By Mark Kenyon
As of late I’ve been doing a lot of reading into the “deeper” aspects of hunting. Spirituality, philosophy, ethics – the whys, hows and what-fors of the hunting lifestyle – and along the way I’ve come across some wonderful explanations of the feelings, while hard to describe, which are all tangled up inside of me and the hunt.
One of the most compelling “whys” behind our need for the hunt, is simply that it is natural.
We hunt because it is how we were originally created and meant to live, and that today, being the same physically and genetically, we still do in fact need to or at least feel the need to again partake in this ancient ritual and connection with nature.
To get your head spinning on this topic, and to arm you with a few gems to share next time you’re confronted with the “why hunt?” question, I wanted to share a few excerpts that I’ve found quite enlightening while on my winter reading binge. Read on, enjoy … and, of course, stay wired to hunt. Why, you ask? Because it’s only natural.
“Of singular significance to the hunting/anti-hunting argument is this: … the diet, exercise, and social and spiritual norms distilled and instilled by natural selection in our hunter/gatherer forebears continue to be requisites for human health and happiness. Genetics confirms that as a species we’ve not had enough time in just ten thousand years of agriculture – and only half that of civilization (defined by literacy and urban living) to evolve one iota of change in our collective genome. And since modern urban living satisfies few of evolution’s mandates for human health and happiness, there’s your root of all dis-ease in the world today …. We are not living – physically, socially, psychologically, or spiritually – as we were designed to live. And that’s the rub…
While hunting’s critics often deride the activity as barbaric anachronism – a filthy red remnant from our distant savage past – human ecology counters that since we evolved via hunting, and remain physically, mentally and emotionally (genetically) exactly as we were then, to hunt is to be human….. Why do “modern” humans hunt? Because hunting is our genetic dictum, our generic heritage, its roots running as deep as humanity’s tenure here on good green Earth. Deeper, in fact.” – David Petersen, Heartsblood
“Something enormously powerful binds hunter/gatherers to all those of the past and to modern sportsman, who are no exception to the best traditions of the ancient hunt. That something is the way the hunt satisfies the demands of the genome.
Hunting is a kind of cross-cultural theme. Metaphorically understood, the hunt refers to a larger quest for the way: the pursuit of meaning and contact with a sentient part of the environment and the intuition that nature is a language.” – Paul Shepard, Coming Home To The Pleistocene
“It has become increasingly difficult for me to see hunting as altogether outside of civilization. Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as playing music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.
After all, the earliest forms of representational art reflect hunters and prey. While the arts were making us spiritually viable, hunting did the heavy lifting of not only keeping us alive, but inspiring us. To abhor hunting is to hate the place from which you came, which is akin to hating yourself in some distant, abstract way.” – Steven Rinella, Meat Eater