Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Hunting

I really feel like I need to explore this thought, perhaps because I am at a misunderstanding or I need clarification.

So I am driving back from school this fine afternoon, after being swiped by a truck that knocked off fifty percent of my side mirror this morning, and I am stopped at a red light behind a van. The van have doors for a trunk, where on the right side one could open to the rear of the vehicle, and at the left there is a tire with a tire casing over it. Normally people like to put a decorative cover over their tire, but this one puzzled me.

These local townies decided to cover their tire with an enlarged picture of a deer looking off into the distance with mountains and a lake intrically painted behind its head. Now, my first thought is "Why a deer? Perhaps they like to hunt." But then, I pursued the thought even more--if it is hunting they are representing with the deer there, aren't they projecting an image of the animal they want to kill? So they post the animal on the back of their car as if for show? Why would they post a deer on the back of their van?

Isn't that kind of cruel and sadistic? Do people like hunting for the sport, for food, out of boredom, or for killing animals (particularly seeking out deer, sticking pictures of them on the backs of their vehicles, and later stalking them in the forest to shoot them with a shotgun?). I am clueless when it comes to hunting. This is a new phenomenon to me. I feel like I've been dropped in hunting culture, having been completely isolated from it for my entire life. I knew it existed, but I never knew anyone who did, I never fired a gun before (until a few weeks ago), and I certainly had never seen people wear the attire or speak of it as a frequent past-time.

But, back to the van.

Is that creepy only to me? If I like to kill mosquitos, would I put a giant picture of one on the back of my Jetta, or would I mount a flag on my front porch? I feel that they're taking the sport of hunting and representing their hobby with the prime love of killing. I don't like glorifying something so destructive, something so primitive, something that is pretty cruel for the sake of entertainment. Am I getting my point across here?

Being a meat-eater myself, I know that even I partake in the killing of animals just by eating animals daily. My participating in meat-eating automatically assumes that I accept the practice of killing animals to contribute to my diet. I understand that it happens. I even read about the cruel practices that still go on today in slaughter houses in Fast Food Nation. A lot of the meat we do eat is not handled properly, and the poor cows are brought in by the thousands and killed execution-style, almost like a freaky Holocaust killing spree in a sense. I know it happens. Has it become so a part of life that it's just too easy to accept because we don't actually see the act happen? We don't have to go through with that step--we might not even think about the animal before we eat it. Our thoughts surpass that and go straight to cooking, if not just slamming the food right down our throats in the first place.

Hunting could be considered savage, but then does that make us all savage (excluding vegetarians)?

Perhaps. But, what started my rant was branding the animals we kill, almost like a sort of pride we had in killing them, like we sought out to kill them and took pleasure in the killing. That is an issue. There are certain levels of problems here, but I am not considering myself free from blame. I am surely to blame, but I am simply posing the earlier question about the van people with their strange deer tire cover.

Or, am I interpreting this all incorrectly. Does the deer tire covering mean hunting after all? I assume that it does, but maybe it represents something else entirely.

What do you think? Am I off? Am I close? Any comments? Help me out here.

1 comment:

Megan Bottle said...

Well, as you know, I'm somewhat of an "expert" on hunting. Or at least the men in my family are, which makes me somewhat of a "pseudo-expert."

Hunters don't necessarily consider themselves killers of animals... sure, they kill animals, and yes, it is a sport. But the overarching term that most (probably not all...) hunters deem themselves is "Outdoorsman." With hunting the animals comes a vast respect for their beauty and mystery. Above all else, most hunters just love being in the outdoors... they love the smell of the woods, the sound of the leaves.

I don't think it's sadistic at all, to post a picture of an animal that a hunter wants to kill. It's all part of the cycle: hunters kill to put meat on the table, because they enjoy the sport, and because it's a vital part of maintaining the deer population. (How would you like hunting to be illegal, nobody hunts deer and the population skyrockets, and you have to add a cracked windshield and cracked grill to your half-smashed mirror...)

I have to admit though, there are people who are just downright sick and twisted when it comes to hunting. They like the power of taking the life of a helpless creature. These people are not hunters though, they are killers.

Hunting is definately a culture that one needs a certain amount of time to acclimate themselves to. Put a group of men togehter on opening day of gun season and you'll see levels of testosterone that you've never seen before...