Hunting stories thrill at Tea Talk
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.”
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.