Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mixed Feelings


I was a little hesitant about posting this picture, and I still feel ambivalent towards it. Also, I am feeling more than a little mortal these days.

This polar bear was shot yesterday out on a small island in Hudson's Strait. It is not a full grown bear by any means, but not a baby either. Rather, it is a bruin. Pictured are Adamie, who shot it, and his mother Uiviru.

Up here the first shooting of a species is an important event in a young person's life, a kind of rite of passage and entry into adulthood. Admittedly, more men are hunters but there are some women who like to hunt. The meat from this bear will be divided up and eaten, except, I am told, for the liver which has such high concentrations of Vitamin A as to make it toxic. I am also told the meat is not overly gamey, and quite edible.

The skin will be treated and sold, although this is a small animal and not overly marketable. The going price appears to be $100/foot measured tip of nose to tail. In the movies polar bear rugs have been glamorized as the epitome of romantic sensuality. I find this strange because the fur is rather coarse and would probably irritate the back of whomever was on the bottom. But we men have rarely let our lower partner's discomfort get in the way of a good time.

Much has been written lately about the fate of the polar bear in light of global warming. These animals eat seal almost exclusively, and to sneak up on a basking seal they need ice. My current belief and fervent hope is that this species will adapt to changing climatic conditions and survive. After all, temperatures rose high enough a thousand years ago so as to allow a haying season in Greenland, which is impossible right now. Polar bears as a species apparently broke away from grizzly bears about 225,000 years ago - and the emergence of a hybrid species (dubbed a polargriz) is evidence of just how closely the two species are related.

I have basically given up on hunting and fishing, though I still eat meat. I get absolutely no pleasure in killing another animal, but in the end all that is alive is consumed in some way or another and if I were to ever experience true hunger I would have no such compunction about killing. But now I have the luxury of someone else do the slaughtering for me, and I hope to keep it that way.

My wish is that we call all pass on the next level of existence with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity.

13 Comments:

Blogger Fuff said...

Interesting stuff Nanuk.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Eternally Curious said...

Perhaps it is the Native American heritage I'm told I have in my veins - but I've never really had a problem with hunting. The right sort of hunting, that is...legal, in season, and where the hunter cleans and uses the entire animal (or as much of it as possible). There have been many hunters and/or marksmen/markswomen in my family. I am one of them.

However ... I could quite literally go insanely apeshit on poachers! I have NO use whatsoever for those worthless pieces of @%$#!!

Do these views of mine (either of them) make me a monster? Hmmmm...

7:52 PM  
Blogger marty said...

My boss's wife looks a little bit like a polar bear. I'll tell her to be careful if she's ever up north.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Annie Drogynous said...

I dislike hunting, period. Hence, I was a bit saddened to see that picture. But, everyone has their own cultures. Are there any animals there that people aren't allowed to hunt? Endangered species and such?

9:21 AM  
Anonymous TC said...

I also dislike hunting for its own sake, but when done to eat and survive, then I suppose it's all part of the food chain.

10:14 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff - thanks. But isn't it some sort of Chinese curse to say "May you live in interesting times"?

Eternally Curious - I'd add trophy hunters to your hit list. Won't eat what they kill.

Marty - you must send pic!

Blair Bitch - Inuit can hunt legally what they have always been able to hunt for milennia, with the exception of falcons. What concerns me is there is a human population explosion up here, but the animal resources cannot sustain this for ever. Some tough choices will have to be made.

TC - You're right. Even our carcasses will be consumed by something in the end.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Fancy Laces said...

how sinful...

1:56 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Good thing bears don't have to kill humans as a right of passage. I used to hunt but the animals were all safe.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

LOL, not on my behalf.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Eternally Curious said...

Absolutely right Nanuk! Worthless pieces of work those, though they do make good target practice! Oddly enough, despite my views on hunting, I am truly an animal lover. I say odd - because I've never felt the least bit conflicted over these opposite beliefs.

8:05 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

The way things are going, the boys better find a new hobby...

10:29 PM  
Blogger Scarlett said...

I don't understand hunting but its not my place to judge others - my thought is do they NEED that meat? Or do they just want to justify killing a gorgeous animal?

3:42 PM  
Blogger L said...

I was reading that in some areas the polar bear species is under such stress from warming that in some cases they are drowning or cannibalizing each other (mainly mother bears in dens).... not sure if that's true or not though...

5:47 PM  

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