equal to the depth of the painter's brush stroke, or the light cast on a sculpture and the shadows created, revealing its true beauty.
  The pride that is on the face of the little "pig-tailed" girl as she hands you a homemade cookie, is the SAME pride we have all felt, and our children now feel, when we serve our legally harvested wild game to our appreciative family and friends.
  I believe that this council has the understanding to realize that eliminating hunting from this area, as development and nature collide, will only increase the amount of human and wildlife conflicts.
  A lesson taught to me by my grandfather, is that "the most dangerous bear in the woods, is the one that has lost its fear of man."
  I believe that creating a buffer zone for Pinecone Burke Provincial Park will allow all users to safely co-exist and maintain a healthy, non-threatening wildlife population.
  As has been previously mentioned, by this council, the correspondence with the hunting community has been respectful.
That is because hunting is all about "respect". Respect of the environment.  Respect to the conservation of a healthy animal population. Respectfully sharing the land with others and most importantly, respecting the game harvested.  As hunters, we are respectful that there will be those who do not like it.  We would ask not that you "respect" hunting, but rather that an open and objective mind be kept during these discussions.
  There is a misconception that hunting is about "killing", this is simply not true. The death of an animal, be it a fish, bird, bear, deer, cow, chicken or pig, is simply a "part" of the process to bring meat to the table.  Society just does not give the same "Disney" treatment to the last three. Make no mistake, "Fog-horn-leg-horn", "Porky Pig" and the "cow that jumped over the moon" are just like "Winnie the Pooh" and "Bambi". They are all fictional cartoon characters!
  Deer and bear are "wild" animals. Mistaking them as anything else is neither “safe” for the community, nor "respectful" to their wild nature.
  There is lots of area for us all to, safely use.  A buffer zone will work.  We can all safely co-exist.
  I hope that council will consider all information when making its decision.

"Goose Hunter at Dawn" photo from gunsandsupply.com.

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