In the March 2014 issue of GQ, city-bred writer Rosencrans Baldwin tells the story of his first hunt, for Montana big game, under the tutelage of his foul-mouthed country-bred Uncle Cy. As a new hunter myself, Baldwin’s narrative “Learn to Kill in Seven Days or Less” is alternately relatable (“the thought of actually killing something this morning has my stomach in a boil”) and cringe-worthy (“I reach for my beer and accidentally point the loaded rifle at Cy’s stomach.”)
Mainstream exposure can be good for hunting. For some, our sports may well be more accessible when they appear alongside photos of LeBron James and Mila Kunis. But does it benefit hunters to have a newbie, an outsider, speaking for us, especially one whose mentor poorly represents hunters while criticizing them? (“You never wear orange or camouflage anything during activities where they aren’t required, for these are the signs of the recreational hunter, the weekend warrior, Californians, and other assholes who plaster ‘I’d rather be hunting’ bumper stickers on their trucks. People for whom hunting is a lifestyle, not a way of life.”)
I wouldn’t willingly enter the woods with Baldwin, who makes no mention of attending a hunter-safety course: “About guns, about hunting, it’s safe to say I know nothing. The last gun I fired was a musket at Boy Scout camp.” At one point during the hunt, Baldwin suddenly realizes he’s running with a loaded weapon after connecting with an 8-point buck across an icy body of water. While I think mainstream exposure for hunting, as a means of bringing meat to the table with integrity, is generally a good thing, I do wish the message didn’t come with this guy’s tone. He sounds desperate to be edgy, and I suspect that the GQ editors gave him this assignment because television shows like “Swamp People” and “Duck Dynasty” are making the subject of hunting hot right now.
Meanwhile, F&S writers have been telling hunting stories for nearly 119 years, and we handle killing an animal with the reverence it deserves. We know that you can’t learn to hunt in “seven days or less,” in fact, you’re lucky if you learn how to hunt after a lifetime.
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