Going for a hunt for the day for a few birds is a big part of many of our lives in Labrador. The beauty of the land, the freedom to roam, the love of the hunt and of course the opportunity to have country food for the pot like white/spruce partridges, is one of the many outdoor activities that we enjoy in Labrador.
On Jan. 29, I took the day off from work to go for one of those hunts as my stomach craved for a meal of white partridges. The day was an absolute gorgeous and splendid day, with light winds out of the northeast, clear blue skies and temperatures hovering around minus 25.
Some would call it "A Large Labrador Day."
Accompanied by my daughter's boyfriend, we loaded up the truck early, with coffee and a lunch prepared, we were ready for the day.
We left the house shortly after daylight, travelling up the Trans-Labrador Highway for what we both hoped would be a successful day. The day started out non-eventful, but it wasn't very long before I started to observe two things that disappointed me.
The first was the amount of Tim Hortons cups all along the highway on both sides.
Now people, listen to me clearly: Do you really need to throw your trash out the window? I appreciate my Tim Hortons coffee as good as the next person, but to see so many of those brown cups blatantly discarded throughout our hinterland bothers me to no end.
Can you stop it please?
Growing up with parents that always taught us to protect and respect the land; the rules were set and drilled in our heads on a daily basis. That being; "pack it in, pack it out," meaning if you can bring the stuff in, I am sure there is room to bring the empty cans, bottles, cups and other refuse back home and dispose of it in the correct manner.
The result will be positively enormous and look at what it will do for the attraction of tourists. I am sure they don't want to see our garbage all over our pristine land.
The second thing that bothers me immensely more than the first is; the amount of birds some people kill for the sake of killing. I don't support hunting for fun: it's cruel and unnecessary.
My belief and stance on this is "animals should not be hunted as an amusement."
I can understand why people hunt for food, but I cannot comprehend why anyone would want to consider hunting for the pure joy of killing something. It should not be considered as a hobby to take the lives of animals and do nothing with them.
The answer seems simple to me: take what you need, not want you want.
I think it's extremely wasteful to hunt for sport because animal's lives are being wasted just for someone to practice shooting at a target (which by the way can be done at a shooting range).
For instance, if someone wanted to try out a new rifle or shotgun, they don't need to kill a whole lot of partridge to test it. However, if they are going to use the bird or animal for food or another specific purpose (say fur trapping), then that would be OK.
I've witnessed hunters killing an excessive amount of birds just for the sake of killing and bragging rights. This is wrong and leads to over-hunting. Can you imagine if we all did that how it would affect the local wildlife populations and sustainability?
There would be nothing left for the future.
So I will continue to be a sensible hunter and take only what I need. I encourage other hunters to do the same, always keeping in mind that you should not kill more birds/animals than you can actually handle and utilize.
As the old saying goes: "we are only borrowing the resource for a short time, it belongs to the future," so lets look after it today.