Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"The Urban Deerslayer"

That's one of the headlines the New York Times has been using for this story, in today's Dining and Wine Section. Another headline is "Urbanites Explore the Primal Lure of Hunting." The story, which features a Charlottesville, Virginia dateline, is currently number 8 on's most emailed list. Here's an excerpt:

Jackson Landers, an insurance broker by day, teaches a course here called Deer Hunting for Locavores. Mr. Landers, 31, started the classes earlier this year for largely urban adults who, like him, did not grow up stalking prey but have gravitated to harvesting and cooking their own game.

He tailored his course to food-obsessed city people with lessons on deer biology, habitat and anatomy, and rounded out his students’ education with field trips to a firing range to practice shooting and a session on butchery and cooking.
Journalist Sean Patrick Farrell situates this trend amidst others associated with locavorism and self-provisioning: farmers' markets, back-yard gardens, and "country-fair pursuits" such as scratch baking and canning. (Speaking of baking and canning, read an earlier post about women's increasing interest in hunting here). Farrell also credits the loss of rural population as a cause for the decline in hunting. That means, I guess, that hunting is just one more great American tradition that urbanites are going to save and preserve for all of us.


Adam W said...

On a related note, a great blog for foodies, hunters, anglers, and everyone who's interested in how we procure and prepare our food should check out a great blog: Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook @

It's written by a Sacramento local who's engaged in the laborious (and interesting) endeavor of trying to grow, hunt, or locally acquire most, if not everything he eats.

Check it out!

Spec said...

Hmmm...difficult to know how I feel about this. I grew up hunting. If it ranged in the Pacific Northwest, my family hunted it. Deer, Elk, Bear, Antelope, Duck, Grouse...heck, my brother's even went squirrel hunting. I would also put fishing under the moniker of hunting and we did a lot of that as well. It's one thing to fantasize about being the rugged, rural individual who lives off the land (we ate everything we killed). It's another to actually kill another living thing, walk up to it while it is still dying, have to slit its throat, eviscerate it, and then cut it into quarters because it is too far to haul it back in one piece.
Apologize for the graphic nature but there is something to say for "civilization", we just have to decide what that is...

CityMouse said...

I agree with Spec. I think there is something to be said for civilization and not having to hunt what you eat or "figure out" how you're going to eat it locally. I think eating locally is awesome - but does that discriminate against urban people? In areas that import almost all their foods, you can't really hold it against them that they don't eat "locally" or primally.

I'm also a big fan of food=function. With all the politics, people wanting to eat locally, vegetarians v. vegans v. all organic v. fishetarians,'s exhausting. At some point we have to just remember that we need food for sustenance, and that a lot of our nation (and world) would be happy to eat Duck or Steak from no matter where it came.

camp said...

There is a real disconnect for me in the image of urbanites donning heavy plaids or camo and cleaning their rifles together before they head out on their macabre adventure. The whole enterprise has a gratuitous feel to it.
But then I catch myself - maybe they're not mere posers or they are posers but they're driven to move towards authenticity. Beginners are easy prey.
And for meat eaters in particular I respect that search for authenticity. There is something honorable in at least making the attempt to restore some reality to the food we each eat.
Spec's description is dead on and it is a process that is replicated, without nearly so much emotion or attention, more than 50 billion times each year in order to fulfill the collective wish for flesh on the plate.