Hunting For Answers

I’m working on a new short story. I haven’t had the inspiration in weeks which I took as a good sign. I finished editing Soul Thief (again) and was back to Book 2 — Stalking Horse. And then I heard a little news story on recent episode of my favorite podcast about a wolf who had been killed and that got me to thinking about wolves and ranchers and the environment.

rifleWhich led to me to looking at hunting rifle pictures on the internet. This one is about the most innocent one out there. Almost every other picture shows the victim who was killed with the rifle.

I guess that makes sense — you are demonstrating your prowess and the rifle’s ability to get the job down. But oh my, the carnage. Thankfully (or not?) most of the pictures are bloodless. You could think that the deer is just laying with its head in the nice man’s lap, taking a little nap.

I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. Most of us didn’t. Recent statistics say that currently there are about equal numbers of hunters and vegans. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Hunting is declining (as is gun ownership) and veganism is rising. I am sure that people hunt for the same complexity of reasons that others choose a vegan lifestyle, and I’m not about to try to analyse the reasons.

Since I didn’t grow up around hunters and guns, I had to turn to the internet for guidance on what guns people use to hunt, the differences between various rifles and ammunition, and important stuff like what the hell is a “three point safety”? And all that research came with the dubious bonus of having to see dead animals on pretty much every page.

Like my favorite writer, Kurt Vonnegut, I don’t believe in villains. Everyone is the hero of his story. Those hunters, posing next to the animals they’ve killed, are proud. They are the heroes of the story they tell themselves about hunting. I can’t take that away from them; I wouldn’t be able to take that away from them. The mythos that allows perfectly nice, normal people to take a gun and shoot sentient creatures is too deeply ingrained. The only person who is going to convince a hunter to quit hunting is himself, and the declining numbers suggest that is exactly what’s happening.


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