Hunt­ing sto­ries thrill at Tea Talk

The Glengarry News - - News - BY TARA MAC­DON­ALD News Staff

Sum­mer Tea Talks at the Glen­garry Nor'Westers and Loy­al­ist Mu­seum in Wil­liamstown are off to a great start.

The talks, held ev­ery Thurs­day from 2 to 4 p.m., fea­ture lo­cal his­to­ri­ans, sto­ry­tellers and vis­it­ing guest speak­ers from other ar­eas. Guests get to hear in­ter­est­ing sto­ries about our past, en­joy a light meal and desserts along with a cup of tea.

Last week’s ses­sion on “Hunt­ing” was pre­sented by Ian Mac­in­tosh of South Lan­caster. Speak­ing to a crowd of more than 20 peo­ple, Mr. Mac­in­tosh re­counted his ex­pe­ri­ences hunt­ing wa­ter­fowl and deer in Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry, New Brunswick, Québec, and Maine.

“Hunt­ing isn’t about life and death,” said Mr. Mac­in­tosh. “It’s also about what you see and ex­pe­ri­ence.”

He spoke of the ca­ma­raderie hunters share. Tales were told of men be­ing trapped in a tent for days af­ter get­ting caught in a snow­storm with­out a shovel. Mr. Mac­in­tosh’s mem­o­ries were so vivid and com­pelling that one could imag­ine fol­low­ing him into a tree stand where the two rivers come to­gether and sight­ing a ma­jes­tic bull moose, out of sea­son, of course!

Mr. Mac­in­tosh also re­counted his faith­ful com­pan­ions: a pair of pure­bred Ger­man short-haired point­ers called Whisky Mac­in­tosh and Whisky Mac­in­tosh the Sec­ond. While he had a num­ber of hunt­ing hounds over the years, it was clear that the Ger­man short-haired point­ers were near­est and dear­est to his heart.

Through Mr. Mac­in­tosh’s sto­ries, lis­ten­ers had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence what it was like to hunt and to see the world through a hunter’s eyes.

“It re­minded me of my early days and learn­ing to hunt from my fa­ther,” said Ernie Spiller who grew up dur­ing the time of the Great De­pres­sion.

Dur­ing the ques­tion pe­riod, one woman com­mented that her sons were avid hunters and asked Mr. Mac­in­tosh what it was in a hunter’s blood that drove them to kill. To this Mr. Mac­in­tosh el­e­gantly re­flected on how the big snows of 1970-1971 af­fected lo­cal deer pop­u­la­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Mac­in­tosh, there were too many deer in too small an area with too much snow that win­ter. As a re­sult, there sim­ply wasn’t enough food to sus­tain the pop­u­la­tion. Na­ture, he said, al­ways finds a way to achieve bal­ance. The fol­low­ing spring, the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources hauled 26 deer car­casses out of the bush in Bainsville. Mr. Mac­in­tosh em­pha­sized the ben­e­fits of hunt­ing as a sus­tain­able way to live in har­mony with na­ture and keep pop­u­la­tions in check while con­tribut­ing to the fam­ily’s food stocks.

Mr. Mac­in­tosh’s awe of na­ture and his re­spect for the an­i­mals he hunts was a re­cur­ring theme through­out the pre­sen­ta­tion. As one guest com­mented, it’s as though Mr. Mac­in­tosh was talk­ing about going to church. Cer­tainly the kin­ship, em­pa­thy and re­spect be­tween the hunter and the hunted was ev­i­dent in all of his tales.

Mr. Mac­in­tosh’s talk tied in to with the Mu­seum’s spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion “In Our De­fence: a his­tory of firearms in Glen­garry County.”

TARA MAC­DON­ALD PHOTO

DE­FENCE TALKS: Ian Mac­in­tosh and Joyce Lewis, new pres­i­dent of the Glen­garry, Nor’Westers and Loy­al­ist Mu­seum in Wil­liamstown, at the most re­cent Tea Talk that co­in­cided with a his­tory of firearms in Glen­garry.

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