I’ve never been a fan of hunting. I have friends who hunt and have listened to their arguments that their pastime is a sporting one that serves to better the environment. This may be true in cases, or it may simply be a good excuse for killing things.
Yesterday’s Post carried a small item that truly turned my stomach, and for once it wasn’t about Trump. An American hunter posed for photos alongside a family of baboons he had killed while in Africa. He emailed the photos to 100 friends. The man, Blake Fischer, during his time in Namibia killed some 14 animals including a giraffe, an impala, a leopard, a sable antelope, a kudu, a warthog, an eland, and an oryx. Did I mention this brave fellow is a top wildlife official in Idaho? I should say was a top official—he resigned, arguing that killing these largely harmless beasts was neither illegal nor immoral, but that posting the photos might have been in bad taste. He admitted to making “some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested.”
The last word—harvested—is truly repulsive. It makes hunting sound like a harmless pastime, like harvesting radishes, or blueberries. It has become the accepted way of saying killed when one does not wish to be associated with that evil word. .
I truly did wonder what misguided drive would cause someone to shoot, say, a giraffe. Are you going to roast it? Skin it and make a winter coat? Are you going to cut its head off and mount in the TV room? Does it make you more of a man? Will it enlarge or lengthen your penis? Really! I want to know!
I’ve always felt that if you need to kill other living things as a sport, you should level the playing field. Do it à la Rambo. Sharpen a stick with an obsidian knife, track your prey and attack it. Give it a chance to gore you or bite you or trample you. That would be somewhat fair. Sitting in a tree stand with a high-powered rifle or a compound bow proves nothing save that you have time on your hands and a hot desire to play god and take a life.
Now, I admit to a level of hypocrisy. I eat meat and wear leather. I am willing to let someone else do the dirty work of killing, plucking, skinning, packaging and selling my protein. I believe humans are carnivorous, which explains our long, sharp canine teeth. I think subsistence hunting is probably okay, and many years ago I knew an impoverished family in Tennessee that regularly stocked its larder with hunted meat. To the best or my knowledge, though, they never killed a giraffe. If they had, though, they’d have eaten it.