Why I Eat Wild Meat

A veteran hunter and nature writer shares his belief that traditional hunting of wild meat draws us closer to nature and is a physical and intellectual challenge that fulfills one of our fundamental instincts.

| February/March 2012

  • David Petersen Hunting
    Self-described "campfire philosopher" David Petersen is a former editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. He is the author of nine books, including the 20th anniversary edition of "Racks: A Natural History of Antlersand the Animals That Wear Them." David and his wife, Caroline, live in a self-built cabin in the Rocky Mountains, where they grow and hunt their food.
    PHOTO: DAVID PETERSEN
  • Bear Cubs Playing
    One of the great benefits of hunting, regardless of its outcome, is the opportunity to observe amazing wildlife and the beautiful natural world as you might otherwise never experience it.
    MINDEN PICTURES/MICHIO HOSHINO
  • Animal Paw Tracks
    Bear tracks in sand.
    DAVID PETERSEN
  • Buck In Nature
    Hunting wild game often affords the hunter the opportunity to see beautiful animals in a natural setting.
    GERALD TANG
  • Five Wild Turkeys
    Wild turkeys huddle up in the snow to stay warm.
    GERALD TANG
  • Hunting Arrows
    Hunting for your own dinner provides physical and mental exercise, plus some of the healthiest food on the planet.
    DAVID PETERSEN
  • David Petersen And Grandson
    Nature writer and veteran fisherman David Petersen shares the joys of fishing for your own dinner with his grandson, Robbie.
    CHRISTINE PETERSEN
  • David Petersen Rabbit
    The end of a successful hunt ... and the beginning of a clean, natural, "locally grown" meal.
    DAVID PETERSEN

  • David Petersen Hunting
  • Bear Cubs Playing
  • Animal Paw Tracks
  • Buck In Nature
  • Five Wild Turkeys
  • Hunting Arrows
  • David Petersen And Grandson
  • David Petersen Rabbit

David Petersen has a long history with MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. He is the former Western Editor, and built his Colorado cabin from an early set of our building plans for a pole barn. He first met Edward Abbey when he interviewed him for the magazine. Check out his 9 wonderful books at David Petersen Books. 


The out-of-doors is our true ancestral estate. For a mere five thousand years we have grubbed in the soil and laid brick upon brick to build the cities; but for a million years before that we lived the leisurely, free and adventurous life of hunters and gatherers. How can we pluck that deep root of feeling from the racial consciousness? Impossible!
— Edward Abbey
 

As one who makes no secret of his life preferences, I am often asked why I prefer to eat wild meat almost to the exclusion of domestic. It’s a fair question, to which I hope I have fair answers — beginning with health and nutrition.

By any comparison with the factory-produced, chemical-drenched, fat-laden pseudo-meat that too many Americans grow obese and sick from eating today, wild meat — fish, fowl or red — is brilliantly natural, inimitably healthy and morally superior. Wild game is the meat that made us human. Best of all, we must hunt in order to have it. The alleged “wild game” sold in some restaurants is in fact the comparatively flaccid flesh of captive wild animals and has the same culinary relationship to true wild meat as farmed salmon does to the genuine free-swimming creature.



And — this is my apologia — if we hunt with gratitude and reverence, we gradually acquire a personally meaningful love not only for the act of traditional hunting and the meat it procures, but for the animals we hunt as well.

Baloney, say hunting’s harshest critics. How can one who kills for “fun” feel compassion for his prey, the victims of the hunt?

MARKC
10/11/2013 10:52:05 PM

A really excellent article that puts the morality of hunting into a clear perspective with that of the inhumane way 'we' choose to raise our food in the indefensible factory farming system.If the respect and consideration David gives his prey was mirrored by those who mass produce our food the world would be a far better place. I'm really pleased to have stumbled on this article. Having recently read and enjoyed his 'ON THE WILD EDGE - In Search of a Natural Life' (my second reading of it in 3 months, which says something on just how good a book I think it is) it looks like I should invest in his 'HEARTSBLOOD - Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America' book which I guess this article is an extract from (or at least based upon). Not that I'm a hunter but I have a strong empathy with nature and animals and what and how he writes about these topics strikes a chord with me. More articles from David on MEN please!


8/9/2013 6:08:48 PM

The author makes a lot of good points about why we hunt and eat wild meat, but he is awfully judgmental of his fellow hunters. He's calling out the vast majority of hunters as "unethical" and "misguided". It's true, if I had the time and means to be successful at traditional bow hunting, I would. But those of us who don't write for a living have a very limited amount of time to devote to our chosen method of hunting and I don't think using a compound bow makes me less of a hunter.

As hunters we should be more concerned with encouraging and educating future generations and spend less time criticizing fellow law abiding sportsmen.


8/9/2013 12:38:56 PM

This is the best explanation or defense of hunting I have ever read.  I am going to print this out.







Mother-Earth-News-Fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.

LEARN MORE






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me