Was it worth it? This question ran through my mind many times after the shot that killed the kudu. It isn’t as frequent any more, but still it pops up now and then. I’ve now been back in Sweden for a couple of days and things have settled a bit. I’ve been able to take it all in and distance myself from the whole event.
Came to learn about hunting
The final two days I had on the farm didn’t include any more hunting. I didn’t want more of it. I felt that I’d had enough of it and instead spent the days visiting a local Himba village, exploring this intriguing culture and also doing walks in nature with the camera as my rifle. It wasn’t that I didn’t want more hunting due to disgust, it was due to me having had the experience and I felt that I’d gotten what I came for. I didn’t go there to collect a bunch of trophies. I came to learn about hunting.
We took an early morning drive back to Windhoek, where the African roads almost kept my body and soul 10 km north of Windhoek, as aquaplaning lead a petrol truck to lose traction and suddenly it came sliding towards us at a police checkpoint. That was one of the scariest moments of my life, as I saw this huge truck come closer and closer only to get control 10 meters away from us and steer the vehicle in another direction, only to crash through the checkpoint with people dodging the rampaging beast. It felt like a Hollywood moment…
Bond with Nature
Back to the hunting and my experience from the event. As mentioned earlier, I have no regrets to what I’ve done. I’ve learned much from this experience and it made me grow as an individual. I now see a bigger picture of hunting, and most of my notions proved me right.
One needs to understand that hunting can’t be perceived as one general thing. There’s a difference between types of hunting, between the methods, between the people running it and their ethos and regards to what you hunt. The people I’ve met, who work with the farm that I’ve visited, are probably some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, with a very strong bond to Nature and all her children. They live of what Nature has to offer, and as they say themselves, “We don’t want any high volume hunting tourism. We just want enough to be able to sustain ourselves and that would mean 10 – 15 hunters per year.”
They’re passionate about their land and want to keep it alive and healthy. That’s why they’ve transformed it back to what it once was – a wild place where Nature can roam free in harmony with mankind.
Emotions cloud judgement
Killing an animal is not an easy thing and it is a moving event, and I guess that’s what makes us human – our emotions. We’re more or less (depending on the individual) emotionally connected to all living things in Nature. This is also why I see and understand a lot of adversaries towards the concept of hunting. We mustn’t let our emotions cloud our judgment, which is a hard thing to accomplish. I know this, as I’ve done the transition myself. We must face facts – the facts of life and Nature.
My transition means that I still consider myself to have a sound approach to hunting, whereby I understand that not all hunting enterprises are run in the same way, where the bad ones give the whole industry a lousy reputation. I also understand that the reason to hunting also differs individually, where some do it to shoot exotic animals to collect their trophies, while others do it for food and survival. My understanding also tells me that we as human beings are more emotionally attached to certain animals, where the killing of some living creatures are more acceptable.
Hunting means killing
No matter what, all kinds of hunting comes down to one thing – the killing of a living thing and that’s what we must face, whether it is a moose, a leopard, an oryx, a trout, a guinea-fowl, a wolf, a manta-ray or a kudu bull.
As long as the methods and ethos of the hunt are correct and it is being controlled and sustained, the reason for killing is secondary, where some reasons, in my mind are more acceptable than others. Poaching is not one of them!
Listen to Nature
Individuals who engage in hunting and fishing are paramount to the health of the wilderness. Hunting generate funds for maintenance of the wild areas. Fishermen and hunters are often the first to alarm changes that indicate a tilted environmental balance that must be addressed. I know that my visit to the hunting farm means that the area can be maintained for some time. I also know that the beautiful kudu bull lived his life, roaming free in Nature and he gave his life, which provided the family and people of the local church with 208 kg of fresh organic wild game meat.
Blood on my hands
I’m not proud of having killed an animal, but I’m content with it. I don’t see why people congratulate me for it? In my mind they should thank Nature and the bull for what it has given. I guess that I’m still a fanatic bunny-hugger with a bleeding-heart, with the exception that I now have blood on my hands. I still prefer to see animals alive and my preference remains, to shoot animals with my camera, but this doesn’t mean that I’m against hunting tourism. As long as it is done in the way that I’ve experienced it, I give it my full support and I will promote this hunting product through the Green Guerrillas.
The true and genuine hunter help ensure that wildlife has places to live and breed. We mustn’t forget this, and nor must we forget our presence and responsibility in the food chain.
The holistic view
How can we as omnivores say that hunting is wrong while we sink our teeth into a juicy steak?
How can we as omnivores say that hunting is wrong while we dip our tuna-sashimi into the wasabi?
How can tourism enterprises say that hunting is wrong while they proudly present fly-fishing trips?
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