Taking Life, Humanely OR “Should You Bonk ’em On the Head?”

I warned my readers that my posts would be somewhat disconnected, dependent on what comes to mind.  When a person travels OR enjoys a vacation where time is left for reflection, a lot of things can cross the mind.

I was interested in my brother’s response when I turned my head away while my beautiful 15 pound Chinook salmon received three firm and committed bonks on its head.  He asked, “Will you sit down at dinner and eat this fish?  If you will eat this fish, you should be prepared to take its life.”


I know my brothers…I know my father…and I knew my Grandfather John Moors before them; all of the men in my family have been fishermen.

Out by a pond on a summer’s day, many years ago, accompanying my Grandfather and my brother, John, I learned a lesson.  John had a grasshopper and was taking its legs off…curiosity? wonder? mystery?…something like that, anyway.  My Grandfather’s response was quick and abrupt and I’ll never forget it.  He taught both my brother and me, in that moment, that it does not matter how small an insect or life form, life is to be respected.  Suffering is to be avoided.  The life of that grasshopper was to be respected above everything in that moment.  At that very instant, my Grandfather took matters into his own hands and in front of us, ended the insect’s life.  And that was the end of the subject.  Nothing was ever said about it again.  But, as children, we were left with a forever-impression that we would never forget.

And this is how my father taught us to regard life also.  After my experience of going out to Kitty Coleman with my brother…and returning home to Calgary, I thought that I would research the matter of how to humanely treat and kill a catch.  It became obvious, based on my reading, that it is a very common practice for squeamish and inexperienced outdoors folk to leave their catch to suffocate in the ice cooler for sometimes as many as six hours and I’ve decided that, for me,  this is ridiculous and unacceptable. An article posted, in part, below, was written for the Spokesman Review April 24, 2013 and summarizes a number of methods;  I feel that my brother is correct in his method and in the manner that he accomplishes it.  I think that if we, as beneficiaries of the planet, have food to enjoy, we need to explore these practices and decide if we can accept them.

Clubbing FishI learned, while out on the water with my brother, that we need to be more conscious about the foods that we eat…how they are produced/processed and try to align our morals, values and sense of our planet before we consume them.  I need to be more aware of the practices and industries that end with my purchase of foods at the grocery store.  Like most contemporaries, I consume foods based on convenience and economics.  This is going to change.

Shout out to my brother of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, British Columbia…for this and many other lessons, I am grateful.  I bowed my head, in silence and in gratitude, for our catch that day and I pray for their continued bounty.  Beautiful fish of the sea!

15 lb Chinook Salmon...brought in by Kathleen Moors, with a short termed assist by Cliff Moors.  An awesome memory.

15 lb Chinook Salmon…brought in by Kathleen Moors, with a short termed assist by Cliff Moors. An awesome memory.


4 thoughts on “Taking Life, Humanely OR “Should You Bonk ’em On the Head?”

  1. As all of your posts Kathleen this is a thoughtful and sensitive exploration of the taking of life. You have been in my neck of the woods (and ocean) and it’s lovely to know you have been so near. I lived and fished on Vancouver Island for many years and a dear first nations friend taught me about honouring the life of the fish as I clubbed it. It gave its life to be a part of me, a sacrifice not to take lightly. I eat fish now because I know I am able to catch and kill them and still feel at peace. I have never felt this way about meat so I remain a pescitarian. This may seem hypocritical to many but it is the best i can do at this time. That’s a magnificent salmon you caught. The only time I got such a beauty on my line it was stolen by a whale…but that’s another story…

  2. What a great catch. I love to fish, but these days we mostly catch and release. In the past I never cleaned the fish; my husband did that so I never gave it much thought. You have given me something to think about.

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