My turn: Hunting more economically efficient than stores, fast-food

Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I had a hard time understanding just what point Alexander Simon was trying to make in his recent My Turn ("Recent trial highlights differences between American, European views on wolves" in the Nov. 10 Empire) on the illegal killing of the black wolf. He stated there is no "natural" way for humans to interact with wolves, and then went on to say how the wolf befriended dogs and watched skiers go by. Is that "natural"? Does a wolf have friends?

He also says hunting is an "economically inefficient" means of obtaining food. Really? The cheap beef or chicken available at your local store or fast-food restaurant is raised in a feed lot fed by pesticide-coated corn grown by diesel-consuming tractors and combines, then transported with diesel trucks to the silo. Later, it's transported by diesel trucks to the farmer and fed to the animals. The fat-laden animals, treated with hormones and antibiotics, are then loaded in a diesel truck, slaughtered, packaged, and refrigerated with natural gas- or coal-generated electricity, trucked to a distributor, then sent by truck, barge or plane to Juneau, where I sit down in my car, drive down to the store to get it on my way to see the doctor about my knee and diabetes issues, and hurry home so I don't miss Bristol on "Dancing with the Stars." Is that really "economically efficient"?

How about climbing my large self up the hill behind my house on North Douglas (or running my skiff to Admiralty Island), and hiking around all day to get some much-needed exercise and solitude away from the cell phone (and maybe one less chiropractor appointment from sitting at a computer all day). In the off chance I luck into a Tongass-fed deer, I get the satisfaction of dressing, dragging, butchering and wrapping my deer before storing it in my hydroelectrically fed freezer. Not to mention the satisfaction of sharing my harvest with my friends who don't or can't hunt.

It seems Simon is painting all hunters with the same brush as those that killed his wolf. He says hunters are attempting to "restore the supposedly threatened social order," the value we place on hunting is only the value of the meat we harvest and the hunter's consciousness was the cause of lynchings! If I'd have known I was doing all that, I'd spend so much time figuring out which one I was doing today that it would take all the fun out of hunting or I'd probably get lost out in the wilderness more than I do now (if that's possible). Really, I'm just out in the woods hoping to get some nutritious, delicious deer for the freezer - not change society.

Linking the culture and consciousness of local hunters to those few hunters who do not hunt ethically is like saying that most drivers on the road are driving drunk, and if only we could insert some more educated values in here, we'd ban alcohol sales, and drunk driving would correct itself because "the legal system will eventually catch up to society's collective consciousness" as he put it.

Simon said it takes more than a gun to kill a wolf. It also takes more than an Ivory Tower point of view to kill this Juneau hunter. Simon says hunters are "killers, torturers and punishment inflicters" and we are all somehow attempting "to restore the supposedly threatened social order." This urban concept is bred by those who are raised to think that food "comes from the store." I'm worried the students coming through our university system are getting indoctrinated with these urban values as they sip lattes and hit the gym every night to keep the pounds off from the cheap cheeseburgers they eat. Instead, they ought to get out into the woods, where the exercise is free, and the satisfaction from eating food taken from our local "store" called the Tongass is priceless.

• Stopha is a Juneau resident.

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