Lefties load weapons and hunt for supper

Weird juxtapositions in the Turtle Tank

Photo by MarkWallace via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Last week I came across Emma Marris’s essay at Slate (thanks, E!) on the intersection of hunting and modern sub/urban living. As she writes,

The expansion of hunting into liberal, urban circles is the latest development in an evolving and increasingly snug coexistence between humans and beasts in North America. Jim Sterba’s new book, Nature Wars [see a review here], examines the paradox of the rebound of many wild species, particularly in the densely populated East Coast of the United States. Whitetail deer, turkeys, Canada geese, black bears, and trees are all doing wonderfully in 2012, thanks to conservation measures in the past and vagaries of history and cultural change. The problem, Sterba says, is that most modern North Americans have no idea what to do with these species. We gawk and gape; we feed them doughnuts; we run into them with our cars; we are surprised and alarmed by their messy habits and occasional aggressiveness; we manage them all wrong; we want them gone from our neighborhoods, but we abhor the idea of killing them….

So how should we solve this “too much of a good thing” problem? Sterba proposes that local sharpshooters hunt overabundant deer and sell it at farmers markets, a genius way to use the locavore trend to pick up where declining interest in hunting has left a gap in population control. He also advocates wildlife overpasses and underpasses, fines for feeding wildlife, and making wearing fur acceptable again when populations of furbearers need to be controlled. In general, he argues, people need to reconnect with real nature “in ways that, to put it bluntly, get dirt under their fingernails, blood on their hands, and even a wood splinter or two under their kneecaps and butts.” In other words, he’s all for hipsters taking up hunting.

For the full piece — including a bit of Marris’s own experience (“I married into a family of gun-toting, game-cleaning, bleeding-heart liberals”) —  head here.

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