“I think we should get a gun.”
“I dunno. We live remote. We have a truck. Seems like a gun is a natural accessory.”
“That’s silly. We don’t hunt. There are no dangerous animals where we are. We don’t need a gun.”
“What about the zombies?”
“When the zombie apocalypse erupts, we need to shoot ‘em in the head. It’s the only way to kill a zombie, they say.”
“The company that sells ammo for killing zombies. They call ‘em zombie-stoppers.”
“There’s no such thing!” (for the record: there are several brands of zombie-stoppers sold on the market)
And so the discussion went regarding having a gun in the house. Neither Sally nor I are natural born killers but we know we have to defend ourselves as is necessary. If it is ever necessary. No one can come to our aid in time if there is ever a dangerous threat to our well-being so we have to do it ourselves. Being prepared means being prepared to do what needs to be done and, in some weird, Mad Max kinda way, that might mean using a firearm.
Yes, I agree. That may mean some day needing one in the city more than in the country but so far, not yet. Close, maybe. But not yet. Well, not yet in Canada, anyway.
There is also the question of hunting. Truly independent people are self-sustaining and, for many, that means an omnivorous diet. Omnivorous includes meat. We already hunt/gather fish and shellfish. Isn’t harvesting wild game the same thing?
And what about raising domestic animals for meat?
We are not likely to ever be truly self sustaining because food production is incredibly time consuming and, to a modern palate, too limited and seasonal. Our goal is to achieve some semblance of independence and sustainability but we know that harvesting even 50% of what we consume is an impossible goal. We could do that for a year, perhaps, but chocolate, coffee, dairy-without-a-cow and so many staples like flour, toothpaste, sugar, and well, the list is endless, make it unsustainable over longer periods of time without hardship and deprivation.
We don’t mind simple, limited and plain but we draw the line at deprivation. We are not trying to make this lifestyle an Olympic event nor are we trying to prove anything to Les Stroud. We are just trying to, basically, live within our somewhat limited means but to do so with healthy, tasty and varied foods.
And, of course, wine.
Raising animals for meat is even more time consuming than gardening. We are not inclined to keep domestic animals because, to be frank, to do that job right, they turn out to keep you. You have to always attend to farm animals or they will suffer and, perhaps, die. Even our distant neighbours who keep chickens are severely limited in their movements by the need to care for them. Other distant neighbours we know with goats are even more restricted. No one we know on the remote islands keeps cows.
It is not that I am advising against raising domestic animals. I think, for many, chickens, at the very least, are a huge asset to a homestead and so are sheep and goats and ducks. So, go for it if you are so inclined. Just know that they are a lot of work. And there is no legal market for them so they are not a cash generator. People do trade and barter with home-grown but, on any scale, the authorities put a stop to it. They have their rules and, for the most part, their rules eliminate small-time producers.
It’s for your own good. Bless their protective bureaucratic hearts, eh?
But all that is academic. It is simply not a pursuit of interest for us. If I want some meat, I would prefer to buy it from the somewhat distant abattoir that handles only free-range animals. Or, I’ll fish. Or gather oysters.
But the question of hunting deer seems to loom every fall when it’s hunting season. It seems a healthy, good sized deer will yield somewhere around 60-70 pounds of good meat. That is more than enough to satisfy all our needs with some left over for special dinners and guests for an entire year. It’s almost free, it’s healthy and it is good. So, why not?
Well, one reason is that it is killing and I would prefer not to. I will if I have to. But I don’t have to. It is also hard work and I would prefer NOT to do that, either. We clearly do not need to hunt at this stage in our lives. And, if society keeps plugging along, we may never have to. We may be able to rely on the region’s specialists and buy from a butcher or farmer who raises extra for selling.
Key question: Will society keep plugging along?
On the other hand, no one sells deer meat. It is illegal. It is also relatively plentiful and, when we have been served some, it was pleasant and tasty. And, like everyone, I cannot help but think wild venison is a healthier, more natural form of meat than is feed-lot beef or warehoused chickens.
So? To kill or not to kill, that is the question.
But before you ask yourself that question, you have to ask yourself, ‘by what means would I kill?’ And that question raises the gun issue. Do I hunt and, if I do, do I do so with a gun, a bow, a spear or a trap line?
And, if you decide to hunt with a gun, then it gets really complicated. Different guns and different calibers of ammunition for different game. Licensing. Permits. Learning and practicing. Hunting equipment. Butchering. The list seems to go on and on.
I can’t imagine the complexities involved in hunting with a bow. Or a spear. It seems the more primitive the means, the more complex the skill set. A guy with a spear is likely a helluva better hunter in the practice of such activity than is a guy with a high-powered, long rifle with a scope hiding in camouflage and using special binoculars. His ATV parked nearby. Accountants and used car salesmen can do that.
But I don’t think I can. I do not know anything about hunting and that should be apparent from reading this section. I include it only because the question of self protection will come up and the corollary question of hunting will follow it. Having a gun is an issue to consider.
I posed for a picture with my wife’s shotgun but she won’t let me have one for myself. Not yet. Too prone to hurting myself, it seems. But I am still considering it. At my age, I am unlikely to develop into a hunting enthusiast so self protection is probably the only logical reason for me. But, even then, I still have to get past Sal for that. And she’s armed. I am not.
Maybe I’ll wait until I see my first zombie?