Tuesday, January 30, 2007

a dead horse

"Why hunt?" is a question which has received a lot of attention from persons smarter and far more articulate and patient than I. Nonetheless, the query is one which almost any hunter will encounter more than a few times. On one hand, it is tempting to provide a trite and dismissive answer. You aren't going to convert, or probably even really satisfy, most questioners with your answer. Thus, the easy response: "to eat" or "because I enjoy it". The real answer is more complicated, ranging from quasimystical granola (because participating in the environment [beyond mere breathing and creating waste] strengthens my feeling of connection to place and other animals) to go-to-hell luddite redneckism (that's how I grew up and the animals taste good) to attempted pc nonoffensiveism (I enjoy collecting game, which I eat all of, as it gives me a chance to spend time outdoors and a source of low-fat, free range, hormone and antibiotic free meat and further encourages me to recognize my impact on the enviroment by facing the consequences of direct predation).
All of the above are true.
I don't know that I have to, or should have to, justify hunting, though. I am comfortable with the thought that I'm a predator and confident that my self identification as such is accurate. Those sharp teeth up in the front exist for a reason. Further, there is no time when I feel so comfortable, so in a given moment or place, as when I'm hunting. Fishing can come close, but it is seldom the same. I'm not certain why that is. Nonetheless, place me on a dark spruce hillside with some fresh elk sign and give me a morning to explore it and see if I can get up on them. Then you will find me at my most contented.
Then, too, I feel more and more that meat is more honest when you've directly sweated for it and the collecting of it is not a sure thing. Work hard to find a meat animal, cause and face its death, and you might enjoy your meat a bit more. Maybe not, agriculture is certainly more than enough work. Raise your own pig or steer and slaughter it and you'll be just as invested. Unlike hunting, I doubt it will be fun.
The fall that I don't try to go hunting something will be well and truly wrong with life.


brbiswrite said...

I'm the guy who left the question about cleaning guns on PDB's site. I appreciate your answer.

I followed the link to this blog, and find it interesting. I am not a hunter, mainly 'cause I wouldn't know what to do with whatever I shot. Many of my neighbors are hunters, and I've sampled some of the meat. I'll take beef.

However, I love to fish. Upon arriving at a new (to me) piece of water my first questions are: Which fish are edible? and how much can I keep?

Your comments about trying to keep a blog going hit true for me. I've had mine less than a year and at times find it a struggle, but well worth the effort. Any one who reads dearly wants to write.

The blog gives us that opportunity.

mdmnm said...


Thanks for the comment! I love fishing, too, even for those fish which aren't that good to eat. Good to eat is better. As for game, a lot has to do with how the critter is treated after the kill: how quickly it is cleaned, how the meat is stored, and how prepared. I get a lot of satisfaction from doing that stuff well, but I certainly don't ask other people to share.
Ditto on the read/write.