Video: the NYT gives hunting a sympathetic hearing

   09.09.13

Video: the NYT gives hunting a sympathetic hearing

The New York Times has posted a short article and documentary called “Shoot One, Please”, and the ~7 minute short film is well worth watching. It’s also a bit surprising that the NYT ran something that’s as sympathetic to hunting as this video is.

The video chronicles a 15-year-old deer hunter’s first time killing a deer, and shows how he struggles with his feelings about killing the animal before, during, and after pulling the trigger. The comments on the article are mixed, but a common theme in them is that the boy’s father somehow erred by pushing him to make the shot despite his obvious reservations about taking the creature’s life.

I come from a hunting family, and I have to say I didn’t see anything out-of-the-ordinary in the dad’s behavior. Taking a wild animal’s life isn’t some video game — if you have even a sliver of conscience and humanity, then it’s a hard, ugly business. Pushing through those feelings and making the shot anyway is a part of hunting… at least, it should be a part of it. If it’s not at all hard for you to kill a wild, free creature, then you shouldn’t be out hunting because you’re a just yahoo who’s not to be trusted with a gun.

And on the other side of the issue, if you find it abhorrent that a father pushed his son into taking personal ownership and responsibility for the death of an animal that he was about to consume, then you probably have no business eating meat.

If you don’t know exactly where your meat came from and what kind of life the animal had prior to it ending up on your plate, yet you eat it without remorse, then how can you condemn a man who pushed his son to harvest his own game and to feel all the things that the boy felt about the death that he had just caused? If you choose to eat an animal, then whether you acknowledge it or not you’re taking on the responsibility for that animal’s death — both the fact of it, and the manner of it.

So if you’re buying and consuming packaged meat, then you and the boy in the video are both guilty of killing an animal, but at least the boy had someone behind him who was forcing him to grow up and pay the spiritual price of being a carnivore.

Anyway, that’s my $0.02. If you have a different take, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

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