The Homesteading Huntress Talks BC Hunting and Food Ethics
Arielle Quan is a female hunter, urban homesteading enthusiast, and wild food hobbyist who founded The Homesteading Huntress website.
She shares her Asian-inspired wild food recipes and practical advice, tips, and tricks about hunting, foraging, fermenting, and preserving to help other people participate in the wild food community. Arielle is located in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada.
Meeting Arielle gave me hope as a city-living, rookie hunter. It was shocking how similar our stories were. I hope sharing her message encourages those that are hunting curious to stop thinking about it and to get out into the wilderness and start exploring more! It doesn't matter if you don't have any hunter friends, own a car (I still don't), or in Arielle's case wasn't exposed to the great outdoors growing up.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me for more information on how to start and for local groups you can join for mentorship. You can email me here.
City-Living Women Hunting
My partner, Will, introduced the idea of hunting on our first date in April 2014. I took my CORE class with EatWild in September and was hunting by October in the same year. I’ve been hunting (and freediving, foraging, preserving, canning, and cooking Asian food) since.
When Will and I were getting to know each other, I told him that I was thinking about returning to a vegan diet, despite finding it difficult to maintain for personal reasons. Food production is obviously important (everyone needs to eat), but large-scale animal and agricultural production can be unnecessarily harmful.
I think the predominant forms of animal processing and agricultural production (at least in North America) help create a disconnect between people and the food that they eat, as well as widening the disconnect between people and the industries that are implicitly supported by our purchasing choices.
Will suggested that I look into harvesting animals by learning to hunt instead. He’s a very charming man, and he presented a solid argument for local and ethical meat harvesting practices. As someone who is generally open to trying new things, I was quickly convinced. Hunting seemed like the ideal solution for me.
Of course, my perspective on hunting has changed after practicing it for a few years. Hunting isn’t just a way for me to alleviate my own negative feelings about eating meat anymore.
Learning the skills necessary to hunt has been an incredibly empowering and enriching experience. Hunting has impacted so many aspects of my life, from my perspective on the world around me to my hobbies and interests. It has been such a surprising learning process -- and I’m excited to still be in the beginning stages of it all.
Before I started hunting, I was terrified of the outdoors. I really was. There was a lot of shrieking, falling, and getting lost in the first few years. Honestly, I haven’t even stopped yelping and hurting myself and getting lost. I’m just not as scared of those things happening to me now.
My Chinese Canadian family is not outdoorsy. Growing up, I didn’t camp and I didn't hike. I spent most of my childhood reading. Actually, I was almost always indoors, up to my mid-20’s. I’m really clumsy, too. I walk into doors a lot and I get called “Butterfingers” pretty frequently. I’m not naturally athletic, and I never have been.
Spending hours by myself in the woods searching for wild game all hunting season definitely doesn’t come easily to me. Forcing myself to be more comfortable in nature was definitely a challenging learning experience. Transitioning from “scared of outside” to “relatively passable in some level of wilderness” was hard, but it really is doable.
Having a supportive community of hunters, access to online resources, real-life practice, and a complete willingness to fail is key to confidence in the outdoors -- and with any luck, a successful hunt.
More practically speaking, British Columbia has such a wealth of natural resources that it just seems silly to not take advantage of it.
Hunting can be very expensive, but it’s like any hobby or passion. There’s such a wide breadth of gear available to us with outdoor brands, hunting influencers, and survival tools. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of gearing up -- and yeah, it’s fun, too.
I think I’ve probably spent between $1,000 to $1,500 in hunting gear over the last four years, not including travel costs. Most of that money was spent on good binoculars, a basic deer rifle, and a reliable rifle scope.
You don’t really need the latest and most expensive tactical gear to harvest an animal. I took my first deer wearing a blue fleece jacket and $5 leggings. Wild animals really don’t care if you’re using fancy gear or not.
On the other hand, if you want to go hunting, you do need to have the practical skills, knowledge, and fundamental tools that will allow you to go out (and stay out) in the wilderness safely. You don’t need to look good to hunt well, but you do need to be informed and prepared.
The first time I harvested my own meat, it was a very strange experience. I can’t really describe it. I will say that I don’t think hunting is for everyone -- and that’s totally okay.
However, I think it’s important for people to make conscious choices about the food they buy at the store or market or wherever. People should take time to think about what they’re eating and why they’re eating it.
I hope that one day, people will be able to have a transparent relationship with their food and the people or businesses that produce that food -- because buying, cooking, and eating are all choices that we make every day that impact our future.