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G - About animal lovers
Posted On 01/13/2011 08:17:47 by OLDBRUCE

About animal lovers

You know, it's a funny thing about some animal lovers. Some of them have a very narrow view or maybe it's a short attention span, I'm not sure which.

I was talking to a lady yesterday who has a little ankle biter that she cares about very much. Somehow, during the conversation, the subject of squirrel chili came up. I was the fool who mentioned it. She immediately went on offense, saying that she could not understand how anyone could shoot a cute, adorable, defenseless squirrel. She also ventured the opinion that all hunters are cruel heartless people who should probably be shot themselves. She really is an animal lover, no question about it, but she just doesn't
understand how a hunter could possibly like animals too.

Now the part that makes me laugh is that I have seen her, with my own two eyes, wolf down a porterhouse steak that I had cooked on my charcoal grill, and I'm pretty sure that when I wasn't looking, she licked the plate. Now I don't have a problem with that, I was really pleased that she enjoyed the steak. I know better than to admit this, but when I knew no one was looking, I have done the same thing.

I guess what I don't understand is why she can't see any connection. She firmly and honestly believes that anyone who is a hunter or ever has been can't possibly be an animal lover. But make sure you don't get any body parts between her and the porterhouse steak.

I am confident that you can talk to any farm kid who has had a pet calf, and they will tell you that they really hated it when 2 or 3 years later, that calf showed up on their dinner plate. They can make the connection, although she can't.

Once upon a time, in what almost seems like another life, I worked on a cattle farm for a few years. While it was hard work, I really loved it. Bailing and stacking hay on a miserably hot July or August day will make you as hot and sweaty and tired as you will ever get. Getting up early on a bitter cold winter morning and breaking ice out of the frozen over creek so the cows can drink isn't much fun either. It was truly a sun-up to sundown job, but I have never had a better time.

We usually had around 200 head on the farm. I remember a day when we got 80 new calves, all about 6 months old. They were frisky and fun filled and you find out immediately that they each have their own personality. Some are timid and scared, some are kinda mean, but most are friendly and curious. You find out what the 'bums rush' is really like if you walk into a pen with a 5 gallon bucket of grain in each hand.

They know that you're there to feed them, and they know the're going to like it, and they know that grain will 'get gone' real quick. Those calves will weigh 350 to 500 pounds each, and they'll knock ya down in a heartbeat trying to get their share. After the grain was gone was when you really had a chance to see the different personalities. The friendly ones liked to 'hang out' with me and would follow along like mischivous dogs, rubbing up against me, licking my arms and hands, and sniffing in my pockets. While some of them would pretty well ignore you, others were always wanting to play. After a while, you got to know them all.

We also had around 50 head of breeding cows. About half were Black Angus, and most of them were big and hard to handle. We got 30 White Faced Herefords which are short and stocky by comparison, but are relaxed and easy going, with much better personalities - much easier to handle. One of those white faced cows quickly became a pet of mine. She always seemed to be watching for my truck. Whenever I would pull in to the driveway at the corner of the pasture, she would trot to the gate to meet me. To be sure, the other cows were watching too, and would mosey to the feed troughs, knowing that feeding time was here, but they went to the trough, while she met me at the gate. Then she would walk, right next to me, over to the feeder. If any of the other cows tried to approach me and the grain buckets I was carrying, she would butt them and insert herself between me and the other cows, escorting me to the troughs. It was amazing to me - you couldn't help but notice it. And she would never try to help herself to the grain first, like the calves always did.

The other thing that amazed all of us, was that she would only do that for me - if someone else fed the grain, which happened frequently, she would just take her place at the trough and wait. No escort. It's one of those things I'll never understand, but I will certainly never forget it either. I had occasion to talk to the man who sold us those cows several months later, and I asked him if any of them had been pets. I told him about that cow and what she did and he was amazed too - he said he had no explanation for that

Well, I have kind of gotten off track here talking about the cows. The main point I wanted to make here was that it's perfectly possible to eat steak or chicken or squirrel chili and still be an animal lover. Back when I was a hunter I spent many hours in the woods watching squirrels and deer and lots of other critters with a camera in my hand rather than a gun. I enjoyed that very much too. Many farmers and hunters spend lots of time and money providing and preserving habitat for animals. I disapprove of trophy hunting, and like most hunters I believe if you're not going to make use of the animals you kill you should leave them alone.

Although many people don't realize it, thousands of hunting clubs and the National Rifle Association and outfits like Ducks Unlimited have helped animals tremendously for many years. The squirrels that I used to make chili out of surely had a much better life than the chickens that you buy at Kentucky Fried Chicken or
Chick-fil-A, or all the anamals that have spent their lives penned up in a zoo.

Please don't condemn someone just because they participate in that sport. Most are genuine friends to all wildlife, just like my friend who loves her little dog.

Old Bruce

Tags: Animals Wildlife Hunters


Viewing 1 - 7 out of 7 Comments

01/06/2013 08:47:30

From a fellow former farmer and hunter, Well Said, Friend!


01/17/2011 10:33:32

To Love2bark:

I agree completely with you - those fenced in hunt clubs are not 'sporting' at all, and that brings to mind another practice that I hate to hear about, hunting over bait, which is legal in some states. They will put up a tree stand, then spread a bushel of apples or carrots below, to attract deer. That's not sportsmanlike in my book, and I don't think that should be allowed anywhere.

I will say that those fenced in clubs do usually make sure the meat isn't wasted. If the "hunter" doesn't want the meat, it is processed and donated to food banks or homeless shelters in most cases.

And several of you mentioned "the thrill of the kill". I really believe that with most hunters, it would be more accurate to say "thrill of the win" or "thrill of the contest". Not much different than winning a race or a hard-fought football game. With hunting, even if you don't win (no kill) you have an exhilarating day in the woods, with lots of fresh air and good exercise, with your senses turned up to the max.

Old Bruce

01/15/2011 08:47:37

Hi Diana,

Well, that depends - if ya come across a Giant White like this one, it only takes one for a good pot of chili....

Well, there I go... stretching the truth a little..... I was just kidding. Actually, around here where I live we have a lot of fox squirrels that are pretty good sized - I took the pic below last winter, and that fat devil would probably weigh in close to 2 pounds on the hoof, and about half that "in the pot".

When I made a big pot of chili I usually had 4 to 6 of them in there, and with my 2 teenaged boys at home, the whole pot would usually be gone by sundown :) 

My wife might have one small bowl, and the boys and I would take care of the rest of it. You have to simmer the meat quite a while, till it just falls off the bones. Otherwise it will be kinda tough - they're muscular little critters and pretty tough if you fix them any other way.

The kids contributed too - below is a pic of my youngest son, in our back yard, when he was about 15 I think. He is showin' off a fox and one grey squirrel. We used 22 cal rifles - never a shotgun. I don't think a shotgun is fair, and you're likely to ruin a lof of the meat too.

Old Bruce

01/14/2011 19:36:19

I am sorry but this just begs the question.  How big are these squirrels that you can make a chili.


Signed "Canadian Carnivore in Excellent Standing"

01/13/2011 18:57:37

I live in NH & we went to the Budweiser plant in Merrimack & got the yeasty sludge remnant after the beer was siphoned off. Fed that to the steers (Angus) for 3 weeks. They were slaughtered right there on the property, drunk as a skunk... The steer were in la la land, there was no Adrenalin in the muscles. The meat was naturally tenderized... we never brought a knife to the table, you could cut that sliced meat with a fork. So tender & delicious.

01/13/2011 08:55:34

You know what totally turns my stomach?  The phrase, "the thrill of the kill"  I guess you see which side I am on.  (I know this wasn't YOUR phrase, but I hear it all the time).

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