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
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.