Letting some of it trickle out while trying to soak it all in

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hunting again

"And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine ... the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; and these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger." Doctrine and Covenants 89:13-15

Tomorrow I am going hunting again. Me, an otherwise vegetarian, driving up the Trans-Alaskan pipeline road with some skis and a rifle to break up some caribou's family. How did I get here?
A borrowed gun, gifted book, and knives from Steepandcheap
I'm opposed to turning vibrant living beings into meat on ethical, religious, ecological, and health grounds, but here it is 1:30 AM, and I'm looking down the scope of a 30-6 in my living room. What is it about this issue that has short circuited all the social and internal systems that are supposed to help me make ethical and good decisions?

My friend Robert invited me on this hunt a couple weeks ago. We would park somewhere around the Chandalar Shelf airstrip, ski out of the five-mile no-shooting pipeline corridor, and hunt to the south east. I have a hard time saying no to a game of chess, let alone a multiday, snow-cave building ski adventure.

To make things even morally muddier, yesterday, while trying to track the herd online, I found out that the tracking project name is the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network (CARMA). Perfect. It turns out that CARMA stopped posting the herd's location because of hunters just like me.

Several times I've come close to canceling the trip, but each time something stops me. "How many people actually have this opportunity," my inner Gargamel will whisper. "You're providing for your family after all."

"Sure but I can also provide for my family with the box of Kashi seven grain pilaf I picked up at Fred Meyers."

"It is a time of winter. The word of wisdom clearly makes this exception."

"Sure, but that's only because times of winter were times of famine in those days. I've got romaine lettuce and fresh bananas downstairs. Plus read verse 15, it says only in times of famine AND excess of hunger. Pretty clear right?"

The good news is, Robert gives us a 20% chance tops of actually seeing any caribou. But what does this say about me? I'm hoping that dumb luck will save me from committing a sin I'm not strong enough to resist. My moral compass is experiencing some serious declination at these latitudes.

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you're wonderfully conflicted. it's the human condition.

    so how did the hunt go?