Small, slow steps.

Various life events (life, don’t talk to me about life…) have caused some delays to our move, but what things can be progressed, are being progressed.

One thing that will need sorting out is my firearms licence. I’m a competitive target shooter in the UK, and it’s one of the few things I’ll actually admit to being good at. I want to take my rifles with me so I’ll need a Swedish licence, which is apparently only available by taking a test, in Swedish. As someone who has a hard time picking languages up this could take a while. Luckily I can obtain an international licence in the UK to cover me for a while.

Meanwhile, as we want to try and live off of the land as much as possible, I have opted to take my precision target shooting skills and use them to hunt for food. To gain some experience in field craft and animal preparation before we leave, I have gained legal permission to hunt rabbits and other small game on local farm land. Additionally a good friend who is well skilled in field craft is guiding me. Shooting prey cleanly is the easy bit for me, and I am confident that my quarry will feel no pain with my cleanly placed shot. What I lack are the stalking and animal preparation skills – heck, I don’t know how to peel a rabbit!

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I have mixed feelings about this as I am an animal lover. I will state now that I am against hunting purely for pleasure; if you hunt, then there must be a valid reason, such as animal husbandry, land management or for food.

I wrote this about my hunting recently: http://wp.me/p4XDrt-2S

I do not like the torturous way that the larger quantity of shop meat (also eggs, animal skin clothes, leatherwork etc) is produced via inhumane factory farms, and I’d much rather take a rabbit cleanly from the wild than support factory farming by buying slabs of plastic wrapped trays of meat from the supermarket.

11707491_10155939758975374_2851380782705091646_nAs type this in the field on my second solo outing though, I can report that I have taken my first rabbit down cleanly at 40 metres.

It was a shot of ambivalence.

I enjoyed the stalk and the hunt, right up until the bullet hit the rabbit at which point I did feel some remorse, though not regret – yet glad to have made it a clean shot and bagged myself a meal that didn’t rely on a cruel factory farm.

The rabbit had a lovely free range life in the woods and fields, and that’s all it ever knew.

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The stalk through the fields was calming. There were many deer to observe through my scope (I wasn’t after deer, so they were safe), several birds of prey, various other birds, rabbits (of course) and even an adder… right at my feet!

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Even as I type this I have two deer a hundred metres away, grazing.

Buying supermarket meats and animal products takes people’s responsibilities away from them. It detaches them from the countless deaths each meal or item of clothing has behind it.

By hunting to get my own food I take the burden on of the kill. I appreciate life more for doing so – but I’m not about to go and hunt lions etc for the pure fun of it – that’s only something an immoral bastard would do.

If I take a life it must have a cause, a worth and a reason. Even if it’s just one rabbit.