The online magazine Slate recently posted the rare positive article about hunting, for which I commend them. Its bottom line is that the “expansion of hunting into liberal, urban circles is the latest development in an evolving and increasingly snug coexistence between humans and beasts in North America” as the “bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set” concludes that it is “more responsible and ecologically sound to eat an animal that was raised wild and natural in [the] local habitat….”
Okay, as annoying as it may be to us that a handful of these people seem to think they invented the concept of hunting for intellectual reasons; as satisfying as it would be to say “No sh*t, you little punk!” to any 20-something in skinny jeans who tries to explain to us why we hunt, I say we should totally overlook the fact that they shop at thrift stores where used clothing is marked down for the benefit of the legitimately poor and embrace them with open arms.
As the great deer hunting historian Dr. Robert Wegner has pointed out many times, it was not so very long ago that the American deer hunter was a mainstream cultural hero, practically oozing rugged individualism and moral fiber. The current locavore movement can help us regain some of that image. It already is.
It’s important to note that urban hipsters are just one part of a larger trend–a part that easily attracts media attention. I live in a college town in a Republican-leaning rural county. I commonly talk to nonhunters about hunting. From what I can tell, the growing interest in a more honest and responsible food ethic that includes or considers hunting is neither particularly liberal nor hip. What it is, is becoming increasingly mainstream. I’ll bet a third or more of the nonhunters who ask me about deer hunting, with real enthusiasm and curiosity, are suburban stay-at-home moms.
Liberal or conservative, hip or not, we should embrace them all–even the ones who imagine that an enlightened view of hunting emanates up from a pair of vintage Nikes. We don’t have to thank them for figuring it all out for us bumpkins. But we shouldn’t dismiss or scoff–well maybe scoff a little, but only amongst ourselves.
Seriously, we should be glad to have them in our ranks; we should take them hunting and encourage them to spread the word. There you have it. I think you should hug a hipster. Stand with me or shoot me down.