Outdoors

Readers say there' a sixth stage of hunter development

After boning out a spike elk with his hunting partner in the Blue Mountains, Jim Kujala gets ready to haul out the meat in four bags along with the skin and the spike antlers on a game cart.  After going a short way cross-country, Kujala and his partner, Rich Landers, were able to pull the cart on old logging roads closed to motor vehicle traffic about 2 miles to a main road near their camp. (Rich Landers)
After boning out a spike elk with his hunting partner in the Blue Mountains, Jim Kujala gets ready to haul out the meat in four bags along with the skin and the spike antlers on a game cart. After going a short way cross-country, Kujala and his partner, Rich Landers, were able to pull the cart on old logging roads closed to motor vehicle traffic about 2 miles to a main road near their camp. (Rich Landers)

HUNTING — Reaction to my outdoors column about hunting being a form of tough love has included several readers suggesting there's a sixth stage of hunter development:  The Non-Killing Stage.

This would be the stage in which a hunter no longer has the energy, enthusiasm or heart to kill an animal. I would argue this is not a last stage of being a hunter but rather the first stage of being a nonhunter. 

But as one reader said, ” Haven't you ever looked at the dead mallard you just shot and asked yourself, 'Why the hell did I do that?'”

My answer: No.

I'm pretty careful about aiming my rifle or pointing my shotgun ONLY at creatures I fully intend to kill.

However, I almost always feel a sense of sadness that the creature is dead. This is a trait found only in human predators, not in any other predator found on the planet.

I don't find elation in killing.

On the other hand, to start eating a whitetail buck without killing it first would be cruel.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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