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I don't think those arguments against hunting are necessarily diminished by replacing trivializing phrases like "for fun", or "for kicks" with less-trivial phrases. The important thing is that, if you disagree with them, the phrases be replaced with *something*.

In the case of this post, you've replaced "fun" with "visceral excitement". Okay. It's certainly more articulate, but I don't see the logical distinction in its actual meaning.


Stewart, the persuasiveness of the arguments are diminished to the extent that they no longer have the same rhetorical punch. But, of course, the strength of the arguments considered purely logically is undiminished. (That, of course, is generally true of arguments involving loaded language.)

Now consider the following alternative premises of a generic anti-hunting argument:

1a. Hunting is either done as a matter of practical survival or it is not.

1b. Hunting is either done as a matter of practical survival or it is done for fun/amusement.

It seems clear to me that the two versions of this premise, though ostensibly synonymous, differ considerably in the conclusions we are willing to draw from them. The "fun and amusement" vocabulary invokes (in Fillmore's and Lakoff's terminology) a different semantic frame, one which readily licenses inferences to things like the gratuitousness of pain caused for fun. Or, to put it differently, the "fun/amusement" frame licenses a particular understanding of the concept of something's being gratuitous. In this sense, "gratuitous" is context-sensitive in much the same way as modal adverbs like "necessary/unnecessary". (The issue is also similar to the reticence of ancient scholars to translate Aristotle's "eudaimonia" as "happiness".)

On the other hand, it is far less clear that one would be inclined to accept that pain caused not as a matter of practical survival is gratuitous (where "gratuitous" is read here with the same strength as it has above). After all, it is pretty much self-evidently true that some pain not caused as a matter of practical survival is not gratuitous, either. (I leave it as an assignment to the reader to come up with examples.) Consequently, the b-version of premise one invites us to think more carefully about what exactly gratuitous pain is in the first place. And it is this discussion, which seems to me essential, that is almost entirely lacking from the animal welfare literature. (The main exception being discussions specific to animal experimentation.)

In contrast, hunters from Grinell to Leopold to Petersen have been at pains to give voice to the meaning or significance of hunting. And what they have to say here has direct bearing on the issue of the morality of hunting. I, for one, accept straight out that if hunting is no more significant or meaningful than riding the rollercoaster at the fair, then we ought not hunt. (But neither am I terribly worried that this is true.)

Now I certainly don't think that these comments (for that matter, any comments on this blog) give an adequate answer to animal welfare arguments. That is not my point in posting them. All I am doing is structuring ideas, picking and prodding, to see what bends and what doesn't. I think this is a point where the animal welfare arguments bend. But I am not yet philosophically ready to push any of these arguments to the breaking point.

Jacob Birdsong


What it all comes down to. Is actually getting out there and doing it. There's nothing I hate more than people putting a bad rep on hunting, who've never gone on an actual hunting trip before. (No I'm not talking about stepping out back and knocking out a couple of squirrel). In order to know how you feel, you must first experience both sides. I was against hunting initially, then I was unsure. So I went, and it was one of the best times in my life. If you want to know the truth, stop reading this, and book a trip, then leave an ACCURATE comment.


You guys sure do like using all them big words, ah yuck.



this is total bullshit.
you enjoy it. simple as that.
you go out hunting AND YOU ENJOY IT. it doesn't matter if its the actual death or not, the fact is, you go on hunting trips because you like to.
and when you do, an animal has to die for it.
an animal has to die, so *you* can feel good?



argh, Nathan, the whole idea of hunting is not about the killing, it is about the chase and if the chase ends in success, then so be it's the thrill of the chase and outwitting a wild animal creates the excitement, getting as close as you can before taking the shot, I don't support these "hunters" who take shots at 300-400 yards, that is why here in the UK we go deer STALKING. Getting as close as possible, not using the animals as live target practice, if you want to test your skill at shooting long ranges, shoot on paper or plates! the field is not a placed to demonstrate one's shooting skills, as the likelihood or wounding the animal increases with range.


Visceral excitement.. that's classic! And how about you take a picture if it's about the chase. The fact is you get pleasure out of taking a life because you have inadequacy issues. It gives you power and control. You need to find the bully who picked on you as a child and get your revenge on them, not some deer eating grass. Or better yet, go see a psychologist.


I am not an academic. So no BIG words. Allow me to be SIMPLISTIC.
Here is my 2 cents; As long as we humans "feed" on animals; i.e. burgers & steaks, chicken etc..we are not in a postion to challenge hunting. Hunting is an outdoor sport, has been and will be for some time to come.
Make your 'individual choice' and let it be until THE TIME COMES!


you have very good explainations it was very kind of you to post something like this i used some of your info and i did awesome on my report.


Better done personally for food than through the slaughter house you other dicks get your meat from...


I've seen videos posted on YouTube where hunters kill animals on camera. One man killed a squirrel with a bow and arrow, then commented "Alright! He's choking on his own blood!" Another "brave" man in a video shot a SLEEPING cougar. I'm not against hunting, but there is definitely an element among hunters who don't respect the wild or feel thankful in any measure towards the creatures that they kill. They are sadistic. Are they having "fun"? You bet they are.



it doesn't matter what its about, whether killing is the end all be all of hunting or not.


Hunting involves shooting to kill.
Hunting involves spending time outside (fun, says the "outdoor" types).
Hunting involves use of marksmanship (success of marksmanship = fun. so says the pathways that light up in your brain, no matter what you say, science overrules your backwoods yokelism).
Hunting is rewarded with a "trophy" of your kill, via a large disembodied head. (here I ask, why a trophy, if killing is negative, and hunting is supposedly about not killing?).

Does this living entity have to be killed? y/n?

Does being shot cause pain and suffering? If you choose to say no to this, shoot yourself in the face.

If you're going to shoot something, shoot to kill. isn't that the motto? No undue suffering to the living entity being shot? Yet why do you have to pull the trigger at all? There is a thrill in killing something, they know it, we know it, murderers on death row know it. Taking the opposite stance is blatant obstinance against what is established truth that everyone knows.

As an analogy. suppose there is a competition that involves ending up causing the death of a person, against the person's "survival instincts" (or wishes, in legal terms). It doesn't matter that this persons death isnt a main part of it, you're still going away for murder, because it was suffering and death caused as a direct result of actions.

"hunters" are either seeking to diminish responsibility and escape it, by clamoring to the losing sounds of excuses such as "its not the main part", "my parents and grandparents did it", "the animal isn't important", or they are mentally diminished capacity via inbreeding.

Let me reiterate for the intellectually challanged here.

Hunting: Unnecessary. Causes death. Enjoyed.

You can choose to try to separate all the individual factors, but hunting is all those factors combined. No amount of anti-anti-hunter whining and logically flawed arguments will deny that.

You want the thrill of the chase without killing? Use a hand held laser pointer to "shoot" the animal after "stalking" it.

If you kill, you're invalidating the whole argument you make.


And let me tell you, I've hunted before.

Yes, the thrill of shooting something living does exist.

yes, the animal does die while you feel good about having good aim, and succeeding at doing something as big as taking a life.

No, I will never hunt again. Not just because I don't like listening to my hypocrite hunter friends.


I think I can make it simpler. The hunter argument goes like this : There are fun aspects of it, but then there's the kill, which is not enjoyed for killing something.

My question is, you're committing an act that is not enjoyable, then why keep doing it? Its not something that absolutely has to be done in order for a person to do those other things, such as being in nature, watching animals, and other things.

Action expresses priority. If killing something isn't fun at all then just dont do it? If you can't give it up, it means there's some jollies a person gets from doing it, and is therefor obviously inclusive in the package of what makes hunting "fun".

Little kids imagine shooting each other when playing cowboys and indians too. There's no difference in them playing that and in people playing "hunter", only something dies for you to play your games in the woods. At least have the balls to admit it, and that you like it and wont change. You don't get any respect or credibility swearing up and down to a lie when the facts are obvious and visible.

Customers Revenge

These are great comments. I especially agree with the laser suggestion. It's perfect. Stalk the animal, get close, and then trigger a laser dot between the eyes with a close-up picture at the same to get the trophy. Then you can show all your friends that your snuck up on an animal, were able to accurately point something at it and pull a trigger.

The whole culmination of the hunt is the kill. If it wasn't then hunters would be hikers, bird-watchers, nature documentary camerafolk, etc.

Hunting for the most part is totally the opposite of what hunters say it is. They are proud that they can sneak up on unsuspecting animals and shoot them from a distance. How is that a reason to be proud or excited? The hunter is a much less worthy adversary. Imagine someone hunting the hunter. How easy would it be to take him out when he's walking to his car from a block away hiding behind a bush. The excitement of hunting so obviously is strictly in the killing otherwise you could get all the other supposed satisfactions seperately.

It's like me getting excitement from beating a chess grandmaster but I get to switch my pieces to all queens. Yes, I could beat the grandmaster, but is it really anything worthwhile? The only reason would be to impress my friends or fool myself that I'm "better" than a grandmaster.



"They are proud that they can sneak up on unsuspecting animals and shoot them from a distance."

Wild animals are anything but unsuspecting, they are wary and very hard to approach, always alert and very aware of their environment, this is part of the trill of hunting outwitting a animal that knows the lay of the land better than you do and has been finely crafted by evolution to avoid all sorts of predators. This is a misconception that hunters simply walk up to a animal and shoot it in the face, in fact hunting is difficult and can take many days of stalking and observing a animals movements before you get a chance at the shot, I've had seasons when I've failed to kill a single deer. And yes the killing part is fun, its the culmination of all your hard work, but it's not fun in the sense that you get pleasure out of watching the animal feel pain, I suppose its like watching somebody fall down and get hurt/humiliated its funny and you get pleasure out of it but not because the person is feeling pain.


My position is this.
People can hunt if they like, but does it make a difference?
You can take an animals life but will it not die later on?
What about slaughterhouses?
Hunters who get enjoyment from the animal feeling pain is someone who has plenty of emotional pain themselves.
Hunting is for the enjoyment of being outdoors and not sitting on your couch watching tv.
Sure you get enjoyment out of killing the deer because it's like playing chess with it.
However, are you ending the species existence?
Hunting ~Endangered Species~ is wrong because your helping diminish a whole species.
However it's all the "Circle of Life".
Things die,things are born.
You can't stop death nor can you stop life, permanently that is.
I'd like to also point out that I'm not a hunter and never have hunted but seems like an interesting experience which I will probably try.
See for myself.


Serial Killers often talk about the thrill, the stalking, the "hunt", selecting the victim, how good it felt, the kill as the ultimate thrill. I guess If I should have any credibility about talking about the morality of serial killing, I would first have to engage in it? That is if I want to go with the argument of the poster Jacob Birdsong | October 07, 2007 at 12:37 PM

If we were talking about animals other then deer lets say dogs, animals we have become to except as pets, or if we talked about humans suddenly the discussion would be very different!

If it is the stalking, the being outdoors, the bonding time with the son or daughter in the woods, the outsmarting of the animal, if all of this was the only reason to do it, then why "Kill"? Just take a camera and take a picture for posterity and bragging rights. Do a non lethal shoot!

If you insist on killing you are just a killer!

And no I do not eat any meat!


Zachary said - "You can take an animals life but will it not die later on?"

In that case, if someone kills you and your loved ones tomorrow, thats ok right? Because thats the circle of life. It was going to happen anyway. Infact it did you a favor- sped things up a bit.

Hunters need to put themselves in the animal's place, see how they would like to be killed for "a sense of excitement".


I wish there are more intelligent and superior creatures that can read human minds and just enjoy hunting humans who has intention of hunting in their brain. Sure, these human hunter would not even dare to roam outside like the animals they hunt if my wish is granted.
Or-- Bring back just one dead mouse to life and I will pay for your hunting rest of your life. You have no right to take away what you can not give.


Man is a biological organism which has survived through use of his mental and physical abilities. Today it is no longer necessary for man to kill in order to survive, ergo hunting to kill is not in any way necessary. I will concede that there are many aspects of hunting which may be considered "fun" as written about by others above. I take no issue with this. But, as a biologist, a fisheries biologist who "killed" many fish in my professional life, and as a former hunter; "fun" is an inadequate term to describe why a person derives some form of "satisfaction" from hunting and the final kill. I know because I derive no such sensation from all the fish I have killed, nor do I believe that the butcher derives any satisfaction from the slaughter of a farm animal. The "thrill of the kill" derived from hunting is different. It can not be explained in terms like "fun, excitement, pleasure," or any other simple words. Because it is much more than that. I can't easily put it into words, but I will be thinking about this and hope to post more on this later. Look for a future post from FishDoc.


I liked your site, you are very interesting to write. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


I appreciate the effort you have put into trying to rationalize your actions. Humans are capable of rationalizing almost all acts, regardless of how savage, especially when they have like minded people to support them. Hunters are a cult, brainwashed into thinking that killing is somehow above moral reproach. You are trying to suggest that your recreation is somehow mystical. It is not. Your cult might tell you that it is, but regardless of what your leaders tell you, your recreational killing is wrong.


your not even natural hunters, take the gun away and then see how you built in nature, or all you meat eaters eat the flesh raw like a true carnivore you say yo all are, you could not digest it naturally, get real, or keep up some stupid TRADITION, or BRAINWASHED upbringing, study the fact, we are herbivores


There are lots of interesting comments above, but I have been away from this blog for so long that I can't possibly respond to all of them.

Let me note, however, that the goal of this post and many others is to undermine the really silly kinds of anti-hunter comments that one sees all too frequently. Consider, for instance, the preceding comment. This is just irrational ranting, not an attempt to think about the issue in a reasonable way. Does elsin some how bizarrely imagine that I haven't thought about these points for as well? That this kind of comment will come as a revelation to me or to other hunters? If so, then he/she grossly overestimates his/her creativity and insight!

The post isn't designed to address all issues at once or to provide a decisive argument in favor the moral permissability of hunting. It is aimed only at one single point in a large debate. I have no doubt that some hunters do find killing "fun", but to stereotype hunters in this way is to simply be disingenuous.

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