Monday, March 22, 2010

People. Animals. Nature. Why Hunt?

An excellent discussion going on over at Animals, People and Nature on The Why of the Hunt.

People. Animals. Nature.

The why of the hunt
Mar 18th, 2010
by Tovar.

When I was a vegetarian, I had no clue why modern people hunted.

Now that I hunt, I still puzzle over it. Every hunter has his or her own reasons, of course. I wonder mostly about my own, and even there it’s often hard to lay claim to certainty.

Photo credit: Robert Bryan

Of two things, though, I feel sure.

First, the labels we ascribe to ourselves say very little about why we hunt.

When, a few years ago, a local hunter told me he was a “meat” hunter, he wasn’t saying that “meat” explained his hunting; he only gets a deer once every few years, and enjoys his time in the woods for its own sake. He was saying that he was perfectly willing to shoot a doe if he got the chance. In other words, he was telling me what kind of hunter he isn’t. He’s not a trophy hunter. He doesn’t hunt for antlers.

This way of defining ourselves—by marking the boundary between “us” and “them”—is a human habit long studied by anthropologists. “Identity,” after all, comes from the Latin idem, meaning “the same.” We say who we are by saying who’s different: who we are not.

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