Pop-culture drivel about hunting

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Earlier this year author Neil Strauss published a book about survivalism. I was planning on reading Emergency until I read the Boston Globe review:

Next he takes a course in killing with a knife, during which an instructor named Mad Dog demands that he slaughter a live goat. Strauss also studies wilderness survival, learning to build a shelter from leaves, find water, and live off the land. After getting instruction in shooting, he finds himself changing from wimpy writer to would-be killer: “Something strange had occurred. I developed a bloodlust I’d never felt before. I actually wanted an excuse to shoot a bad guy.”

Taking an animals life is saddening, and I think most hunters would agree. To this day, and even as a child, I could not bring myself to kill a bird, or even a worm for that matter, that was not doing any harm and was not eatable. The so-called blood lust is a myth.

Outdoor and Hunting blogger Albert A Rasch put it succinctly in a post about PETA:

You also refuse to acknowledge that there is more to hunting than killing. You refuse to observe and experience the hard work and perseverance that goes into hunting. I don’t deny that I enjoy hunting. I don’t deny that there is satisfaction in a clean kill. But let me be clear, there is little joy in the actual death of an animal. As many hunters will attest, there is frequently a moment of regret or sadness, but that is tempered by the basic satisfaction that the hunter feels knowing that he can provide and secure sustenance. It does not matter whether it is necessary or not in this day and age of mass produced food, it matters to me, and that is all that matters, regardless of the moral high horse you think you sit on.

UPDATE: I may have been a bit harsh basing my opinion on one line and a few gun bloggers disagree with me. Foxtrot in the comments wrote that he thought the quote was out of context, 1withabullet enjoyed the book and Michael Bane, an outdoor author himself, really enjoyed it.

I still stand my my comments above that going on about blood lust in hunting is a load of hollywood fantasy.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Charles222 Charles222 on May 21, 2011

    Eating wild animals is also a damn sight healthier than virtually anything you'll find in a supermarket.

    Shooting deer is the original organic grocery. :p

  • Brainy37 Brainy37 on May 07, 2014

    I don't know where he gets this "feel a bit of saddness" when killing the animal. I never have and probably never will. Every animal I've dropped has been greeted with a "yeessssss" and bit of happiness. I don't view it as bambi dying. I always viewed it as "hard earned food for me".

    Sometimes I wonder if the maple and blue steel crowd get too far into the zen of hunting. But then I've heard way too many versions of what's "sporting" and what's not. The bloodlust bit kicks in when you start going after wild pig in Texas which have no bag limits, at 365 day season, and very few rules.

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