Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Hunter/Gatherer Theory

I’ve been putting off posting this, I guess I don’t want others to have a negative opinion, but I’m going to risk it because I value your input.

By almost all accounts, my husband is a wonderful man (my ex isn’t overly fond of him). He’s thoughtful, compassionate, not afraid to cry; he writes poetry for Pete’s sake. He’s also a hunter. A big game hunter. He returned from his yearly hunting trip a few days ago, having killed a large buck. This is the first deer he’s gotten in several years of trying, which at least made me feel a little better for all the money it costs for the license and tags and the trip itself. But I just can’t get past the feelings of disgust and bewilderment at how and why this man I love would even want to do this, let alone actually do it.

This is the one issue we can’t and won’t agree on, we don’t discuss guns or hunting because there is no room for compromise in either of our positions. There are many men in my life who hunt, including my Dad (who is a lot like D in many respects), my BIL and nephew and a few close friends. I remember having the same feelings as a child, not understanding why Daddy would shoot a pretty deer and why is it hanging upside down in my garage?

D thinks I am afraid of guns and has gently inferred that if I went with him to the range and shot a gun it would lose some of its power. I am not interested in holding or shooting a gun, ever. He says this is my past talking – I’ve been held at gunpoint twice, once during my rape and once during a home invasion robbery. He might be partially right, but I also don’t believe I need to do anything about this, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a healthy fear.

But that isn’t what bothers me…I just can’t wrap my head around the dichotomy of my animal-loving husband purposefully killing an innocent animal.

He has a theory. He says that all men have primal instincts and they need outlets for them. Some men are ruthless businessmen, some beat their wives, some drive too fast – he spends a week in the bush once a year with a gun.

I am trying not to be a hypocrite here. I eat beef and pork and veal and I understand that these were once animals and they had to be slaughtered and skinned and cut up so I could have a BLT. The buck is being prepared by a commercial butcher and the meat will be eaten (not by me, mind you, I don’t like venison). D and his buddy had to dress out the buck in the bush, which involves a lot of butchery. I can’t allow myself to visualize this, particularly the cutting off of the antlers. Just typing that gives me the chills.

Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

Totally OT – I was at the gym the other day and one of the TVs was showing an installment of E’s “101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies”, which is strong incentive for another 5 minutes on the elliptical. The segment I watched was numbers 80 to 61. I came in at #67, which was Enrique Iglesias (I was glad to see this was both sexes). It was the next one that really threw me though: #66 was Jennifer Aniston. WTF? #60 was Demi Moore. I thought, Jesus, who the hell is #1 – Barbie? So I looked it up when I got home: Brad and Angelina were #2 and #1. Ouch. Sorry Jen.

Speaking of hot bodies, last week’s episode of Nip/Tuck featured Mario Lopez as a young stud of a plastic surgeon who Christian meets at the gym. I’m not a fan, I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars and he’s a bit too cutesy for my tastes, but holy moly, he has a rockin’ body. Go here for some pictures of their gym shower scene (NOT work safe). I think I need a cold shower myself.


  1. brave post, my ex was and probably still is a hunter, I never understood it and while I love eating my meat I couldn't eat what he brought home.

    I certainly do not have a negative opinion of your husband at all, hunting is what he does, it doesn't define who he is, some may disagree with that but I knit and sew but have tattoo's piercings and lead a very alternative lifestyle pigeon holing doesn't work.

    I don't know what the answer is I never found one that worked for me and my ex, except to ignore it. I'll be interested to see what others think, for me, I totally empathise with you.

    Primal - natural - instincts etc all are fine and good excuses but I wish it were easier to divert the hunter to another pasttime. maybe lawn bowls (jk)

  2. Maybe this will help... I don't know if this is white-tailed deer, where you are, but they are a menace in the northeast. At the turn of the last century, they were almost extinct (which is so hard to believe).

    Deer are a threat to local flora because they don’t eat exotic plants, instead preferentially devouring natives, especially our lovely spring wildflowers like trillium and trout lily. Deer destroy all indigenous flora from the forest floor up to 5 feet high. This area is called a browse line (see the damage Lack of native vegetation also results in loss of other animals. For example, as deer densities rise, nesting songbirds become scarce. Here is photographic evidence.
    Deer densities have become problematic for a number of reasons, but mainly because of increased habitat and lack of predators. Sprawling development with open yards adjacent to wooded areas are deer Xanadu. Predators like pumas and wolves are gone. The number of bobcats and coyotes are too insignificant to keep pace with their prey.

    I'm very anti-deer for this reason. Hunting groups argue that they then cull their numbers. Hunting is different from predation, though, in that hunters want "prizes" - the big stags with big racks. They are taking the strongest, the best. Predators just want to eat- they are taking the weak. Remember Darwin's survival of the fittest? It's hard to retain your fitness when the good ones are taken. But that's not really relevant in my area, b/c goddamn there are a ton of deer.

    Aren't you glad you posted about this? :-)

  3. I don't have any wisdom about the hunting. I've had family members as hunters, and I've never been able to "get it" either, not for lack of trying. I'm just too freakin fond of animals (and not in a vegan sort of way) to want to be out shooting at them.

    And THANKS for the eye candy! Woo hoo! I did happen to see Mario on DWTS, and holy crap can he shake that thang. Yeeeah, baybee! :D

  4. Good subject to discuss.
    I've thought about this issue for years and years. I think there is a direct relationship with how women shop and share, and how men quietly hunt. There must be something hard-wired into our primal brains.
    A man can "learn" to enjoy shopping just as a woman can "learn" to hunt. But there is something soothing about shopping and finding something worth passing onto our friends, or shopping together. So you have to consider that the hunting must trigger something pleasant in men.
    I can imagine ancient men and women must have argued about how much time was spent on both pursuits. HA

  5. I believe him when he mentions the 'primal' stuff. Our biologies still impact us to this day, like it or not, in spite of how we may have evolved. Or not, depending on your take on evolution...

    Where I have problems with hunting is that we don't live in societies where it's necessary any more, especially for 'big game' animals. Killing them is act of incredible insensitivity and cruelty, regardless of whether they are eaten afterwards, or hung on the living wall.

    On the other hand, is it that different from fishing and frying up some trout at the end of a day? Or having chickens in the back yard and eating their eggs? Personally, I'm a carnivore and I believe that if we weren't meant to eat animals, God would never have made them taste so good. Especially sauteed with shallots in a little butter and white wine.

    This is a tough one. But I think the only thing you can do is learn to accept this part of your husband that you do not like. I think truly loving someone comes down to that. You have to be able to look at them in all of their awfulness [assuming that is not anything abusive or really horrible] and still see their goodness shining through.

    I'm assuming you decided before marrying him that this would not be a deal breaker. So as much as I wish showing him lots of good arguments for why he shouldn't hunt would change his feelings about it, I seriously doubt it will.

    If you ask me, this is one sleeping dog you must let lie. I think it would be fair, however, to ask him to make sure that you don't see the venison and that he not cook and eat it in your presence. That would seem to be the only kind of compromise that would work here.

    And I agree, guns in house = scary, and I wouldn't like it either.

  6. I'm a big one for animals, too, I confess. We do not do of the hunting in our house, simply because I couldn't bear it. That said, it sounds like your dear boy does enjoy it.

    I have no advice for you, other than this-it doesn't sound like a fear of guns is the issue, it's hunting, itself. I think you chose the right route-don't talk about it. This is not to say it's unhealthy to withold things, communication is key, etc. But you've discussed, you're at an impasse, and maybe a gentle reminder that no, you don't like hunting and don't want to shoot a gun, wouldn't go amiss?