Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?

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.


This Christmas, Show the Hunters that You Care

Judging by the frost on the grass and the ice on the birdbath, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping. This year, your gifts can make a statement—they can show the hunters that you care.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean you should show hunters that you care about them—no, quite the opposite—I mean you can show the hunters that you care about wildlife. And what better way than purchasing a pro-wildlife/anti-hunting book, like Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport?

You’re probably not the type to camp out in front of Wal-Mart for the best deals on Asian sweatshop-produced, future landfill-clogging plastic trinkets, or you wouldn’t be here reading this post this morning–you’d be out there battling the crowds. Well, you won’t have to stand in line and risk being plowed through by some crazed shopper driving a Humvee or lose your tot in a crowded superstore while attempting to purchase Exposing the Big Game. You can order copies online from the comfort of your own home. If you’re not a fan of Amazon.com, feel free to email me at exposingthebiggame@gmail.com for signed copies sent directly to your doorstep. Or you can ask your local “brick and mortar” bookstore (which is more than likely on the verge of going out of business) to order in a copy or copies for you. And of course, Exposing the Big Game is also available in e-book form.

Each year there are a dozen or so new pro-hunting books on the market, while Exposing the Big Game is the only anti-hunting book to come out in decades, and the only one still in print. Don’t let the hunting industry think you’re indifferent about wildlife issues; Tis the season to show them that you care!





New Rule

Children the world over are taught a version of the golden rule, roughly along the lines of, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Kids are generally told that this directive applies to everyone, from their parents and teachers to their siblings and friends—not just to members of their in-group. And a lot of parents wouldn’t hesitate to invoke the golden rule to stop a child from hurting the family pet. Yet for many people, the bias of speciesism is so entrenched that they can’t seem to recognize a wild animal as a deserving other. But biases and isms are not written in stone. If humanity keeps evolving along a compassion continuum, we will inevitably apply the same rules of consideration to all creatures who have the ability to think and feel.

Perhaps it’s time to update and clarify the golden rule to read: “Do unto other sentient beings as they would have you do unto them.”

The golden rule is an age-old edict rooted in the qualities of empathy and compassion. The former asks that we put ourselves in someone else’s “shoes” while the latter compels us to modify any actions that would harm or aggravate them. Empathy helps us to envision what an animal’s needs and wants are, and how their life in the wild is different from our own. Compassion, in turn, obliges us to respond to signals that we’re alarming or irritating them.

If we act out of empathy and compassion, our conduct should cause a minimum of intrusion into the lives of animals and the wild areas they call home. And naturally if we live by a golden rule that includes all of the animal kingdom, we will never keep anyone captive, trap, poison or snare them or use them as living targets in a bloody, imbalanced game.

This post was excerpted from the book Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

What People are Saying about Exposing the Big Game

What People are Saying about the book, Exposing the Big Game

I read this book with wonderment at what our species has done to other species, and with admiration for how staunchly Jim Robertson comes to the defense of those other species, with intelligence, humor, understanding, but above all, compassion. Jim ends his book with these ringing words, both true and eloquent: “Sooner or later, the obdurate hunter crouching in the darkness of ages past must cave in and make peace with the animals or rightfully, if figuratively, die off and be replaced with a more evolved earthling—one who appreciates nonhumans as unique individuals, fellow travelers through life with their own unassailable rights to share the planet.”                                                                                                                     ~Jeffrey Masson, Author of When Elephants Weep, and Dogs Make Us Human

Hard hitting, on target, forthright and foreceful.                                                         ~Ingrid Newkirk, President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Exposing the Big Game blends spectacular photography, indisputable facts and clear reasoning. Jim does not mince words in describing the senselessness and depravity of hunting and the psychopaths who kill for pleasure.                                                   ~Peter Muller, President of the League of Humane Voters

Exposing the Big Game, a passionate and informed indictment of America’s hunting culture, exposes the savagery, cruelty, environmental recklessness and yes, the pathology of this most murderous of sports. Jim Robertson is that rarest of breeds, a talented writer with a gift for telling a story who is also a lifelong outdoorsman with a profound knowledge of the natural world as well as a compassionate human being with a deep love for all living creatures. Exposing the Big Game is quite simply a masterpiece, a treasure not to be missed by anyone who cares about wildlife, the environment and living gently on planet Earth.                                                         ~Norm Phelps, Author of The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA

Jim Robertson has a gifted eye for wildlife photography and his writing incorporates humor, insight and factual observations. Look at each and every animal in this remarkable book as individual self-aware beings deserving of our respect and admiration. If we all could see these magnificent creatures as Jim sees them, there would be hope, not just for their survival, but for our own survival also.               ~Captain Paul Watson (from his Foreword), Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Not since Cleveland Amory’s Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife has a book been more explosive in exposing the politics, hypocrisies and brutality of big game hunting in North America. Exposing the Big Game reveals the suffering, decimation and endangerment of America’s wild animals who are targeted by sportsmen.                        ~Laura Moretti, Founder of The Animals Voice

For years, Jim Robertson has inspired reverence for wildlife through his photography. Now he has created a book that ought to be mandatory reading for those who still think there’s reverence in hunting.                                                                                     ~Ethan Smith, Author of Building an Ark: 101, Solutions to Animal Suffering

For more information, visit: http://www.earth-books.net/books/exposing-the-big-game

Signed copies can be ordered by emailing: exposingthebiggame@gmail.com

Chapter Titles

Here’s the Table of Contents for Exposing the Big Game?
Foreword by Captain Paul Watson


Chapter 1) Hide-hunting Holocaust Survivors Still under Fire

Chapter 2) An Act of Bison Altruism

Chapter 3) War on Coyotes an Exercise in Futility and Cruelty

Chapter 4) Time to End a Twisted Tradition

Chapter 5) Avian Superstar Both Athlete and Egghead

Chapter 6) From the Brink of Oblivion and Back Again?

Chapter 7) A Day in the Sun for the Hayden Wolves

Chapter 8) Critical Cornerstone of a Crumbling Castle

Chapter 9) Bears Show More Restraint than Ursiphobic Elmers

Chapter 10) The Fall of Autumn’s Envoy

Chapter 11) Inside the Hunter’s Mind

Chapter 12) A Magical World of Oneness

Chapter 13) Living Targets of a Dying Sport

Chapter 14) A Few Words on Ethical Wildlife Photography

In Closing


Looking back, this was not, at the outset, planned as a podium from which to lambaste anyone’s hobby or heritage, but was originally intended as a venue for relating some of the behaviors and capabilities I’d observed among animals living in the wild, and as a celebration of life along the compassion continuum. However, after delving deeper into the histories of the species covered here—thanks in part to the invaluable references listed below—I found it impossible to simply depict their natural activities without also chronicling the shocking stories of abuse they have suffered at the hands of man. It would have been doing the animals a disservice to merely record how they naturally lived without at least alluding to the far-reaching and pervasive ways that human actions have altered their lives and sometimes their very natures. And the facts are clear: there has been no greater direct human impact on wildlife than the ongoing threat of hunting. As with the other pertinent and profound quotes from a variety of enlightened sources, this one from Edward Abbey proficiently puts it in a nutshell, “It is not enough to understand the natural world. The point is to defend and preserve it.”

No Really, Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?

My book opens with a satirical preface that asks: “Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?” It depicts a far-fetched scenario of a hunter deciding to smash his weapons after reading the first three chapters of the book. Unfortunately, at least one reviewer took it seriously and wondered why—if I hoped to convert hunters—didn’t I assume a more placid demeanor? (The old “honey versus vinegar” debate.)

The fact is, I never really entertained any fantasy that I could talk the average hunter out of objectifying and killing animals. It’s what they like to do best; it’s “better than sex,” some of them would say.

Later in that preface, I point out that avid hunters make up less than 5% of the U.S. population. The vast majority of Americans, 90%, are non-hunters, with an additional 5% who consider themselves avid anti-hunters.

If the purpose of the book were to negotiate with hunters (whom I’ve found to be about as reasonable as the angry torch-carrying mob after Frankenstein’s monster), I would have used a different approach and tried to sweet-talk them a little. At least I would have spent some time seriously examining their silly, feeble rationalizations for hunting, like the standard: “If humans weren’t supposed to be predators, why do we have sharp canine teeth?” Give me a break! Gorillas, one of our closest relatives, have much more prominent canine teeth and they come from a line of strict vegetarians.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have a clue how to get the message across to hunters and change their minds about killing for sport (short of electro-shock therapy). Believe me, I’ve tried and found them to be pretty darned set in their ways (to put it nicely). The real target audience for Exposing the Big Game is the 90% who are non-hunters, whom I hope—after learning some of the ugly realities of hunting—will decide to get active and join the ranks of anti-hunters.

Another goal of the book is to encourage (and entertain) anti-hunters, giving them a bit of renewed incentive to keep up the good fight. Though we outnumber trophy hunters, they have a heavily funded propaganda machine, including libraries of snuff films and volumes of glossy, full-colored “sportsmen’s” magazines available at any grocery store, drug store or mini-mart across America.

Non-hunters and anti-hunters alike now have at least one book to keep by their side and give them strength to speak out for the animals the next time the pro-hunting industry tries to shut us out of the process of deciding the fate of our wildlife.

If my attitude towards hunters seems too steeped in vinegar, it comes from a deep concern for the well-being of animals, who, as Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson wrote in the book’s Foreword, “…are the disenfranchised from who we have stolen habitat and life – for far too long. It’s time to make peace with our fellow citizens, to live in harmony with them and to understand that those who today club seals, harpoon whales, shoot bears, trap beaver, hook a shark, or blast a goose with a shotgun will be viewed in the future in the same light as we now view slavers, warlords, gangsters and politicians.”

For more information on Exposing the Big Game, visit:             http://www.earth-books.net/books/exposing-the-big-game

Wildlife Photos Copyright Jim Robertson