September 21, 2007, - 4:58 pm

Weekend Read: Why Men Hunt & How You Can’t Defy Nature

By Debbie Schlussel
Even though it’s against my religion to hunt, I totally get why it’s natural and necessary for humans to hunt, and I defend all Americans’ right to do so.
Detroit Free Press columnist and sportsman Eric Sharp gets it, too. His column on hunting and the natural, basic human instinct to do so is a must-read. An excerpt:

Responding to a recent column about declining hunter numbers, a reader asked what probably is the most pertinent question of all: Why should people hunt?
It’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the years and have come up with my own list of reasons. But all are predicated on the most basic imperative — hunting is in our genes.

Read the whole thing.

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17 Responses

Jews can hunt for food but not for sport. The wanton killing of an animal merely to show our strength and pride in taking a life is unworthy of a human being. One can kill for two reasons: for food and for self-preservation from harm. Wanton violence for its own sake neither brings profit to the body or pleasure to the soul.

NormanF on September 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm

They are all silly. Everyone knows the reason the number of hunters is down is because if you are behind on child support payments by as little as a thousand bucks (depending on the state), you can’t get a hunting license. Check it out by Googling it:
http://www.google.com/search?q=child+support+hunting+licenses&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2006-14,GGGL:en

markjames on September 21, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Is it written somewhere that Jews are not permitted to hunt? This is news to me, and I must say that I am a bit surprised. Please enlighten me as to where this is all laid down.

Dr. D on September 21, 2007 at 10:24 pm

‘…if you are behind on child support payments by as little as a thousand bucks …’
Are you kidding me? As ‘little’ as a thousand dollars? If you are failing to support you own flesh and blood the only reason you should be hunting is to put food in that child’s belly. If you have time to hunt, you have time to earn the money owed to your child.

dm60462 on September 22, 2007 at 12:45 am

Yes, huntng may be in the DNA. Hunting for food, that is, however, hunting for “sport” is cultural, not genetic. Although a long time member of the NRA, who earned his first Junior Division target shooting badge in 1950 at the age of 8, I was never a “sport” or “trophy” hunter. After I returned from militry service in 1971, where I had ample opportunity to shoot things, I gave up hunting altogether. I don’t seem to play well with others when out in a woods full of other men with rifles. Don’t even get me started on the advent of semi-auto hunting rifles in .300 Magnum caliber for Michigan woodlands hunting. I’ll just leave that at “Yee F’ing gawd.”
That’s just me, and my friends who hunt and eat their game, many of them veterans too, good on ‘em. Me, Kroger’s or the local butcher will do fine. I know how to hunt(and dress game and livestock in general….that University of Wisconsin experience did pay off) should I need to, but I no longer need to, so I don’t. Heck, I was the nimrod who, on a sunny fall day deer hunting, would fall asleep under a tree, after eating a Slim Jim or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, anyway.
My ethic is that you eat what you hunt, or just skip it. Period. Man long long ago developed better materials for clothing than bear hides, so that option, as a sole purpose for the hunt, is out…and if you have even eaten adult bear meat and liked it….see your doctor, your taste buds are dead. Anyway, at the risk of irritating some NRA members, I have no problem severely limiting “trophy” hunting…and that is all it is if you pack in to deep wilderness, shoot something grand, then pack out only the head and/or horns.
Being a long time horseman, with time in the west around cattle, I am not comforted by the modern feed lot proces either, but it’s not within my control to change. Veal, on the other hand, I can impact….I will not ever eat that delicate white veal so prized in fine restaurants, becasue I know how it is achieved. Thank you, but give me veal grown normally, in a cow/calf operation, with greyish cutlets pounded flat and tender the old fashioned way. Good luck finding it in restaurants today.

Zoyadog on September 22, 2007 at 11:25 am

Is it OK then to hunt to thin out an out of control animal population of certain species. They had bear hunts because bears have caused some problems in some rural areas.

adam6275 on September 22, 2007 at 10:50 pm

I am not a hunter because I would feel some remorse at deliberately killing an animal (exceptions for pests like mice, rats, etc.) My other exception would be if the animal was attacking me, in which case I would open fire (I sometimes camp in areas where it’s possible to encounter bear or mountain lion.) I guess I have a ‘live and let live’ approach to wildlife, with the exceptions I’ve noted. If others wish to hunt, have at it- it’s just not for me.

Barry in CO on September 23, 2007 at 4:19 am

Adam7275….of course it is legitimate to thin out of control animal populatons. Problem is this is frequently used as an excuse for ‘sport’ hunting….such as for wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. There is pretty strong empirical evidence that wolves regulate their own populations based upon available normal prey resources through limited breeding, not to mention almost no evidence of their ever attacking humans per se. I strongly doubt our 400 odd scattered gray wolves (Timber Wolves) in Michigan are going to be invading any city centers in the near future, but the ‘call’ for openning up wolf hunting is underway. I suppose Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons will be next. They’re all ‘reputed’ to attack toy poodles and carry off babies ya’ know.
Now the thin the herd argument is rightous where white tail deer are concerned, quite simply because they adapt well to farming land practices and in fact are more populous now than in the 18th and 19th centiry here. Thus the expanded and extended seasons with doe and buck permits both issued. Deer, though herd animials, do not have the ‘pack’ birth rate controls that wolves do. I no longer hunt deer only because I no longer hunt period….two legged ‘game’ cured me of the urge. It’s a lifestyle choice not a condemnation of hunting, at last where the game is consumed by the hunter and his or her family.
Now some one will no doubt bring up Coyotes….and yes, they’ve expanded their ranges and they are in the city environs. They do not appear to have the regulation that wolves do, and they are master of adaptation, not to mention being ‘jokesters’ as designated by Native Americans long ago. Good part is….they eat vermin like mice and rats, cities have copious amounts of both, so how bad is it that coyotes have come on down? If you abide the leash laws and keep your dogs and cats under your control, not running loose, what’s the problem? Spare me the argument about ‘protecting’ feral cats and dogs….like what is the difference between their predatory habits and that of Coyotes?
Like the once popular Hank williams Jr.s song, with the line…”this country boy can survive.” That’s me, and I choose to shop, not hunt, but I can if I have to do so down the road. I have no quarrel with hunters who eat what they hunt.

Zoyadog on September 23, 2007 at 7:26 am

Barry in CO…..killing an attacking predator in self defense is just that, self defense. I have no problem with that. I feel no remorse in killing an ‘attacker’ whether 4 legged or 2 legged. In these cases, should they occur, of especially bears, and even more so, mountain lions, I would feel remorse over having the need to do so in the first place. My first question would be what did I do wrong to instigate or provoke the attack? I try hard not to surprise either, or tantalize in any way, when in their country. I currently frequent places in rural Montana where encountering both is quite possible, even probable….and where if hiking deep in lion country, or snow shoeing or skiing, you’d be well advised to watch your back trail. I learned all that as a teen and 20 something in the central Colorado mountains in fact. It’s a matter of situational awareness and paying nature its due. I think from your post you already know that, too….just as we know that when hiking or climbing in rattlesnake country to watch where you step or place your hand on a sunny rock ledge above you….might be more there than dust and lizards. Heh.

Zoyadog on September 23, 2007 at 7:41 am

Almost all of our food requires human intervention to survive, with the exception of game animals. Almost all of the fruit, vegetables, and livestock we eat would die in the wild. Ironically, hunting is the most humane form of killing for food, allowing the animal to live out it’s normal life cycle.

steve ventry on September 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

Debbie, maybe you should clarify in your post that, just as Norman pointed out, Judaism allows hunting when it is necessary to obtain food for survival, but does not allow hunting for sport.
I dislike hunting but I can sort of understand why people want to do it. I personally could never shoot a deer. They are too beautiful. Sorry. I’d eat grass first . . .
Cows — now cows are dumb and ugly. I don’t really care about killing cows, though I would never want to see them tortured or terrified. That is just uncalled for. I feel kind of sorry for chickens and turkeys but again, they have tiny brains (and turkeys are mean, I hear) so whatever. Just make it quick! I don’t like hurting things, but I do eat meat. So shoot me.

AmericanJewess on September 23, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Mamet has a piece about deer hunting in Make Believe Town:
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/david-mamet/make-believe-town.htm

Jeremiah on September 23, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Saying the urge to hunt can’t be distinct from hunting for food seems like junk science based on the theory that everything in nature exists for the most pragmatic reasons from a human perspective.
Take sex. Its for procreation. However humans engage in sex much more often than procreation is even practical. This would be even in the most prudish households in history, barring something that would be considered a dysfunction. The impulse to have sex is quite often disconnected from the impulse to procreate. You could genetically attribute it as serving as a bonding act between a couple. Indirectly it serves procreation, but often that is the furtherest thing from a person’s mind at the time.
The value of hunting without direct need, may still serve a natural purpose. Practice for one comes to mind. Kids run, play fistacuffs, and get in all kinds of trouble as practice. The genetic impulse to hunt can very well exist without an identifiable need.
You can say that its wrong to hunt without some direct purpose. But those are human values you wish to project. Human impulses to hunt may still still exist from genetic even if it doesn’t live up to your acceptable standards.
Nature isn’t always nice and isn’t always fair and balanced. Its a myth to think it is.

jpm100 on September 23, 2007 at 6:04 pm

jpm100….you point is made, and it is a valid one (as I think Eric Sharp said in his article) and it seems we’ve come full circle on this topic. There is a genetic impulse to hunt. It’s similar to what we call “prey drive” in dogs, Schutzhund competitors in particular, as well as the hunting breeds, upland dogs in particular. My Czech and W. German bred German Shepherds have a ton of prey drive, as well as fight drive once engaged, but zero or near zero latent aggression…e.g., if not hungry, they’ll not kill anything….if not threatened or attacked, they will not attack. They’ve ‘rescued’ parakeets in my back yard that got out and exhausted themselves…by coming to get me to show me, while the other licked the terrified bird. Both birds are still alive and well at my neighbors’ place. On any other given day they’ll both chase birds in the yard all day long, exercising that prey drive, but not killing. They too, let others do that for them, and take their feed from me.
For me, it isn’t the impulse that is lacking, just the desire in maturity, in my 30’s and now. I had more practice than I think I needed. Still, be prepared and able to do it is a human necessity. As ‘steve ventry” stated in his post, we’ve re-engineered our food supply and reduced the need. There are some different horror stories related to that if you look in to it very deeply. Finally, I do think the pure ‘trophy’ hunters are expressing an urge that goes beyond hunting, just as human sex exceeds the procreative need. for me, the latter is fun, the former not so much.
When it’s all said and done, if you can’t kill, come a war, you will be killed. Simple as that. The Prey Drive in all of us serves to preserve us ultimately.
Thaks, Debbie, for this nice non-political thread for a breather from the news of the day.

Zoyadog on September 23, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Be berry berry quiet, I’m hunting wiberals…
Elmer Fudd
Just kidding: I am not proposing violence on our intellectually challenged, left winged, G-d hating, freedom trashing, America bashing, Muslim enabling, commie spewing, Liberal brethren. And furthermore, it wouldn’t be much of a “hunt”. They are everywhere…

Southernops on September 24, 2007 at 10:09 am

Southernops….exception noted. I’m fine with ‘hunting’ liberals, even if you don’t eat them (bleh!)…they’d make fine trophies.
I can think of a couple I’d mount as urinals in fact.

Zoyadog on September 24, 2007 at 10:53 am

Hunting is a sport ? I guess so here in Pennsylvania we treat it as an artform. Again here in Pa. we can use almost anything to hunt with. Personally I prefer a .44-70 drops them right in their tracks. But that is modern gun season. Then their is Bow season, primitive season, and even an old timer season. (Thats where the deer run at half speed, Fall Turkey and Spring Turkey season and there is even a Bear Season. We even have a Doe season, they have become so large it lasts as long as the buck season.
Hunting has also been used to thin herds. Especially when the Winters are extremely snowy and cold. This is when alot of animals starve to death because they can not find food. Good conservation keeps the Deer herd healthy.
Whether or not hunting has dropped off I can not tell because Pa. had a huge deer harvest last year one of the larger in over 20 years.
Don’t want to hunt don’t but don’t try to tell me not to.

mark on September 24, 2007 at 4:32 pm

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