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107 responses to “On Killing”

  1. Robin R

    Simply great article Hank! Hunters are participants in nature, as we were created/evolved to be. When I’ve killed deer, I have felt sadness & even at times shed a tear. The anti-hunting, anti-human interaction with animals on any level people are so very out of touch with the earth.

  2. Killing to Eat | Jughandle’s Fat Farm

    [...] I never really intended to write a post about killing animals for food, but while perusing the blogs I like to read, I came upon a great article written by one of my favorite bloggers, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook’s, Hank Shaw. [...]

  3. Joshua

    Ingrid, I’m so glad you weighed in here, partly because I feel a kinship with you; based on what you’ve written over at Holly’s blog, it would seem that we are two halves of the same spirit.

    I do disagree with you here, of course, and I would like to clarify some points you took issue with:

    Your first complaint would have merit, except that I did not say that because of the pain caused by vegetarians, the pain hunters cause is okay. I said that none of us can avoid causing death and pain when we nourish ourselves, and since “ought” must imply “can”, we are all stuck with a sad fact of the Earth. I then implied that, in light of this fact, hunting is ethically preferable, in that it doesn’t merely kill as an incidence of eating, and also that its very action creates more life than commodity-crop farming. (Here in California, hunting actually partially mitigates the ravages of monoculture, by making wild huge tracts that would otherwise sit as flattened sections of dry dirt for many months of the year).

    Second, your attack on my argument about hunting subtracting from participating in food markets walks a little close to the tu quoque (“hunters do it, too”). As for its numerical quality, I was not referring to a study. I was looking at it as a person who has considered my actions in a deep way, and the harm and good that I do.

    I know that, were I a vegan, I would have to rely more on commodity crops and heavy processing for my nourishment, while as a hunter, at least some of the food I get originates outside the market system. Since I grew up in the middle of monocrop country, I have no illusions as to the nature of Big Ag (and even small ag., and organic, sustainable, etc.) When you watch 200 seagulls and crows flocking behind a discer, you know that they aren’t picking up seeds; they are picking off dead bodies.

    Yes, I still participate, to a large degree, in that system; right now, we cannot afford to completely remove ourselves from it. But I feel far, far worse for that than I do for buying my license and shooting a pheasant or a duck. I know which money has more blood on it, and which money has gone into preserving more habitat, more plants and animals. Hunters’ impacts to wildlife means more habitat protected than would otherwise be the case, and it means more animals and plants.

    As for the communion comment, I have a more personal experience with that. There is a communion with the circle of life (yes, I know, Simba and all that) that takes place, and there is also a communion, of a type, in the predator-prey relationship that is unique. Who carved the graceful legs of the gazelle, but the lion? (To paraphrase a quotation I cannot seem to find right now.) But, I’m not trying to defend that in a way to convince you of my feelings on the matter; that communion is a personal experience, beyond the realm of reason, and it would cheapen both of our hearts to pretend that we could convince one another.

    I, too, completely agree that many more people need to go to wildlife rehab facilities. They also need to go visit hospitals, for a parallel reason. My first wild animal rescue, I realized, as I reached down for that cormorant, that I didn’t know how to grab it, except by its neck to wring it. In that instant, I was changed; I had to cultivate a new physical relationship with this creature.

  4. Comfort food « Mama's Wine Rack

    [...] the way, read this blog about hunting for food to get the Cliff’s Notes version for why I love using hunted meat, and [...]

  5. Moose Loaf | One Wet Foot

    [...] the blogosphere for the past few weeks. I did manage to read Hank Shaw’s thoughtful post on hunting and it inspired me to share a recipe that I’ve been making for years. Though I [...]

  6. Hunting in the Tomales Bay Ecological Reserve | kimberlyventresca

    [...] desire to take responsibility for my food, combined with my overwhelming desire to be connected to the land, is why I took up hunting this [...]

  7. Field Notes — 6/21/13 | Intrepid Pioneer

    [...] On Killing Hank Shaw, author of two books, Hunt Gather Cook & more recently Duck, Duck, Goose. Shaw also manages the  blog Hunter • Angler • Gardener • Cook which I’ve been reading and following for years. This article I’m featuring specifically is about killing and Shaw’s thoughts around this inevitable ending. This is the hardest thing for me to grasp, I understand it and I question myself if I have what it takes to kill in the field when the moment presents itself. I can club a fish, slit it’s gills, but is salmon my gateway to mammals? Only one way to will find out. This article discuss the internal struggle with the kill in a personal account and I’ve reread it more than once. [...]