It frustrates me when people try to justify hunting as ‘just another sport’. Hunting is not a sport - hunting is what we did before there was sport. It is much more primal and basic - it can be suppressed, diverted or ignored - but it still exists.
Early humans evolved to be hunters and gatherers for millions of years and humans as we know it now have only spent the last ten thousand years (approximately) practicing agriculture and animal husbandry. In a timeline of human evolution, civilisation and agriculture are not much more than the blink of an eye (furthermore, civilisation is entirely unsustainable). If you consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the innate drive to produce food is one of our most basic physiological requirements - sports only began to evolve as our basic needs were satisfied by agriculture and civilisation and humans had to find things to fill our spare time with.
I refuse to bow to the notion that I have to justify my activities - there is nothing more natural than being out in the bush chasing game (whether it’s with bow, dog or firearm). People like to criticise modern hunting and claim that the true hunter should be capable of running down a full grown deer and taking it with their bare hands - that’s how humans started hunting (that’s why humans can run marathons and have a heat regulating system, allowing them to outrun even the fastest game) and pretty soon found that it was more efficient to use a pointed stick. Firearms are just at the end of a long line of human technological evolution. I temper my drive to hunt with the utmost respect for the game pursued, whether it be a humble rabbit, feral pig or majestic stag. Just because it is one of our basic urges, it doesn’t mean it has to be inhumane or unethical. Firearms allow me to pursue the most basic of human urges, and ensure that the animal will undergo the least amount of suffering. Hunting, to me, should be both human and humane. It should heighten the senses, lead us to appreciate our own mortality and teach us to respect all creatures - big and small.
In my opinion, football, cricket and volleyball are sports - hunting is what it means to be human.
I don’t understand people who hate on using firearms and would rather see an animal killed in a slow and painful way just because they consider it to be more ~natural~. Fact is, using advanced tools IS natural to our species. Many species create and use tools and some of these species, including crows, are known to constantly redevelop and improve their tool designs. That is exactly what we’ve done, just to a much higher level, using our knowledge to create tools that are as quick and efficient and possible. This is something we should be proud of!
If you’re going to kill something then it’s your duty to do so in as humane a way as possible, and thanks to firearms we are able to do that.
lis890 asked: You have a beautiful harris! :D And what a great name! I have to say it's lovely to see a young woman into falconry proudly blogging about it and sharing photos. My male, Steve, started moulting a bit early this year and in the past I've never really made blogs or taken photos of his progress, but I must say you have inspired me to start for the next season. Do you want to fly any other BoP? and what are you studying in college?
I kept an online journal religiously over the course of the 2012-13 season with my young male but this year I’ve just not had the time! I love to take lots of photos and document my hawk’s progress, and blogging is a great way to present my own experiences. I love that your hawk’s name is Steve :D Mine’s named after Arnold Schwarzenegger (not by me! the little fellow is a hand-me-down) and my young male last season was called “Solo”. I’ve been lucky to have experience with a variety of birds but Harris’ hawks hold a special spot in my heart and always will. I will always fly one! However I would love to fly a sparrowhawk or goshawk in a few seasons and would love to fly a Common Buzzard or American Kestrel for the pleasure in it. I live by the rule that a bird that comes to me is with me for as long as I can do it justice and I wouldn’t take on more than one serious hunting bird so the gos and spar may be a few years coming, but I don’t mind. I’m only young I suppose! I’m studying Animal Management at college and am in my first of two years. It’s particularly stressful and the workload is fairly gigantic but I wouldn’t change it for the world. What do you fly? I love meeting other falconers :)
Anonymous asked: How old were you when you first got into falconry??
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t :)
My Dad was a falconer 15 years or so before I was born and I think I picked up on it when I was 7 or 8. I found his old equipment in the shed, I found his old falconry library and set about filling my mind with every piece of information I could get my mucky little paws on. I devoured everything from fictional and autobiographical to non-fiction works, everything from “My Side of the Mountain” to “Falconry and Hawking” to “Veterinary Aspects of Captive Birds of Prey” all whilst I was still very young (that last one took some dedication to finally get though at 11). I’d also quiz my Dad endlessly and cajole him into retelling his own stories and experiences time and time again. I vividly remember being a small child and working at my falconry knot for hours then, having mastered it, trotting around the place with a grown man’s glove on my hand, a hood on my thumb and an empty set of furniture tied to the fist… Sad child. My obsession started there and has only ever grown.