Hunter as Naturalist: An Oxymoron?

Were Teddy Roosevelt, John James Audubon and many others among our most prominent early wildlife conservationists hypocrites because they were also hunters? Or perhaps the ancient, natural act of hunting was what first awakened in them a love of nature? In this excerpt from his book “Racks: A Natural History of Antlers and the Animals That Wear Them,” accomplished hunter and nature writer David Petersen explores the ethics of hunting and what we can do to establish a stronger moral code among all ranks of hunters. When those who hunt hold themselves to standards of hard work, respect and compassion, Petersen contends, the seeming fissure between the hunter and the wildlife conservationist slips away, revealing a person with a deep reverence for nature and for the symbiotic relationship between predator and prey.

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