Imagine you’re a hunter and you just bought a copy of Exposing the Big Game to add to your collection of books and magazines featuring photos of prize bull elk, beefy bison and scary bears (the kind of animals you objectify and fantasize about one day hanging in your trophy room full of severed heads). This one also includes pictures of “lesser” creatures like prairie dogs and coyotes you find plain ol’ fun to trap or shoot at.
You don’t normally read these books (you’re too busy drooling over the four-legged eye candy to be bothered), but for some reason this one’s burning a hole in your coffee table. So you take a deep breath and summon up the courage to contemplate the text and its meaning. Several of the words are big and beyond you, and you wish you had a dictionary, but eventually you begin to figure out that Exposing the Big Game is more than just a bunch of exposed film featuring the wild animals you think of as “game.”
This book actually has a message and the message is: hunting sucks!
You don’t want to believe it—the notion that animals are individuals rather than resources goes against everything you’ve ever accepted as truth. But reading on, you learn about the lives of those you’ve always conveniently depersonalized. Finally it starts to dawn on you that animals, such as those gazing up at you from these pages, are fellow earthlings with thoughts and feelings of their own. By the time you’ve finished the third chapter your mind is made up to value them for who they are, not what they are. Now your life is changed forever!
Suddenly you’re enlightened and, like the Grinch, your tiny heart grows three sizes that day. The war is over and you realize that the animals were never the enemy after all. You spring up from the sofa, march over to the gun cabinet and grab your rifles, shotguns, traps, bows and arrows. Hauling the whole cache out to the chopping block, you smash the armaments to bits with your splitting maul. Next, you gather up your ammo, orange vest and camouflage outfits and dump ‘em down the outhouse hole.
Returning to the book, you now face the animals with a clearer conscience, vowing never to harm them again. You’re determined to educate your hunter friends with your newfound revelations and rush out to buy them all copies of Exposing the Big Game for Christmas…
Or suppose you are a non-hunter, which, considering the national average and the fact that the percentage of hunters is dropping daily, is more than likely. Avid hunters comprise less than 5 percent of Americans, while you non-hunters make up approximately 90 percent, and altruistically avid anti-hunters represent an additional 5 percent of the population. For you, this book will shed new light on the evils of sport hunting, incite outrage and spark a firm resolve to help counter these atrocities.
And if you’re one of the magnanimous 5 percent—to whom this book is dedicated—who have devoted your very existence to advocating for justice by challenging society’s pervasive double standard regarding the value of human versus nonhuman life, the photos of animals at peace in the wild will provide a much needed break from the stress and sadness that living with your eyes open can sometimes bring on. As a special treat cooked up just for your enjoyment, a steaming cauldron of scalding satire ladled lavishly about will serve as chik’n soup for your anti-hunter’s soul.
So, who should read Exposing the Big Game? Any hunter who hasn’t smashed his weapons with a splitting maul…or any non-hunter who isn’t yet comfortable taking a stand as an anti-hunter. The rest of you can sit back and enjoy the pretty pictures.
The preceding was an excerpt from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport.