Category Archive 'Hunting'
12 Jun 2018

Why A Decline In Hunting Could Be Bad News For Nature Lovers

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26 Apr 2018

“An Element of Immortality”

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William Harnden Foster, New England Grouse Shooting.

Terry Wieland, in Vintage British Shotguns (2008), writes:

There is, at the root of all this, a passion. For years I pondered the question of why I, and others, become emotional about firearms, new and old. Almost always, the passion is directed at finer guns. They could be the largely hand-fitted, hand-finished Winchesters of 1900, or the Colts of the same era, or the best bespoke Purdys and Lancasters. Or, they could be medium-quality boxlocks of the years before 1914. Different guns appeal to different people, but there are common threads.

The common thread here is hand labor –the skill and knowledge that flows from a craftsman’s head through his fingers, into the gun that he is making. That magical quality stays throughout its life, and that life can be very long — virtually infinite, in fact. These guns are made with steel and wood, crafted in a vise with a file, tempered by fire. A thousand years from now, that gun can still be shooting, or made to shoot once again, provided a man exists with the skill and the knowledge and the vise and the file and a piece of steel.

The magic simply does not exist with a gun fashioned from polymer, stamped out by a machine. No matter how well it functions in the short term, it is still a product of a disposable age. Fine guns are not disposable. They are made to last forever.

A man and his dog go out to hunt grouse, and he takes with him a hundred-year-old English shotgun. He may be the gun’s sixth or seventh owner. Each of these participants –dog, man, gun, bird — is an essential element in a timeless ballet, but each participates within its own cycle. A grouse may live for three seasons, a dog may hunt for ten; the man will hunt for 50, but the guncan go a-birding for a century, and the grouse as a species outlasts them all.

This metaphysical reality of hunting is one of the things that intrigues serious bird hunters so much, and gives us all a feeling of participating in something much larger, and older, and more important than ourselves. There is an element of immortality about it.

14 Apr 2018

“Hamlet” — Really, A Book About Hunting

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Legend has it that the young William Shakespeare was caught poaching deer at Charlecote Park and was brought up and charged before Sir Thomas Lucy, the owner and local magistrate.

James Shapiro, in the New York Review of Books, explains that Rhodri Lewis’ Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness, Princeton, October 2017, serves up a new interpretation of Hamlet.

No Freudian obsession with Gertrude, no too-much-cerebration-leading-to-inaction, no Harold Bloom and “The Invention of the Human”, no Humanism, at all.

Hamlet, it turns out, is really all about hunting.

    Shakespeare repudiates two fundamental tenets of humanist culture. First, the core belief that history is a repository of wisdom from which human societies can and should learn…. Second, the conviction that the true value of human life could best be understood by a return ad fontes—to the origins of things, be they historical, textual, moral, poetic, philosophical, or religious (Protestant and Roman Catholic alike). For Shakespeare, this is a sham…. Like the past in general, origins are pliable—whatever the competing or complementary urges of appetite, honour, virtue, and expediency need them to be.

The fruitless search for absolutes by which to act or judge is doomed to failure: “Hamlet turns to moral philosophy, love, sexual desire, filial bonds, friendship, introversion, poetry, realpolitik, and religion in the search for meaning or fixity. In each case, it discovers nothing of significance.”

The absence of any moral certainties means that it’s a “kill or be killed” world, and the most impressive chapter in Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness establishes how the language of predation saturates the play. Lewis’s brilliant analysis here gives fresh meaning to long-familiar if half-understood phrases, including the “enseamed” marital bed, “Bait of falsehood,” “A cry of players,” “We coted them on the way,” “Start not so wildly,” “I am tame, sir,” “We’ll e’en to it like French falconers,” and “When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Thirty years ago this analysis might have been the basis of an important, if localized, study—but that sort of book could never find a major publisher today. Here, it becomes a clever way of establishing what for Lewis is the play’s bass line:

    Whatever an individual might strive to believe, he always and only exists as a participant in a form of hunting—one in which he, like everyone else, is both predator and prey.
04 Feb 2018

“More Chic Than Cruel”

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Nice Adobe Spark essay on L’Equipage Mayennais, a French hunt that pursues wild boar with Anglo-French hounds. French hunting is “more chic than cruel.”

17 Aug 2017

Opening Day

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Zucchini Season

HT: Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

23 Jul 2017

27-Year-Old Catalan Huntress Blogger a Suicide

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Melania Capitán

You have to go down five Google pages to find an objective account, not sensationalistically identifying the young lady’s death as a fearful response to threats from animal activists or as an expression of guilt for hunting.

You-Blog Club:

A hunter and well-known Spanish blogger died in an apparent suicide this week, amid claims she was the target of online abuse from animal rights activists.

Melania Capitan, 27, was found dead at a farm in Huesca on Wednesday, the Guardia Civil said. She reportedly shot herself with a rifle, and left a suicide note, el Mundo reports.

Capitan was known for sharing her hunting lifestyle with her 36,000 Facebook and 8,700 Instagram followers.

She was a passionate hunter, and defended her actions online, posting pictures to Instagram of her posing with guns beside dead deer. Her controversial lifestyle reportedly garnered abuse and threats from animal rights activists.

Since her death, a number of people have posted cruel comments on her Facebook page, with one saying she “thankfully she killed herself, the only good thing she’s done lately.”

El Mundo quotes a close friend of Capitan’s saying she died by suicide, and that it was not related to the threats she received online. “For personal problems, not for the insults she received in social networks,” the unnamed friend is cited as saying.

“It is a lie that has been said that she committed suicide because of the threats because she was a very brave woman, very strong, a fighter,” she said, adding, “in all social networks, people have done a lot of harm to her and they continue to do so. Take action on this, this should be punished.”

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Roy Tingle for the Dail Mail typically milks the threats from Animal Rights Activists angle.

A female hunter has been found dead after apparently committing suicide weeks after she was reportedly threatened on social media by animal rights activists.

Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers.

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life.

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself.

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends.

This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online.

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her.

RTWT

11 Feb 2017

Now, There’s a Jump For You

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Sean McCavana, huntsman for the Holestone Farmers Bloodhounds Hunt Club of Counties Antrim & Tyrone, Northern Ireland takes a big one in grand style(Photograph by Marty Jagger Watson.)

04 Feb 2017

Best Political Speech in Years

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Classic Virginia. Delegate Matt C. Farris (R-Campbell) debates HB 1900, an anti-hunting bill which would impose a $100 fine per dog in cases in which hunting dogs stray onto a property where they are unwelcome. A Virginia fox hunt might go out with several dozen hounds, so you can imagine what a case of accidental trespass by a pack might cost.

No embed, FB link.

27 Jun 2016

Hunting From the Other Side

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CharlesFoster

Charles Foster is a modern incarnation of the madly eccentric British naturalist, traveller and explorer. He teaches Medical Law & Ethics at Oxford, is a Barrister, and is a qualified veterinary surgeon.

In his latest book, Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide, Foster has a go at living as a badger, an otter, an urban fox, a red deer and a swift. Frank Buckland would be proud.

Outside Magazine excerpts Foster’s account of being hunted, like a red deer, by one of Britain’s bloodhound packs.

I was behaving very much like a hunted deer. My adrenals were pumping out cortisol and adrenaline. The cortisol made me taut. (The next day its immunosuppressive effect threw open the drawbridge of my throat to an invading virus.) Blood was diverted from my gut to my legs. Though I was slumping from the effort, I’d stop from time to time, hold my head up high, and reflexively sniff. If I’d had mobile ears they’d have pricked and swiveled. Though I looked for water, as deer do, to cool me and to send my scent spiraling away, I ran on the driest ground I could find. I knew (from well before birth, rather than because I’d read books and watched hounds) that dry earth doesn’t hold scent well, or, if it holds it, hugs the particles close, leaving few for snuffling noses.

Unlike a deer, though, I longed to be out of the wood. It’s often very difficult for staghounds to push deer into the open. Sometimes it takes hours. The deer double back, lie flat in deep cover, and saber-rattlingly confront hounds rather than breaking out.

It would have made sense for me to stay in the wood. Scent bounces off trees like balls in a pinball machine and eddies like the dark, curd-coated corners of the East Lyn River. It’s hard for even the most educated nose to read it there. Out in the open, there’s a slime trail of scent through the grass. It points in the direction of the prey.

My preference for the open was therefore strange. I suppose we want to die where we’ve evolved, just as an overwhelming majority of people say that they’d prefer to die at home.

Read the whole thing.

What can I say other than: “Lieu in, hounds! Hunt him up! Tear him and eat him!”?

05 Jun 2016

Hunt Saboteur to Master of Hounds

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MilesCooper

The Yorkshire Post describes Miles Cooper’s conversion from Hunt Saboteur and League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) activist to Field Sports participant and finally Master of Hounds.

I know it would be more interesting to say I had a road to Damascus moment, but there were no blinding lights. It was much more of a gradual process. I was living in a market town in Oxfordshire and I came to know many of the farmers who lived there. I guess the more I talked to them, the more I began to question the anti-hunt stance. I spoke to sheep farmers who explained that hunts were a viable way of managing the fox population, that they were more humane than snaring and shooting. These weren’t people trying to twist my mind. They were people who had the countryside and its best interests in their blood. They were simply explaining their point of view and given their wealth of experience it was right for me to listen, to think and to challenge my own views.”

By the time a hunting ban became a serious prospect, Miles had decided that it wasn’t something that he could support. In April 2002, 13 years after going on his first protest he came out publicly as pro-hunting. “I suppose I could have gone quietly, but I decided that I should be open and honest, especially since I’d been so publically critical of hunting in the past so a press conference was organised at Westminster. Of course I had reservations and what I had to say went down like a lead balloon with former colleagues, but I’ve never had any regrets about doing it.” …

Over the intervening years Miles’s pro-hunting stance strengthened. So much so, he learned to ride and went out on his first hunt with the Warwickshire Hunt. He also breeds and works ferrets, shoots and hunts with his local pack of beagles.

“It felt a little surreal to begin with, but for me it was a natural next step,” he says by way of explanation. “Everything I have seen being part of the hunting world has only confirmed that the Government got it wrong and the current legislation isn’t fit for purpose. Take hares for instance: the law says it’s wrong to hunt a healthy hare but okay to hunt one which has been wounded first. It’s ridiculous, a nonsense and just downright perverse.”

Miles moved to Yorkshire for work – he’s a manager at York’s Askham Bryan College, the largest land-based college in England – but it’s also here where his conversion from hunt sab to hunt master was complete.

“A colleague showed me an advert in Countryman’s Weekly magazine which said that a new pack of bloodhounds was being set up in Yorkshire and that anyone interested in helping should get in contact. Not many people get to contribute to starting a hunt from scratch, so I thought what have I got to lose? The answer to that was all my spare time and some of my hair, but I’ve loved it.”

Miles admits that when he sees pictures of himself hunting, whether that be with the bloodhounds or out beagling, he occasionally has to do a double take, but he says he hopes his experience might help dent the long-lived stereotypes.

“Hunting isn’t a sport just for toffs. We are not a bunch of lords. Most people join a hunt because they love riding and sacrifice most other things in their life to pay for the upkeep of their horse. There is a real cross section of society in any hunt that you don’t get in a lot of places. I can tell you from first-hand experience that you don’t get wealthy being a hunt master. In fact, you just get older, greyer and poorer a whole lot quicker, but by God I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Read the whole thing.

All this goes to show that some people are capable of growth and education.

16 Apr 2016

Archibald Rutledge Turkey Call

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RutledgeTurkeyCall

Guyette & Deeter Auction, 22 April 2016, Lot 483, A turkey call hand-made circa 1950 by famous Outdoor Writer and Poet Laureate of South Carolina Archibald Rutledge.
Estimate: US $1,250.00 – US $1,750.00 — Opening Bid: $650.00

Archibald Rutledge was heir to Hampton Plantation, Poet Laureate of South Carolina, and the direct descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a governor of South Carolina, and a Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. He published numerous articles on hunting and the out-of-doors in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, and similar serial publications, as well as close to 40 books. He taught English for many years at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania.

archibald-rutledge
Archibald Rutledge, 1883-1973

30 Nov 2015

Taigans Versus Wolf

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Note that one of the hunters also has an eagle.

Hat tip to Sir Terence Clark.

21 Aug 2015

Teddy Roosevelt IV Defends Hunting

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President Theodore Roosevelt with lion

Theodore Roosevelt IV explains the crucial role played by hunting in animal conservation.

Cecil the Lion died during an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe, and that country is taking action to prosecute the wrongdoers and improve the implementation of its game laws. Why? It was the money that hunting brings into that trackless economy that funded the very park which kept Cecil safe for most of his life.

For my urban friends in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, trophy hunting is inconceivable and signing petitions to ban it seems like the very least they can do. It is the very least, and the very worst. Conservation does not advance anywhere without ensuring the well-being and support of the people closest to the resource.

Hunting is the necessary incentive that allows private landowners to expand territory for these animals beyond the limited acreage of national parks; it is the money that pays the salaries of the Africans on anti-poaching brigades; it is the money that compensates villagers for lost livestock in countries where rural hunger is a fact of life.

No species in modern times has been driven to extinction by sport hunting. With an unsustainable population growth rate in Africa for most species of 10 percent, hunting reduces that number by 2 percent.

Ecotourism does not replace hunting. Photo safaris are concentrated in national parks where there is a diversity of species; where there are lodges, roads or tracks, swimming pools, easier access, and most importantly, safety. Hunters support animal conservation where few others would venture.

Africans whom I know are incensed by the public outcry over Cecil, when there is no outcry about young children in Africa killed by lions, no outcry about the starvation still so prevalent, no outcry about the joblessness or hardship. It is for sovereign African nations to make and enforce their own game laws. Most do this voluntarily under the auspices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international organization.

Furthermore, Africans are following the North American model here. Hunting — including trophy hunting — was the wellspring for our own conservation and continues to be an important source of revenue for it.

Read the whole thing.

21 Apr 2015

Margarita’s Epitaph

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Peter Kruschwitz

Today, I had the immense pleasure of seeing one of my most favourite inscribed Latin poems – the epitaph for Margarita (‘Pearl’), a lap-dog, born in Gaul, deceased in second or third century Rome.

[T]his marble plaque… is preserved and on display in the British Museum in London (CIL VI 29896 cf. p. 3734 = CLE 1175; for the entry in the BM online database follow this link). …

On the right-hand side, there is a palm leaf incised as an element of decoration.

The inscription has been beautifully laid out (using aid lines) and carved – only in the penultimate letter of the final word tegit (‘covers’), the stone cutter originally made a mistake (writing teget instead of tegit, which he then tried to conceal by giving more emphasis to the I subsequently):

Unsurprisingly, this inscription has received a lot of scholarly attention.

Scholars and amateurs alike were taken by the affectionate way in which these Roman dog-owners (who remain nameless) talked about their pet. The allusion to the epitaph of the Roman poet Vergil in line 1 (Gallia me genuit, ‘Gaul sired me’, following the model of Mantua me genuit; see the learned article by Irene Frings on this topic [in German; available for free here]) was duly noted. …

The inscription, as I said, is a decent-sized marble-slab (61 x 50 cm), beautifully prepared and carved. Margarita was an imported animal from Gaul (it is unclear as to whether this is where her owners picked her up or whether they bought her in Rome as an imported animal). In addition to being a lap-dog, she served as a hound for animal hunts, roaming woods and hills.

In other words, she almost certainly was a costly, precious item owned by a wealthy aristocratic family – a family that would engage in pastimes such as hunting and keeping precious imported pets for display purposes. …

From The Petrified Muse via Ratak Monodosico.

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