Saturday 31 March 2018

Vegans Protest "Antler" Restaurant

Click here for the full story!

A couple years ago the fad was to put bacon on everything, now people are protesting meat. *facepalm*. I support the vegan right not to eat animal products as long as they support my right to hunt, fish, and eat meat. We have freedoms in Canada, including free speech and the right to protest, so I think this is fantastic that both sides are having their voice heard. I enjoy the debate, if you can convince me through logical debate to change, that's great! However, this is a campaign of sustained harassment to destroy a business because it doesn't share the values of these protesters. What if meat eaters went a protested vegan restaurants for their negative impact on impoverished areas of South America because of the worldwide boom in Quinoa consumption or because mushrooms are technically animals? If I held a sign saying "Don't eat here! It hurts the world" and made a fuss outside a vegan restaurant I am sure it would hurt their business. How is that okay? Is it okay to do this harm just because I disagree with the values of the business? Craziness!

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Learning to Shoot and getting a PAL

First time shooting a .22LR.

In 1996 we camped our way to Saskatchewan and back as a family with grandparents on my father's side. At some point on that trip my Grandpa took me out into the woods with a little break action air rifle. After he passed away in 1999, no one knew what happened to that air rifle, but needless to say I wanted it. It has still never turned up, but anyways, that was a very special time with my Grandpa. I felt like I was doing something my parents didn't really approve of, and it was just me and Grandpa, out in the woods, shooting at a pop can and a paper plate. I love it.

Fast forward to 2012 and when camping with friends, we went to some crown land with a friend who had recently got his PAL. He gave us the whole ACTS and PROVE lesson and we each took turns with his .22LR and his .22 WMR. It was a pile of fun. I asked him all kinds of questions about getting licensed and he gave me the whole rundown.

By the summer of 2013 I had never fired anything but pellet guns and rimfires. I decided randomly in the summer to go by myself after work to DVC ventures, the indoor range, which was conveniently on my way home. I had no idea what I was doing with handguns, and I told them so. They patiently and without being condescending gave me a safety lesson and also had a good process of working up to firing multiple shots. They started me off with an empty firearm and let me shown them that I could pick it up, dry fire it, and then put it down safely. Afterwards, they put one round into the magazine and let me pick up the firearm, load it, fire the round, and then put it down. Finally they loaded full magazines let me at it. I blew through a few boxes of 9mm and .45 ACP and really fell in love with the 1911. Lastly we tried the shotgun with 1oz slugs. After checking my stance and how I was shouldering the firearm I squeezed off a round. Holy shit! That was a kick. That was my first real experience with recoil and it was awe inspiring. At that point I was certain that I would get my PAL (Possession and Acquisition License).

I got my PAL that fall of 2013. I decided since it was only a slight nominal amount more month and time that I would also get my restricted license as well (sometimes called RPAL). At the time I thought that was just for handguns, but really it was for a wide variety of other firearms as well. The course was very good and over a couple days we learned all about safe handling and basic techniques and history. At that point you send in your application along with your test results. Then the waiting starts.

First there is a 45 day minimum waiting period before they process your application. Then, because I applied for the restricted license as well, they contacted my references who had to be non-family friends who had known me for a specific period of time or greater. After that, there was the background checks and then finally my license was mailed.

After a ton of research and handling rifles at various stores around the lower mainland bought my first rifle, a Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker with a Fluted Barrel in .30-06 with a Zeiss Terra 3-9x 42mm scope. However, that wasn’t my most valuable purchase. I am so glad I bought a membership at the Port Coquitlam & District Hunting & Fishing Club. I went to the range 1-2 times a month and spent the entire day there, emptying box after box of federal blue box 180 gr into targets out to 200m until I was confident I could reliably get at or under 1 MOA off a bipod with ideal shooting conditions. I only shot using the bipod since that is what I would have in the field if I ever got into hunting. I tried standing, kneeling, and sitting, but wasn’t very happy with the results unless I was shooting off the bipod. I kept my all of my brass and, now that I reload, I am so happy I did.

This is where I found my first major old-wives’ tale. I hope I don’t get flamed about this, but I believe breaking in a bolt action rifle is a myth. I read a ton on the internet and talked to everyone from my PAL instructor to colleagues of mine who are avid shooters. It seems split 50/50, however, the 50% of people who believe in breaking in a bolt action rifle with the clean, fire a shot, clean, repeat etc. break-in procedure are older and typically just shoot when they are hunting while the avid target shooters and bench rest people who shoot far more often seemed to mostly say it is a myth. So I went with that. My rifle shoots just as well as the day I bought it and my round count is in the thousands. The best argument I heard for why the breaking in a bolt action rifle is a myth is because if it was required then it would be in the owner's manual like you find for semi-auto rifles which have cycling break-in procedures.

Two other important things I learnt was how to clean the gun properly as well as the fact that it is absolutely random what ammo your gun likes and that every type of ammo shoots completely differently out of every gun. I bought one of every box of .30-06 I could get my hand on to compare them with 4 shot groups. I did my ammo tests over 4 different trips to the range and randomized the order of the groups to control for fatigue. I made sure my gun cooled down between groups as well. I found Federal Blue box in 180gr and Barnes Vor-TX in 168gr, and 180gr gave me 1 to sub MOA groups reliably. My gun hates every kind of Hornady factory round at 2-3 MOA, but most of all hates the very expensive Winchester XP3s with 3-4 MOA. Core-lokt and Fusion were reasonable at around 1-1.5 MOA. I can’t explain why. This is just the way it is for my rifle.

It took several months to learn the basics of shooting. I am no expert at all, so I won't pretend that I am. All I will say is that I learned everything I know about shooting from the internet. Have a stable natural platform, control your breathing, at the bottom of a breath increase pressure on the trigger until the break surprises you, follow through and repeat. Consistency is key for me. I feel like a lot of people blame the equipment. For me it has always been the user. I am the cause of my fliers and shitty groups, that is until I came upon an incorrectly bedded barrel and excessive copper fouling. Those two things do really affect accuracy. But more on those later.

Monday 26 March 2018

Coalition urges government action regarding wildlife


Coalition urges government action regarding wildlife

A group of conservation organizations has come together to increase awareness over the state of wildlife in the Kootenays.
The Kootenay Wildlife Coalition (KWC) is not a new wildlife organization. The KWC is a ‘coalition’ of groups, speaking together on the current state of wildlife. The KWC’s intention is to provide support to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development."

read more below

Sunday 25 March 2018


In a very similar way to with my passion for animals, I grew up camping with my family and both sides of grand parents, but largely lost touch with camping through university and early adulthood in favour of international travel.  As a kid, we used to camp at least once a year, usually several times, and every other year we would spend around a month camping our way from Vancouver to a destination and back.

As a family we camped our way to Alaska, the Yukon, Montreal, Yellowstone, Alberta and Saskatchewan and back, not to mention all over BC and Washington state.  Some of my fondest memories growing up were the weekend trips camping to Rolley Lake or Cultus Lake with my grand parents.  I used to love going fishing with my Grandpa, if I was unsuccessful we would stop off at a trout farm on the way home so I could catch a fish. Some of my best childhood memories are being given a pocket knife and told to go have fun in the bush behind the campsite.  

Our last family camping trip was to the Yukon and Alaska and back during the summer between grade 10 and 11.  We saw so many black bears on that trip.  On the way back we stopped off at Stewart BC and went over the Hyder Alaska.  There we visited fish creek and the Grizzly viewing platform to watch the bears catch salmon right out of the river.  It was something right out of national geographic.  

After that trip, I largely didn't camp anymore.  It wasn't cool.  None of my friends were into it and with school and a new job it wasn't a priority.  I used to love camping, but like my love of animals, it felt like a historic artifact of my childhood which was no longer important.  Honestly, I felt like BC was too boring and that I would rather see the world.  What a typical young adult thought.  I have learned since then how special BC and Canada really is.  I was so wrong in thinking BC was boring.

Fascination with animals

A cheetah on the S-28 at Lower Sabie, Kruger National Park (South Africa): Credit: Mukul2u
I have always had a fascination with animals.  As a small kid everyone thought I would do something with animals when I grew up.  I read as much as I could.  I had subscriptions to Zoo Books and other publications in order to learn all that I could about animals.  As you may be able to tell from the image for this post, my favourite animal was the Cheetah.   It is still a dream of mine to see one in the wild.

Contrary to what everyone was expecting of me, I didn't go into biology or end up doing anything with animals.  Cellular biology killed that for me so I went to what I was more talented in and became an engineer. Growing up, my second major passion was lego, so it was an obvious choice given that I did well in math and physics.  

As I grew into teenage-hood and then adulthood, university and my career really took the forefront of my focus, and I largely forgot my passion about animals.  It was like that friend you had growing up that you were inseparable from, but suddenly circumstances made you lose touch.  I always remembered my passion for animals, but largely didn't see it as an adult pursuit.  It was more of an artifact of my childhood to reminisce about. 

Falling in Love with Food

Dutch Meatballs

The first food that I fell in love with was dutch meat balls.  They were a staple in my house growing up.  I now make them out of game meat, but when was a kid my parents and Oma (grandmother) used beef.  It was the meal I would request on my birthday and I just adored it.

Generally, we had straight forward meals growing up.  Both my parents worked hard and we always had good food to eat.  

As I grew up, I found myself always looking for new and interesting food experiences.  I remember the first time I really enjoyed sushi and the all you can eat Chinese buffets that have pretty much all since disappeared.  I learned quickly that food is one of the great passions in my life and that I will forever be looking to the food as the gateway to experiencing new cultures and places.  

I travel on my stomach and I judge a place by its food.  I will never turn down something new to eat as long as I don't seriously fear for my safety.  As an adult the drive to try new food has brought me to amazing food experiences.  Highlights have been yogurt in Greece, boeuf bourguignon in France, Kobe beef in Japan, dim sum in Hong Kong, poffertjes kroketten and in Holland, this one perfect steak in San Francisco, and the list goes on.  

Asia has been responsible for some of the best meals I have ever had and some of the strangest.  In China I had amazing mutton and mantis shrimp.  If you ever get the chance to try mantis shrimp, holy shit, try it.  I also tried dog... yeah it was tough and nothing to write home about.  I also had whale in Japan.  When I had the whale though, they didn't tell me what I was having.  This plate of what looked like deep fried chicken tenders arrived and we all dove in for a piece.  Our host asked us what we thought it was.  None of us had any idea, until one person said it tasted like fishy beef.  The response was "Yes! Its whale,".  I'll be honest, it was really good.  Ethically dubious, but good.  On another trip to Japan I had chicken sashimi and I am not dead, so this whole salmonella thing is a bit overblown.  Also had raw horse that same day I had the chicken sashimi.  I'll eat anything, but neither blew me away.  

However, the most ethically dubious but fantastic food I have ever had is Bluefin Tuna.  Yes, it is threatened, but damn it is good.  Japan has a million ways to serve Bluefin Tuna and they are all good.  

I'll rant later about vegans, vegitarians, and pescatarians, but for now I'll say this.  I can't imagine a world without meat or fish.  It would diminish one of my greatest joys and make life hard to live.  I can't for a second empathize with someone who doesn't dream of their next amazing meal or reminisce about that time in that place you ate that thing.  My life is hugely defined by the amazing meals I have had.  

I recently had a business trip with a vegetarian colleague in Japan.  His food needs determined so much of the trip.  Furthermore, Japan is one of the most amazing food destinations and to miss out on that aspect of the culture is such a shame.  

I'll end this post saying that in spite of everything above, I do have ethics, or at least I have evolving ethics about food.  I am not static in my opinions and I love lively debate.   I can be wrong, or at the very least, I can compromise.  Who I am today is largely shaped with my latest ethical opinions about food.  I'm sure that I'll change over time.  Let's see.