When a friend sent me a link to an article about a popular new pro-hunting book that came out within a week of the release of my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, I knew I’d have to think of a way to respond. As it turns out, the author of The Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner, a young woman from New York City (who decides to emulate Sarah Palin and take up hunting), has made that an easy task.
She came right out and spilled the beans about her feelings (or lack thereof) when she opened fire on a pheasant (one of Dick Cheney’s favorite targets) and made her first kill:
“It felt incredible. It really felt pure. Like euphoria to me. It was just this amazing rush of excitement and pride and relief, and I know this word gets overused a lot, but it was empowering. I didn’t believe I had it in me to do that. It shocked me.”
There’s nothing like getting in touch with your inner psychopath, I guess.
In the article, the author of “The Mild” relates that she was also surprised that she didn’t feel much guilt afterwards. Though rarer than their male counterparts, female psychopaths share the same trademark characteristics: a lack of empathy, remorse or guilt.
It’s curious that she chose a pheasant as the first victim of her quest to live off the spoils of nature, since pheasants are non-native, farm-raised birds who are often kept in captivity like chickens or turkeys before being released into fields frequented by hunters.
I saw this unnatural process for myself back in my early college days. At the time I’d enrolled in a wildlife “management” course, during my brief flirtation with the notion that a true animal lover could find happiness working for the “Game” Department.
Thinking it might help me get ahead in the field, I stopped in to volunteer at a local wildlife “recreation” area. The “game” manager that ran the place was busy herding pheasants from a pen area into a cage. Though only a about foot wide, a foot high and six feet long, the cage was intended to contain a dozen of the big birds. To my delight, one of them got away before he could close the cage door. But the pheasant’s freedom was short-lived—within a minute a shotgun blast rang out and one of the bird hunters “recreating” there soon walked by carrying the carcass of the half-tame “game” bird. I decided on the spot not to pursue the field of “wildlife management” any further.
Presumably the purpose of The Call of the Mild is to inspire more people to take up arms against the wildlife. Let’s hope it’s not successful. However, it does give me an idea for tomorrow’s blog post: “The Day Seven Billion People Decided to Hunt Their Own Dinner.”