I don't 'get' hunting

I just got invited to go hunting for probably the 500th time. I had to politely decline and chuckle, “No thanks. 'Fraid I’m not much of a hunter.”

Being just one generation removed from East Texas white trash and backwater country folk, I have a long acquaintance with hunters and hunting. Most of my uncles, and a substantial number of my aunts, hunt; my older brother is a hunter, my dad was, both grandfathers were. My beloved great aunt Ola, gone these past three years after living to the ripe old age of 96, was a serious hunter who had shot (and, of course, ate) deer, moose, elk, caribou, pronghorn antelope, bear, and God-only-knows which other critters. My wife’s family are all from rural Georgia and almost all of them hunt, too.

I don’t hunt; truth is, I just don’t ‘get’ hunting. Every explaination and/or defense of the practice sounds like bullshit to me, even after hearing the same arguments for most of my life.

My brother says, “It’s the ‘sport’ of it that’s exciting, not the killing. It’s all about the ‘man-versus-nature’ dynamic.” Bullshit, says I. I could maybe consider it a ‘sport’ if the deer all had a minimal amount of intelligence, opposable thumbs and maybe a few of ‘em were armed. That would make it a thrilling, exciting, action & pursuit game. Sitting in a deer blind drinking coffee from a thermos and waiting for one of these dumb, placid beasties to wander by so that you can shoot it doesn’t seem all that ‘sporting’.

“…but we always eat everything we shoot,“ says my father-in-law. Good, that’s great…you should eat any animal you kill. I have no problem with that. Hell, I love venison. If I had to kill animals in order to eat them, I suppose I would; but it would be just a task I had to complete in order to eat, not a ‘sport’. The guy who wields the hammer in a slaughterhouse probably doesn’t consider it a ‘sport’ when he sends Bossy up to Cow Heaven. Besides, it’s 2009; nobody really has to hunt for sustenance any more; there are these things called ‘grocery stores’…

I consider hunting to be a little creepy and a bit weird. Not terrible, or horrific, or inhumane, mind you, but a little creepy, a minor weird. Like finding out that your Uncle Sully wears women’s underwear; you still love the guy, and you don’t really think any less of him, but you still raise an eyebrow because it is a bit odd.

Despite all of the talking around the subject and attempting to somehow justify it, hunting is all about killing something. The thrill, the enjoyment, and the feeling of accomplishment comes from the killing; from shooting a living thing to death. It’s just a deer, but it strikes me as bizarre that anyone —including a number of people I love— would get good, pleasant, positive feelings, from killing something.

Well, historically, killing is one of those things we humans excel at and tend to ( as a population ) do on a regular basis. But, if you don’t get it, don’t go. I will tell you that, come the zombie apocalypse, hunting will be a handy skill to know.

Apart from the survival aspects of it (getting the meat), and the bragging aspects of it (look at the big one I got), I imagine it provides a good excuse for hanging around outside in the nice fall weather. (I’m not a hunter so this is just my opinion.)

Yet millions of people get a thrill from slaughtering countless electronic opponents in video games. Hunting is hard-wired. Some of us just accept that fact and get on with our lives.

Most of the time, when hunting in Wisconsin, my husband found it was a reason to be forced to freeze his ass off outside in the frigid “fall” weather (November) and an excuse to drink with his father and their friends in the farmhouse after hunting was done for the day. He isn’t that much of a fan of the actual hunting part. It was a way to get approval from his father, too.

If you have a good supermarket with free range venison and other game meats, that’s awesome, but it’s kind of hard to find that around here (Chicago) for prices approaching anything reasonable.

I don’t hunt anymore, but that’s due to physical issues not “moral” ones. As far as “getting” hunting, there is a lot more to it than “just” killing an animal. Depending on what/how you go about it, the skills involve woodcraft such as tracking and stalking, the use of your chosen weapon which entails A LOT of practice to be good enough to reliably be sure of the shot, The cleaning and dressing of the game, etc… In many areas, hunting puts food on the table, food that is far, far cheaper than buying it at the market.
If you don’t want to hunt (or fish if you think about it) then don’t. If you find it weird or creepy, ok, that’s your right. Some folks are comfy in a “doing the dirty work” of putting meat on the table. Truthfully, I find it a little more “ethically” comfortable eating game than what comes out of a commercial slaughterhouse.

I’ve never hunted but I have fished, which is I would imagine somewhat similar: I thought it was very enjoyable, myself. You cast your line, and you never know what you may get - when a fish strikes, it’s very exciting. Even if no fish strikes, you are still out enjoying nature. If all goes well, there is fresh fish for breakfast - and it tastes much better fresh than from a supermarket.

What is there not to “get”? Humans are pretty well accustomed to finding hunting and gathering type activities “fun”. Indeed, many a video game is designed to more or less replicate in artificial form these activities.

With hunting there is of course the added complication that people have always had mixed feelings about offing Bambi or other fellow mammals they sympathize with (fish, not so much). Plus there is the question of whether one is depleting the environment. Not that deer are exactly scarse these days - if anything, around here there is an overpopulation.

You know video games aren’t real, right? Nobody —even the computer-generated Nazis, zombies, Nazi Zombies, dinosaurs or post-apocalyptic mutants— actually ‘dies’; and most of the time they are actively ‘attacking’ you.

I’d seriously consider going hunting if the deer were intelligent, ruthless, mutant Bambis with a thousand devious schemes to take me down.

I’ll go with a combination of all of the above. Killing is hardwired and something we’re good at - but not something for everyone in every form. Hunting and fishing I enjoy - video games leave me about as excited as hunting does you. They really all seem like so much crap to me - just a little creepy and strange. But that’s just me.

Have you tried hunting vermin or pests? It’s different (morally) to hunting animals for trophies and you’re doing farmers and rural folks a favour at the same time.

I’m a little conflicted about hunting. Killing a deer or whatnot doesn’t sound fun, but the stalking part appeals to me, and venison is damned tasty. I’d go bird hunting if invited, despite not liking the taste of wild bird.
Another issue is that I’ve never fired a real gun. Without some practice, I’m afraid any attempt on my part to actually hit anything while hunting would result in frustrating failure. (Maybe I should get one of these.)

Consider going after boar alone and without dogs; that would be close to what you want. Even with a good weapon and the skill to use it, I won’t be taking bets on who the winner will be. Want to go (sorry) whole hog? Go after that tusker with a single-shot flintlock on a rainy day. I did that once - never will again. But I did do it once.

(thank god I always was a fast tree climber!)

Seriously consider? I’d be all over that, and I’m a vegetarian partially for ethical (‘poor widdle animals’) reasons. :smiley:

(As I’ve often complained before, the rabbits around my house have driven me to occasional outbursts of “I have rabbit butchering instructions and an actual recipe for hasenpfeffer, and I know how to use them!” at the little furry bastards eating my veggies. I swear, if they didn’t scream when injured I might well have been driven to violence, followed by a nice dinner for my husband.)

I had a friend “hunt” with me a few times; he carried a regular SLR camera and got some great nature shots and if I did manage to get any game, I shared it with him. Gave me a companion in case I busted an ankle or something and it gave him pretty much the same.

Completely different story, amigo. I ‘get’ fishing. I love to fish. Fishing has a whole different dynamic to it than hunting, though.

Fishing isn’t about killing fish; it’s about tricking them into taking the bait (or tricking them into thinking that there IS bait, if you use flies or lures). Then there’s an energetic contest of back-and-forth pulling, reeling and releasing to get them into the boat or into the net. All the while there’s a possibility of the fish getting away. When the ‘fishing’ is over, the fish is usually still alive and you have the option of tossing his ass back in the water or bringing him home to kill and eat.

There are plenty of games that involve basically shooting at unresisting targets. Think of skeet shooting, or target shooting. Is finding these activities amusing incomprehensible?

Seems to me that the issue is not that you don’t “get” hunting, it is that you morally disapprove of it. Which is fair enough, but not by any means the same thing.

There really is a “man versus nature” aspect that is separate from just killing. That is why some people like my brother take up bow hunting (even long bows rather than compound bows sometimes) to make it harder on themselves. It is a lot harder to kill a deer with a bow and arrow than it is with a rifle but skilled hunters sometimes try to make it harder on themselves.

I personally hate deer hunting because it combines a lot of the things I hate most into one thing: getting up super early, freezing your ass off, sitting really still for a long time, and hanging out with a bunch of men afterwards. However, I can see why some people like it and I have no moral problem with it. There are too many deer around anyway.

You could always try it. That way, you’d actually sound reasonable the next time you decide to call bullshit on someone who has some experience.

It’s often rather hard to “get” something you’ve never done.

For me personally, if I could buy nicely packaged venison on store shelves for a non-exorbitant price, I probably wouldn’t hunt. When my uncle gets a nuisance permit and is allowed to bag more than one deer a year as long as they’re noshing in his farm fields when he does it, I don’t hunt.

So that’s my feeling on it. I hunt for the same reason my grandfather-in-law fishes: getting fresh meat of a (delicious) type not typically sold. To answer a later post of yours, it’s not about killing deer, it’s about eating venison within my budget.

I enjoy target shooting, but do not hunt. Targets with a brain? I have enough trouble hitting inanimate objects. :wink:

OTOH, I love venison. I know several hunters who give some steaks/roasts to me each year. My son may be one of them this year. He is 15, just passed his hunter safety course, and a buddy is taking him out.