Have a Happy New Year!
I’m about to do something new.
It’ll probably upset some of you.
Some of you will see the logic and understand, and probably find yourself in a position much like the one I’m kind of in right now.
I eat meat and I wear leather. I eat eggs too. The fact is there are many things that I encounter either knowingly or unknowingly that require an animal to be killed, or kept constrained, to enable me and you to do and have certain things.
I love animals. I’ve always had pets. Fish, cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, a snake and even a rescue crow.
I couldn’t bring myself to shoot one though. Even taking the decision to have one put down at the vets is unbearably tough, but I put the animal first and do what is best for it. Having a severely ill pet that is being kept alive on medication isn’t the nicest thing for an animal; It’s no way to live.
I’ve seen people at the vets with one legged cats whose backsides are prolapsed, cataract in both eyes, dribbling blood, breathing painfully and drugged up to the hilt to stay alive because the owner ‘really loves them‘. Bullshit; if you love them, then you really need to know when to let them go.
I’ve paid to have terminally ill chickens put down before; I could’ve physically done it myself, but it was a pet and I couldn’t mentally bring myself to do it. Did we eat it afterwards? Hell no! She was a pet. Even our hens that died naturally were never eaten. They had names!
It was keeping the chickens that made me question what we as a species do to other animals that we harvest for their various meats, skins, eggs, milk, shitty coffee etc. They were all rescue hens; ex-factory farm egg layers, beyond their useful lives and heading to a shredder whilst alive. We rescued many over time, and the eggs they gave us in their retirement were the best ever! Better than any top quality, top price ‘free range’ store purchased eggs. The eggs were vibrant in colour and so full of flavour. If you’ve not raised chickens and had real free range eggs, then you wouldn’t appreciate what they are like. Our girls had full freedom in the garden. They had great food, shelter, water, healthcare and love.
Even shop brought free range eggs are a con. To be ‘free range‘ each hen must have a minimum amount of room to itself.
Factory hens are so cruelly and closely packed together that they are wedged together and upon release (to be shredded)after a ‘useful life’ of about 18 months, some can hardly walk. Some even break their legs trying because they were so tightly packed their legs never developed. Sickening.
But free range hens are okay, yeah? Well, a few are, but others egg producers bend the rules so that they can say that their hens are free range. They wedge most of their birds together in cages, but let a handful run around outside. Because a few run around outside, on average each bird at the factory farm has a lot more space – enough to legally say they are free range hens. Yeah, free range can be just as bad as non-free range, but at least you pay more and think you’re doing the right thing.
It’s the same with sheep, cows, pigs etc. There are some very good farms out there that really look after their livestock, and despatch them humanely, but a greater number of animal produce suppliers just do enough to be able to operate legally.
I’m against hunting for fun. Killing something just because it is rare, or its a challenge, or just because you can, is not something I appreciate in the slightest. I’ll eat, wear, use animal products, but I detest those that hunt for fun.
Some people go to far with animal rights though. Some people don’t fully appreciate animal husbandry and the good it does for the animal population.
Foxes. Yes, they can do all sorts of damage, and sometimes need humane culling. Ripping them apart with dogs after baiting and chasing them on horseback is not humane.
Badgers, rabbits, rats, pigeons, crows, deer etc. They can cause all sorts of problems to livestock and agriculture. By letting their numbers get out of hand you can end up with a lot of sick animals with insufficient food sources for them to live, and the larger numbers cause detriment to the environment and other animals. By careful land and animal management the balance can be kept. Only an idiot cannot see this.
In certain countries animals are hunted and the meat & byproducts are put to use. The animals hunted are generally carefully selected from older animals that are no longer breeding, and injured, weaker animals. The stronger, breeding animals keep a herd healthy, and good genetic material is passed on, and the herd can grow.
Additionally other animals benefit from mans help. For a simplistic example; If deer numbers build up, they’ll eat too much vegetation and will be left hungry. Other animals, such as rabbits that depend on the vegetation will also become hungry and Ill, and often leave an area in search of food, never to return. The deer and rabbits that don’t leave get weak, ill and die or spread illness. Weak deer and rabbits make easy prey for wolves. Easy prey means the wolf populations increase due to an abundance of food.
If too many wolves are allowed to build up, then they’ll eat all the remaining rabbits and deer. You’re left with starving, ill wolves and no deer or rabbits and a decimated environment.
By carefully controlling the number of deer, rabbits and wolves you can actually increase each population and keep it healthy. Yes, hunting can enlarge the population and have them stronger and healthier.
Google the Yellowstone Wolves and you’ll see what an impact animal management can have. A couple of wolves reintroduced new animals and vegetation to the park, and even changed the flow of a river. Whole new species of fish, birds and forest animals came back. Plants that had died out in the area cane back – even down to lichen, insects, bacteria… All from careful animal management.
To recap: I love animals, I hate people hunting them for no good reason, and do not see it as a sport. If a cull is needed, then do it efficiently and humanely, and above a lot of this, don’t be that arsehole who is against any type of hunting if you haven’t bothered to research and understand the good that animal management can do when done correctly.
Back to my something new.
I do like my meat, milk, leather shoes, eggs etc, but I’m not thrilled at how the animals are treated.
So I’m taking up hunting on controlled land.
Hear me out.
I’m a good shot. A very good shot. Over 12 years of top division competition target shooting. I know I can take an animal out cleanly. One minute it’ll be minding it’s happy own business in the huge open fields and woodland , and that’ll be the last thing it’ll ever know. HOW CRUEL!!!!
My shooting a rabbit does two main things though: It keeps the number of rabbits down and reduces the burrows in the farmer’s cow field, which in turn means less cows being shot due to serious injuries from getting caught out by deep holes. It also means food for me and my family, as the rabbit will not be wasted.
I’m sorry, but Mrs Feathers the factory chicken had 18 months of hell before being thrown in shredder just so you could have some poor quality egg in your shop brought salad. At least the bunny I shoot will have had a life of freedom, sunshine, good food and free of suffering. Who’s worse? The people buying factory meat from a store, or me?
When we move I plan to hunt larger game in an area that uses hunting to increase the entire animal population by proper husbandry. I plan to only shoot what is sustainable, better for the future population of that animal species and other affected species, and only what I need and can use. I wish to avoid buying factory farmed meat and produce where possible.
The difficulty for me is the killing. Yes, I know my shot will be true and clean, and I know it is better than buying from a store, but I’m face to face with my fluffy dinner; I’m not distanced from it like the anti-hunt people who buy their tortured slabs of meat in polystyrene trays, covered with clingfilm.
I’ll pull the trigger. I’ll take responsibility for that life. I’ll prepare and eat the meat and I’ll appreciate it all the more for knowing that I’ve not added to the supermarket demand for factory farmed animals.
So if you ask ‘how can you shoot a poor fluffy bunny?!?‘, I’ll ask ‘how can you buy inhumane factory farmed animal produce?‘
You buy from this, with unsold animals being thrown in to landfill – some still alive:
But disagree with this – Free roaming rabbit – only shooting what you need:
It is a catch 22 for me. I love animals and nature, and even though I’ve done my research & seen it for my own eyes, hunting for their greater good still doesn’t make it seem right; Even though it’s clearly working in certain countries, and is a damned lot better than force fed, cramped, mistreated factory animal produce.
At the time of writing this I’ve still to shoot my first rabbit, but rest assured! I have a well skilled country friend who is taking me through the humane hunting and despatch skills required to go with my already precise rifle work. I’m not half arsing this – I owe my doing it right to the rabbit.
Team shoot 50m/100m Marsden and King today. 2nd year running I’ve been awarded top shooter in the squad.
Joint 4th top shot out of the 52 competitors (including some internationals). Good fun shoot.
4×5 shots at 50yds and 2×10 shots at 100yds. I did reasonably (averaging 97/100). The team didn’t win this year, but it’s coming…
Flickr reorganised my photo’s & broke picture links….
So… let’s try again – and this time with an update & more pictures!
I was on the lookout for some captioned t-shirts recently and just couldn’t find what I wanted. In the end I found a place that allows you to design your own… and sell them if you want.
Well, I purchased the one I wanted (after designing it…) – and once it arrived I was impressed by the print quality and the actual quality of the t-shirt. I then went back to the store and looked into how to sell my designs, after all, why not?
Since then I have added several designs – including a mug and notebook case to go with all the shirts…
If you like any of them, go to http://sometimespace.spreadshirt.co.uk/ and have a shop around… if you can’t find what you want, I might be able to sort something out for you (if you don’t want to do it yourself!).
I started out with some shooting orientated ones and then added a few more various others…These are a few of the designs…
Click the shop link above to buy any of the items below! These designs are on shirts, bags, mugs, bumper stickers…. Go for it! Alex needs new shoes!
Back in January 2008, before my back injury, new job and a lot of other stuff (read the blog and catch up…) I was training and competing a great deal with my target rifle.
I will say that I am by no means up there with the people who devote their lives to the sport – I just can’t afford that… so if you read this and think that I’m any good, then take it from me, I am a long way off of those in the top competitions – I take my hat off to those people – I wish I could spare that time and money, but I can’t.
Health reasons stopped me for a while, and now I’m getting back to it… and to get some extra wind in my sails I am posting this report I wrote for www.snipercentral.com whilst I was a much, much more active member. Now I am getting back into it all, I will be active there again – Great bunch of people with some very fine skills. Top place for newbies and oldbies alike!
Anyway, this may read a bit odd as it is out of context and out of it’s original web space, but to fill in a bit before I carry on….
“Recoil” is a guy who shoots well… and at the time had told people that they needed to concentrate on getting to grips with their rifles without all the extra bits such as scopes and bipods to help the shot. He suggested using reduced range US Marine training targets. These are silhouettes that symbolise a target at, say 800yds, but are scaled so that you only place them 25 yds away…. so it saves space and is ideal for training. The idea is to shot with non telescopic sights and just use a sling. Most of the guys that carried out this task used AR15’s that are autoloaders… I used a .22 target rifle that needed to be reloaded after each shot… which isa handicap compared to their rifles… especially during a timed run!
I did my practice targets and had my fun, but didn’t want to post my results on their forum initially, as I was much more serious and focused than the most of type of people who were trying the exercise. I didn’t want to put people off, as I was coming at these targets from a totally different background and with a skill set better suited for the task.
I am always happy to help share what I know, and more than happy to pick up new lessons and skills myself, and after much poking and requests from other Sniper Central members I published a report.
Just looking over it again after almost 2 years (Jeeeez!) has made me want to get right back into serious competition again. I miss the focus – and my back is as good as it is going to get, so it’s time to get training!
When I last shot I had just qualified as a Mastershot with a score of 396/400 – which gave an average of 99/100. I hope to be back there within the year….
Here is the report and the comments that followed it….HERE, but for Sometimespace…..
…and to get me going, and to share a little about my activities in another web group…. here is that report…
Newbies stay away!!!!
A fair few of you have asked for a report from me…..I’ve not wanted to do one before because what I do is not like what you mostly do. It can’t be compared – even though it is still lead tossing, it is a different school of lead tossing.
Right, I need to make it clear that I am not bragging – I am not showing off, and I am not saying that I am better than anyone else.
I do this. It is my thing. I don’t have to be able to run with a bergen, I don’t need to kill to survive and/or protect.
I sling my rifle, look through a dioptre sight (just a 3.7mm hole in a glass ring) and just shoot at small black spots with a “tack driver” that will always be able to out perform me.
I practice. A lot.
I joined SC to help gain some skills to help me. Skills that the “usual” target shooter probably wouldn’t be able to give me.
I shoot at targets that are much smaller than the reduced range practice pictures that Recoil put up. My usual 25yd target card (I shoot up to 100yds with the .22) is made up of ten individual diagrams that mean I have to move around the card – 1 shot in each diagram. This means upsetting my position very slightly for each shot.
Those black dots I shoot at….I have to hit inside the very middle ring every time to win….without touching the line at all. That’s a lot of dry firing, relaxation techniques, focusing, listening to others….and practice. Currently I have a 98.2 average – by no means the best. That middle ring counts as 10 points – and a 10 spot card can give you 100 points. Simple stuff.
When I shot Recoils reduced range targets I was just out for fun. As I did not have to move around the paper I could just punch away. Because of the results I even got my Club President to sign as a witness.
Why did I say “Newbies stay away?” – A bit of a joke – but I always wanted to play guitar. After hearing Jimi Hendrix I realised I’d never be that good – so never started to learn. If you’re a newbie, then just practice…I’ve only had 3 years trigger time – but I’m in engineering and was taught my whole life to “LISTEN and DO AS I AM TAUGHT”.
I was also told that you never stop learning – so never stop listening.
I’m only as good as the people who help me – and that means each shot I fire has a little bit of all of you in it. For that I thank you.
RIGHT…..Those darn reduced range targets…..
20 shots from a single loader bolt gun. 2 minutes (well….just shy of 2 minutes). That included removing the jam caused by my fat fingers ramming a case (my very first jam!!!!)
Keeping on one target without moving made this an easy task for me. My eye stayed behind the sights and my ammo was exactly where it had to be to just reach, pick, load, pull…It has taken 3 years to get my position this far….and I’m still not happy with it…
Man….20 shots…. most of those just went through and hit the back wall….and my ammo isn’t cheap (for a .22!!!)
A bit more relaxing. Once the first shot goes in, the rest follow – once more thanks to me just having to hold one position (unlike the movement I am usually used to). These diagrams took 10 minutes total to shoot….and yes….that is 10 shots in each.
I put these in a range report because I didn’t want to post them in Recoils “reduced Range” thread. I’m a hard practising focused competition shooter – and I didn’t want these pictures to put anyone else off of having a go.
To be honest with you – I’m a bit embarrassed about even posting them here – It just feels like I’m bragging (Recoil will say grow a spine now!!!!)