The viewpoints of hunters. From collected essays, and a few book excerpts. They’re really varied. Most of them write about hunting deer or elk, sometimes pronghorn antelope. A few also include fishing and there’s discussions on hunting bears near the end of the book, also whales or seals in the north. Many different opinions and methods, from those who seek trophies and bragging rights, to people solely interested in getting meat to feed their families. The majority are very reasonable-sounding men who value feeling a connection to nature and the land, who recognize that all life depends on other life, and consider that taking one deer for a year’s supply of meat is less harmful to the environement and allows the animal a better life, than buying hamburger meat in the store from a cow that got fat in a feedlot. It almost persuades me to wish I had learned to stalk deer in the woods alongside my father, surely the skill and keen observation and patience needed is challenge enough. Some of the writings featured here are brisk and argumentative, some lean heavily on the side of proving things and get a bit technical or opinionated, many are just describing what a particular hunt was actually like. There’s even a few descriptions of things like men taking shots at grouse that feed on roadsides, taking fish from spawning streams by hand, shooting pen-raised birds released from towers, or quietly and unobtrusively poaching deer. Questionable perhaps, but here clearly pictured with only light criticism. Not all the writer’s voices resonated with me- some I found awkward or dull, but most gave me new things to think about, new ways to look at this topic. It’s getting shelved in my library right alongside Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America– as they seem to compliment each other.
Note on the publication date: it’s when the author compiled the works. Actual publication dates of the individual essays range from 1984 to 1996.