© 2010 Joshua Stark
In responding to NorCal Cazadora in my previous post, in occurred to me that we could help solve the chicken-and-egg conundrum about hunters and environmentalists.
Oftentimes when I'm attending an environmental advocacy conference, I come across one or two people who would love to try fishing and/or hunting, but who don't know how to start. I often also come across open-minded hunters who absolutely love having new folks to show hunting. I propose, then, a Take an Environmentalist Hunting Day, and I mean that in the sincerest sense.
Many hunters believe that environmentalists and animal rights people are one and the same, but they are not. In fact, I don't even consider animal rights advocacy part of the environmental movement (with a couple of notable exceptions, of course), although I must admit that the fact that many members of nonprofit environmental groups also tend to be knee-jerk members of animal rights groups, which clouds the situation.
Many environmentalists believe that hunters today are paramilitary members who spend part of each year in a compound in Idaho and worry about the New World Order. However, they carry a romantic notion of the act of hunting, because they have grafted themselves to the Tree of Conservation, whose trunk is T.R. and Thomas Seton, and whose roots are their romantic notions of subsistence hunters and pre-Columbian folks in North America. They know that deep within their love of the wild exists a need to be the wild, to be a part of it in the most natural way possible, through getting some of their sustenance from it. They may salve that empty part of their hearts by telling their conscious selves that this is a New Era, and that hunting, today, doesn't have the same spirit and heart, but many long for the experience.
What happens, then, when we introduce enthusiastic environmentalists with the likes of Holly at NorCal Cazadora, Hank at Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook, Phillip at the Hog Blog, or Tovar Cerulli? And there are many, many more like them, ready to share their love for hunting and what it provides, physically, mentally, emotionally, and in some cases, spiritually.
Hunters, if you are so inclined, I recommend you seek out some of your more environmentalist acquaintances, talk up the beauty and experience of intimately knowing your habitats and gaining sustenance from them, and see what happens. You may end up with a new hunting partner, and helping to re-engage two artificially separated communities. But if it doesn't even go that far, I doubt you'll be disappointed in the conversation and the shared feelings about those things to which we all feel connected.
Addendum: If you are interested in hunting or fishing, but have never done so and don't know where or how to start, please shoot me an email, and I will do my darndest to find a hunter in your area who will give you more information, and may even want to meet you and help show you the ropes.
2 days ago