The Hunt *

The Indian admired many animals for certain skills which he recognized were in excess of his own. The Indian saw in the wolf a great hunter who moved quietly throughout his lands and who cared and provided for his family and children, the old and the sick, and his pack. The Indian hunter sought the wolf's abilities and attempted to approximate them to provide for his family and his tribe. He observed the wolf closely and sought out the wolf's spirit to assist him in his own hunt, to help him to locate the animals. He wore the wolf's pelt and performed elaborate rituals to bring the wolf's spirit to him.

Western men do not admire animals. They look at animals and believe they can do nothing better then men. Animals cannot fix broken air conditioners, or perform accounting tricks, or operate jet airplanes. It is not just that most men only observe animals in zoos and not in natural settings. Men do not appreciate animals because there is nothing in animals for the animals to teach them.

Western man sees the animal either as a nuisance and something to be driven off, or sees only himself in the animal and calls the animal his equal and demands for it the legal protections of men. Neither perspective attempts to see the animal as it is in the animal world.
The animal that crosses his backyard and leaves its droppings, or that digs into his trash and makes a mess on his driveway, he wants that animal made to go away. He hires other men to do it and he feels that he has reasserted his control over his land, the land he has deed to.
The animal rights activist demands that the laws of men are applied for the animal's protection. He may refuse to eat animals and in some cases even attack other men and property to free or protect animals. To the activist the animal is as a man and to be treated no differently.
Curiously, among Western men, is it often the hunter, the killer of animals, who feels strongest for them and their protection. For it is the hunter unique among Western men who observes the animal in his animal world. There the hunter sees the animal as neither nuisance nor equal of man. The animal in his world is animal, and the hunter learns of both the animal and his animal world. The good hunter learns to see how the animal world is threatened and changed by Western man and he observes characteristics of the animal that he admires and may even acknowledge as being superior to those of men.
From Aldo Leopold to Teddy Roosevelt, it is no great coincidence that the men who have been most outspoken about the conservation and appreciation of the beauty and mystery of the undomesticated animal and land have also been its hunters. For these Western men through the hunt have come closest to understanding the animals as the Indian hunters did.
* Now, of course, men define "the hunt" as the plying of drinks and jokes to women in bars as a means of procuring sex with them. These hunter-naturalists of urban nightlife call themselves "Players" and are said to practice a way of life known as "the Game." It is an indication of the darkness of this time that the author must counsel the reader against any interpretation of this post in the context of bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, and in any other setting women can be located and approached.

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