The Ruffed Grouse

A Dangerous Species

Some of the anti-hunting stance is emotionally charged but many non-hunters are neutral or slightly toward anti-hunting simply because they would not want to kill an animal themselves. You might stand a chance of convincing someone like that of the value of hunting.

I had just returned to my car parked on a bush trail after a few hours of grouse hunting. At the same time two guys and a girl, in their early twenties, on mountain bikes, pedaled by. They stopped and asked if anyone else was hunting in the area. I told them I didn’t think so but even if there was they were in greater danger from their bikes than from a hunter. They laughed knowingly and told me of some nasty bruises and scrapes from bailing out. One fellow asked me if I got anything while hunting. I told him I hadn’t and that the grouse had beat me three to zip.

Right away the other fellow said, “Good. I’m glad you didn’t murder anything.” I knew then I was dealing with at least one anti-hunter.

I decided to keep our encounter light and said, “I know you’re only saying that because you haven’t tasted my lightly breaded pan fried breast of grouse”

The young lady chimed in, “Oh, do you eat what you catch?”

I love it when someone refers to hunting as “catching” because here I know I’ve got someone with a clean slate. They have everything to learn about the value of hunting. I explained that modern hunting laws forbid wanton killing and wasting game animals. We always ate what we shot. This was new to her. She thought hunters were kill for thrill maniacs.

“So, what does a grouse taste like?” she asked.

I told her in mouth-watering terms and mentioned that for health conscious people like themselves wild game was really the way to go because it was a lean source of protein without the drugs, steroids and GMO’s that can occur in the commercial meat supply.

“What are you gonna eat after you shoot all the animals?” demanded the anti.

Oh how sweetly he’d played into my hand. Slowly and gently I explained to them the great irony that the hunter is the animal’s best friend. The hunter’s license fee pays for the management of sustainable populations of game animals and hunters more than any other group defend and develop the habitat without which many species will not survive. Hunters reintroduce species. Hunters pay the most for conservation, not hikers, birdwatchers and photographers. I tactfully left out mountain bikers.

They had quite chunk of new knowledge to mull over and wanted to be on their way. The young lady asked if she could pet my dog and gave it a friendly ear rub. One fellow wished me better luck next time.

The anti-hunter said, “You know those big birds that fly up in your face and scare you to death? One of them nearly caused me to wipe out, I hate them. They’re too dangerous. Why don’t you blow them away?”

Heavy irony. I knew he was talking about the prized ruffed grouse, which I had just been hunting. “We can’t wipe out a species just because they scare us.” I said. “But I might take few for the table if that makes you feel safer on the trails.”

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