Wilson Post Blogs
Buttoned down & wearin' camo
Is it a passing fad or is hunting slowly becoming the “in thing”
Can hunting be the next purse dog, those ugly little dogs that famous actresses and actors, the ones who seem to be out of work and in trouble, keep carrying around?Mark Zukerberg, the billionaire who started Facebook has become a hunter. He has vowed, so they say, to only eat food he has killed, gathered or grown himself. He is becoming a hunter.
Guy named Dwight Garner, another writer I never heard of, wrote a front page story for the NY Times on the new wave toward hunting. It ran Oct. 1, and I reckon the last time hunting made the front page of that august rag was when Cheney shot the guy.
Speaking of Veeps, our current Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan is an avid bowhunter. The WI native not only hunts, he hunts seriously and has killed some record book animals. In other words, it is not a fad with him. Don’t vote for him just because of that.
Anyway, this guy Garner mentions many people I am not familiar with and a few I am. We all know Sarah Palin is a hunter. Pretty lousy shot from what I saw but a hunter. Course, we all know Uncle Ted Nugent, the loudmouth rock singer. But how many of you have heard of Lily Raf McCaulou, Georgia Pellegrini or Steve Rinela? The truth is, I never heard of any of them. Truth is I had to ask Jeanne who Zukerberg is. I am not on Facebook.
It seems these folks are well known if you are among the garden set or travel in some circles. They are city folks who moved to the country and took up growing things and hunting and writing books about it as if they just discovered dead deer are good to eat. Imagine that!
What spurred them to do so was the desire to eat healthier food, food sans various additives. Some also claim to want to kill their own food.
Make no mistake. Hunting is about killing. It involves blood and guts and if you process your own as I do, it requires some work. They seem to like it. They have come up with all sorts of recipes and ways to serve wild game. About 100-years ago, I published a recipe for wild turkey using Wild Turkey bourbon in the dressing. Folks at Austin Nichols sent me a case of Wild Turkey. Imagine that!
We of course, those of us who have been so fortunate as to have grown up in an advanced section of the country, have always known how to cook backstrap with turnip greens and liver and lights. We know hunting is about killing. However, this is a different segment of the population we are talking about now. They figured their squab came from some store with a fancy name and had no idea it was just a fancy uptown pigeon.
This is a good thing, this exposure to hunting by the young gentry. There are already camouflage clothes with button down collars and even camo undies. But perhaps a more expensive line is on the way. Wonder how long before they realize fur is already a form of camouflage?
Okay. Time to get serious. This is a good thing, this exposure in other than the regular outdoor media. It may be a valuable tool in the preservation of hunting land. It may help to show hunters in a more positive light. However, it may also drive up the price of hunting.
I long ago quit worrying about anti-hunters and animal rights activists. They make up about 15% of the voting public. Hunters compose about the same number so that is a wash. Non-hunters compose 70% of the voting public. If they begin to view hunting in a more positive light, that is good.
Of course, there is a downside. If the more affluent begin to hunt, it could be that they will also begin to buy up land that is now available for hunting. That land is already shrinking. Hunting is on a slide toward the European style of hunting. That is hunting for only the rich and landed. That is not good.
We here in Tennessee are fortunate in that we have over a million acres of land open to hunting. Much of this land is in the form of Wildlife Management Areas-WMA. Fulltime managers manage these areas and much of that land is great hunting, open to all.
However, managing that land is not cost free. As that cost rises at the same time revenue for management decreases, some of the land may have to be sold. That is not good for hunting. In the meantime, I’ll take that positive exposure.
But hey, who are all those people I mentioned?