There are some things we can all agree on

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There aren’t a lot of things environmentalists and hunters usually have in common when it comes around to politics. That’s something I’ve been puzzled by since we moved out West to Alberta, which is a pretty conservative part of Canada in general. I’ve never understood why people who make their living off the land whether it’s ranching or hunting wouldn’t want to take care of it and make sure it’s preserved. But sometimes it’s not as much what you’re both for as what you’re both against, right? That’s been the case in the US recently, as I read in this article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/public-lands-sell-congress-bureau-management-chaffetz

 

Turns out a man in congress  (one of their MP’s essentially) proposed a bill that would sell off over 3 million acres of land that’s owned by the American government, at a rate that would basically forfeit any profit, and for no particular reason other than that somebody wants to cut back on the people who keep up the land. It would have been a chunk of land the size of Connecticut which is one of the states in New England, over ten different states. It’s not specifically park land, and it’s not officially used for anything, but it’s land where animals cross on migration routes and where the government makes some money felling timber and leasing oil drilling, and it’s also where Americans can go to hunt and fish as well as camp.

Basically, the proposal got the environmentalists and hunters all riled up about the same thing, so they’ve ended up on the same side in what seems like forever. A lot of hunters come from rural places, like they do here in Canada, which means they’re usually more OK with gas and oil projects, but if there’s one thing they won’t stand for, it’s selling off their hunting stamping grounds. Hey, whatever it takes, right? The bill made environmentalists angry because the land would essentially just be sold to oil and timber companies, who would completely wreck it in a few years, and totally disrupt all the animals that use the land to migrate seasonally.
The lawmakers who proposed the bill have apparently backed off at this point, but it’s nice to see hunting groups finally fired up about conservative efforts to sell of protected land, which is definitely new, and something I’d like to see happen out here in Alberta. People vote year after year for the Conservative MP’s even though they really benefit a lot from the protected land we have out here in the Rockies. It’s very counterintuitive, but I’m taking what’s been happening South of the border as a good sign that things can change if you put enough effort into educating people about what’s at stake for all of us.

Hunting 101: all you need to know about getting sustainable meat, including the best gun scopes and other gear

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Hey guys,

 

I wanted to talk to you today about hunting as a main source of meat, which I think is the most sustainable thing we can do to continue having a diet that’s high in protein without wrecking the planet. So this blog is going to go into a bit about why I think hunting is the better way to go, and then tell you the basics of what you need to start.

 

First of all, we have to admit that agriculture as we know it is destroying our environment. It’s just not a smart use of our land and energy, and it’s really doing a number on the climate. Raising animals for meat takes exponentially more farmland than growing vegetables, because you have to use all that land for grass and grains to feed the cattle in the first place. You’re essentially using the majority of good growing soil in the least efficient way possible, to basically grow grass. If you were to plant fruit and vegetables in that space, you could easily feed the world, which at this point, we would need another whole planet to actually do. The worst part is that all those animals crank out so much carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere that they actually do more to heat up the planet than cars or electricity. That’s not an opinion, that’s just a fact, and it’s coming from somebody who likes to eat meat.

I think hunting is the way to go because you’re living off of animals that roam wild lands, which you don’t have to wreck by planting monoculture grain and grasses. Deer don’t do any harm in the woods, and the fact that they live in the woods so you don’t have to deforest to get your meat is infinitely better for the planet.

 

The meat is better for you, too. Beef and pork are pretty fatty, and most dietitians will tell you that you shouldn’t eat them every day, because lean protein like fish and chicken are better for you. The same is true of wild game. It’s about as lean as any meat can get.

 

And if you’re hunting, you have a real engagement with the animal you’re eating. It sort of forces you to be more honest about what you’re doing. Now, I’m fine with eating meat, and taking my own game. I’ve been around that my whole life, and it feels like just part of nature. But I also know that a lot of folks eat meat every day but try never to think about where it comes from, or the fact that an animal was killed to get it. I don’t have to feel bad about the factory farms that produced my dinner because I hunt it in the woods. It feels a lot better to take a deer that’s had a great life running around in the woods than to eat some really processed piece of beef that came from a cow that didn’t see sunlight ever.

 

Will you have to eat less meat? Sure, but that’s probably good for most of us. Unless you’re really getting a workout every day, you don’t need all that protein, and there are lots of other ways to get protein besides eating meat. You’re going to appreciate the meat you do have, as well, and have a more honest relationship with it since you know what it took to get, and what the animal was that it came from.

 

So that’s essentially my case for why you should hunt. I think that anyone who lives close to the woods should be doing it as a matter of fact, but even if you’re within an hour’s drive of some hunting grounds, there’s no reason not to bring home at least half your year’s worth of meat to the freezer instead of buying it from unsustainable farms.

 

Here’s what you have to do to get started:

 

-choose your weapon: you can hunt with a bow or a rifle, for pretty much any game. It’s a personal preference, but bows aren’t good for really big game like a moose or a bear. Rifles will work for just about anything, but you have to make sure you get the right size gun, because if you use too small of a gun you won’t get a clean kill.

 

-get a good scope: for the same reason, mostly. You want to get a clean shot that kills the animal instantly so you don’t cause it any unnecessary suffering. Find the right one on bestgunscope.com.

-know what you want to hunt: that’s going to help you figure out what weapon to use, but manly it’ll tell you where you need to look for hunting. For a lot of people, you’re going to end up going for what’s near you. So, out West where I live, there’s a lot of elk, rabbits, and deer, were out East you’re going to see a lot more wild turkeys, deer, black bear, that sort of thing.

 

-figure out where to go: it’s pretty self-explanatory. You’re going to have to find somewhere you can hunt, so obviously the closer you are to the woods, the easier it’s going to be for you. Ask anyone you know who hunts and Google if you’re completely blank.

 

Lastly, I would just say that I think everyone should get into hunting, but people who haven’t ever been before should go out with a friend before you do your first major trip. You have a lot to learn before it’s really safe to be out in the woods alone, and you’re going to need a partner to bring back any big game anyway. Let me reiterate again that having the right gear is also a must, like the best ar 15 scopes, the best sniper scopes found on http://bestgunscope.com/sniper-rifle-optics/.

But if you put a lot of thought into it and make an effort to push yourself to go on a regular basis, I think hunting for your own meat is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. And it’s the only way to really be green with eating animals.

Beginner’s guide to deer hunting

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I’ve been hunting my entire life. So, a lot of stuff is second nature to me. I know my way around pretty much any gun just by feeling it out, and I have a good sense of which gear is quality, that sort of thing. And hunting is a lot about experience, more than anything else. I can get a sense for when it’s time to move on from a spot, or for when a deer is just about to move. I think one reason a lot of people don’t get into hunting is that it seems so daunting, like you have to have been doing it since you were little to be any good at it. Experience helps, but it shouldn’t be a scary thing to start out. So, if you read my blog and are thinking about going out for your first deer, I’ve come up with a basic intro for you, which is today’s blog!

Hunting deer has been a primary source of food for people in North America since the First Nations people first arrived here over the land bridge from Siberia. As they moved southwards into the deeper forests and warmer landscapes, they started integrating the deer into their mythology, and they used deer skin for a lot of their clothes and building materials. The Pilgrims in America recorded venison feasts as they first arrived here, and even though the population came close to being hunted out of existence in the 1800s, as people expanded across the continent, it’s now back to being extremely healthy, and here in Alberta, there are deer everywhere for the taking. A lot of the people I know live their whole year out of the freezer thanks to the deer they take, and I’ve never heard of somebody going out empty-handed out of hunting season. When you start taking deer, you’re going to get lots of automatic time outside and exercise in the great outdoors, fresh meat that’s completely organic, and a lot of expertise that sets hunters apart from passive, lazy modern folks.

 

First things first, you need to get yourself a weapon. I would recommend starting with a gun because it’s the easiest to learn, and it’s not as much of a pain to get into as using a bow. Bows are definitely a great way to hunt, but I’d really suggest getting your aim down first with a gun, and besides, using rifles will get you game faster, which is key to keeping you motivated to go take more game. You’re going to want to head to a hunting store near you to try out the feel of a rifle in person, since you need to get a weapon that’s sized and weighted to what you can manage. For deer, you want to be looking at Winchesters or Remingtons, .30-.30s or .30-.06’s in particular. Any good hunting store clerk can help you find something good, but stick to a really good company like one of these two. I would also recommend finding a firing range to try out the specific model before you pull the trigger, so to speak. Look at some scopes while you’re there, since you’re going to need one to make accurate shots at distance.

 

Once you’re armed, you need to get acquainted with your firearm before you take it to the woods. You should find a place to target practice on your property where you won’t be aiming into anywhere people could walk by accident. It’s probably a good idea to set yourself up against the woods, as long as it’s not somewhere kids play or your dog goes. Otherwise, shooting against a  bank or a barn is a good backup. After you start getting better at hitting your marks, sign up for a hunter’s safety course, which you’re going to have to pass before you can even think about getting a hunting permit. They usually take about half a day, and there’s a written exam on rules as well as a practical part where they’ll expect you to show that you know your way around your gun.

After you get your permit and your test certificate, you can head out to the woods. You’re going to need some warm clothing, muck boots, and gloves, all stuff that doesn’t crinkle or make a lot of noise. You also need some reflective clothing to keep other hunters aware of where you are. I always take along a box of bullets, a good hunting knife that you can use to field dress (take out the guts) and a flashlight. I also keep my permits in a plastic bag inside my coat so they don’t get wet or bloody when I’m out hunting.

 

If you’re looking for places to hunt, always think about where deer could be moving. I tend to go for the edges of fields, or clearings in the middle of a fairly open woods without too many brambles. If you can find wild apples growing, there’s a good chance deer will be around.
I hope you find this helpful, and definitely let me know if you have any specific questions! I can answer them in Part Two!