Thoughts on huntingI have loved hunting since the first days when my father took me along back in the mid-1950s, and I hunted because he hunted, and because both of my grandfathers and most of my uncles hunted. Maybe I have hunted because my ancestors going far back in time in Austria and Germany also hunted.
By: Bernie Kuntz, The Jamestown Sun
I have loved hunting since the first days when my father took me along back in the mid-1950s, and I hunted because he hunted, and because both of my grandfathers and most of my uncles hunted. Maybe I have hunted because my ancestors going far back in time in Austria and Germany also hunted.
I never have made any apologies for being a hunter, although I always have been well aware that, particularly in liberal circles, hunting is held in contempt. That fact is one of many reasons I have lived in states — North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana — where being a hunter is not instantly being labeled a pariah.
Interesting, then, it was for me to see a piece in The Weekly Standard and written by Vermont writer Geoffrey Norman in which he relates some experiences that I have had with my love of hunting over the decades: “You killed things, as was once explained to me, to make up for some deep inadequacy, primitively sexual in nature. What else, after all, could account for the gun which was plainly a substitute for … well, you know what.”
It’s been a long time since I had that sexual inadequacy thing tossed at me — the last time was during an argument with a liberal girl in college about 40 years ago.
Norman makes the point that hunting always has been “unhip,” but hunting is permanent for those of us who love it, and “nothing is more reassuring than permanence.”
“Hunting was a part of the human adventure whose antecedents are so old and fundamental that they are impervious to fashion.”
But, according to a piece Norman refers to in Slate, and written by Emma Marris, hunting is now “undeniably in vogue among the bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set,” with “many of these new hunters … taking up the activity for ethical and environmental reasons.”
(I looked up “locavore” in three dictionaries but could not find the word. However, I suspect it means “one devoted to consuming locally-grown food.”)
You can, Marris explains, now be a liberal and a hunter too! (How comforting if I ever lost my common sense and became a liberal.) A couple decades ago the thought of raising a garden was foreign to most people (unlike my long-time gardening parents and many Midwesterners.) Today, gardening is a growing (excuse the pun) activity, so could hunting be in the same realm?
Norman goes on to tell us facts most hunters already know, but things your average The Weekly Standard reader may not: Many wild species have proliferated — deer, wild turkeys, Canada geese, black bears, moose (in some areas) to where they have become nuisances. Unfortunately, he fails to point out that hunter license dollars and monies derived from excise taxes on the sale of firearms and ammunition made most of those wildlife population increases possible over the last century.
Norman concludes that hunting is a solution to wildlife overpopulations problems, that it is a social policy, and “the sort of thing a think tank might come up with after securing a grant and studying the matter for several months.”
He also says that the hunting urge is “too primitive, too deeply embedded in the blood, to be accounted for rationally.”
I remember another New England writer, William Tapply, who wrote one time that hunting was an activity that allowed him to connect with the boy who he once was, and that if he couldn’t go hunting, he would instantly turn in to an old man.
As a lifelong hunter, I certainly can identify with that.
Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been an Outdoors columnist for the Sun since 1974