Hunting occupies that rare place in our cutlural lexicon whereby it exists as both recreational sport, and as a way to provide food for oneself, and one's family.
But has hunting become a wedge issue, an identity checkmark on the battlefield of partisan politics? Does tofu equal liberal while venison equates with conservative?
Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
"Hunting is undeniably in vogue among the bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set," Emma Marris writes in her recent Slate.com article “Hipsters Who Hunt: More liberals are shooting their own supper." "The new trend might even be partly behind a recent 9 percent increase from 2006 to 2011 in the number of hunters in the United States after years of decline.”
Hunting, many non-traditional hunters are discovering, can be quite earthy-crunchy.
"If you eat meat," notes Marris, "eating animals you hunt yourself is a more ethical alternative than eating those from the current industrial agricultural system."
"Getting your meat from outside the industrial food system is also better for the environment," Marris continues. "Wild game isn’t fed on tons of grain that used excessive water, land, and fossil-fuel-based synthetic fertilizer."
Both the environmental and ethical concerns, however, may be easier for the localvore set to digest than the political perception of hunting as viewed in our popular culture.
"There’s another facile belief that the new kids in the duck blind need to jettison," says Marris, "the idea that all hunting is somehow the cultural property of jerky guys with big trucks and a fondness for the country music and Republican candidates.”
It is a worthwhile observation, but the fact that this even needs to be stated, and is receiving prominent placement at a site like Slate.com, is sorry commentary on our society indeed. Regardless of one's subcultural leanings, we all lose when passions are whittled away in such a simplistic manner.