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Know the West

Why one man hunts

  Dear HCN,

I wish to respond to Marc Gaede's letter "Hunting: Call it competition" (HCN, 11/23/98). In this complex, confusing world, it is a tremendous relief to find someone with the simple answers to difficult questions such as, "Why do we hunt?"

From Mr. Gaede's remarks, I now understand that I hunt because I am a "testosterone-laden male" and that when hunting I am "subconsciously killing other male humans because of competition for females." I discussed this point with one of my hunting partners, Lisa, who happens to be a woman. Previous to being enlightened by Mr. Gaede, we thought we went afield because we like to hunt and like to eat the meat. Silly us.

At any rate, on the day I read Mr. Gaede's letter in HCN, I was restless from being cooped-up by a driving snowstorm and had the urge to go hunt an elk. I showed my loving wife of 20 years the part of the letter which stated, "... (Petersen, a hunter) is uncomfortable with his social position, which would restrict his access to desired hierarchical females ..." I then told my bride I was OK with our social position and had satisfactory access to the female I desire, but sure would like to put an elk in the freezer.

She filled the thermos with coffee and made me a sandwich while I got my rifle and binoculars. Giving a good-bye hug, she said, "Don't be slaughtering males from other groups and don't be clubbing any of those hierarchical females and dragging them home. Just hunt." I grunted in the affirmative.

Later that cold, crisp day while following fresh elk tracks through whispering, snow-whitened pines, I wished I could hunt because I enjoy it, have people accept and understand this fact, and let it go at that. It is much more simple, and honest, that way.

Tory Taylor

Dubois, Wyoming