This is a subject that I’ve wanted to touch upon for awhile. First, I’d like to make something abundantly clear: I am not against eating meat and I am not against killing animals in order to eat them. That’s the way nature intended it. Animals wouldn’t hesitate to eat us. But I think that there’s a definite and distinct difference between hunting culture and hunting in its purest form.
Look, if you hunt to put food on the table, great. I wouldn’t blame you nowadays with all the crap that they pump into a lot of livestock raised for the purpose of consumption. And I especially wouldn’t blame you if you lived in northern Canada about 100 miles from the nearest grocery store, and hunting is your only way of surviving during the winter.
But if you’re a weekend suburban hunter who has a lifted truck and wears camouflage to restaurants and banks, I’ve got an issue. People who belong to this group are usually representative of what I call “hunting culture.” To them, hunting isn’t a way to provide a family with food. It’s a weekend excursion simply to kill things. It’s a competition to see who can kill the biggest and most, who has the most antlers on the walls. Assholes in this category usually have bumper stickers like this plastered all over their pickup:
This kind of hypermasculine drivel is typical of this group of people. These are the kind of people who usually argue that hunting is a sport. It’s not a sport. There’s nothing competitive about it. Unless you’re giving the deer guns, I’d say there’s absolutely nothing noble or sporting about sitting up in a tree and shooting a creature that has no idea you’re there from 200 yards. The ultimate problem with this attitude is that it equates being a man with killing something.
I know that animals aren’t people and nature is nature, but you shouldn’t ever take joy or pride in killing something, even if it’s a bird or a deer. It’s a necessary action to kill to eat, but it feels a little perverse to derive joy or satisfaction from killing something else. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
I know that there are a lot of hunters who take great effort to make sure that the animals they kill aren’t wasted and only take the life of an animal to eat. There’s a respect for nature and gratitude behind it all. However, I also know that there are people who just like to get drunk and kill things, or for whom the murdering of another creature is some sort of rite of passage to manhood. Which is absolutely ridiculous.
The whole thing seems a little stalker-ish to me, and definitely more than a little off. It seems like all I’ve ever heard when it comes to animals and human psychology is that people who torture animals as children usually grow up to be sociopaths. Or maybe they just grow up to be voyeuristic sociopaths in duck blinds with shotguns, deriving some weird satisfaction from killing from far.