On Hipsters and Hunting

Since my gratuitous cheap shot at hipsters in my “ducks on a stick” post generated more comment than the ducks on a stick themselves, let me address the subject of hipsters and hunting directly.

To start, of course I made fun of hipsters. They are too easy a target not to make fun of, what with the flannel shirts, the PBR and the self-centered attitude. Mockery aside, I am all for hipsters taking up hunting, for two reasons.

First, they hunt for the right reason: food. And by “right reason” I mean a societally acceptable reason. Poll after poll of non-hunters suggests they are most likely to approve of hunting when it’s done for meat. Never mind that it’s possible to hunt for a trophy and still eat the meat. The public at large doesn’t get that, but they do understand and generally approve of going hunting specifically to shoot your own dinner. We might find hipsters annoying, but adding a bunch of locavores to our ranks is a net positive for hunting’s image.

Second, hunting needs new blood. Rural and small town America, which is where most of us come from, comprises about 15% of the population and that number is shrinking. We can all talk about how great it was to ride our bikes to the edge of town with our gun slung on our back to go rabbit hunting, but fewer and fewer people grow up like that all the time. The average age of an American hunter is 46. If somebody else doesn’t take an interest in hunting, we’ll die out and with us will go an important voice for wildlife and wild places. Pretty soon only the Lorax will be left, and we know how that story ends. If hipsters are the ones stepping up, so be it. That hipsters are urban liberals isn’t all bad, either. Isn’t it a good thing to have support for hunting and wildlife conservation across the political spectrum?

As long as they are hunting earnestly and not ironically, I’m in favor of hipster hunters. I’d take one hunting. I might even choke down a PBR with him or her afterwards, too.