The ethical life: Hunting leads to an appreciation and understanding of life, nature
Robert Marshall, co-founder of the Wilderness Society, predicted that wild places would acquire even more value as they became scarce.
He thought, as many did in the early 20th century, that wilderness is an ineluctable human need, like food, water and security, and that the less people have, the more they will desire it.
But history has proven him wrong. Wilderness appears instead to be an evanescent good, like art or literature. The less we have, the less it is desired. In its absence, other things, arguably less valuable, take its place. (Facebook, anyone?)
In his best-selling book, “Last Child in the Woods,” Richard Louv documents how our society is raising a generation of children who are technologically adept but ecologically illiterate. He refers to the condition as “nature-deficit disorder,” a condition characterized by both indifference to and fear of the outdoors.
My own introduction to and, ultimately, infatuation with wild places came through hunting and fishing, but by the time I had children of my own, I had effectively given them up as serious pursuits.
We were living in a big city, and instead of going hunting and fishing, we would read our kids nature books, take them to the zoo, go on trail hikes and the occasional camping trip. All of which are fine entertainments. But they allow children merely to observe — not to have a participatory relationship with — wild things.
So I began hunting and fishing again with regularity, making those activities part of a seasonal routine integral to my life, so that I could introduce our children to the natural world in the same manner that I was... read more