Sunday, December 12, 2010

Provisioning or political posturing: Two views of hunting

Two news items about hunting last week sent entirely different messages about the past time, so I decided to juxtapose them here to make a couple of points: (1) many people--especially rural folk--do hunt not only for pleasure but also to feed their families and (2) some in media are apparently skeptical of this, or just find hunting yet another basis for ridiculing rural folks and their ways.

The first was this NPR story about girls and hunting. It features 15-year-old Magan Hebert of Waynesboro, Mississippi, population 5,197. She has been hunting since she was in fourth grade and just shot her first buck. Her father, we are told, "hunts every spare minute he can get." We are also told--and this is my focus for purposes of this post--that "[t]he family gets almost all the red meat it needs for a whole year during hunting season."

The second is this column by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, "Pass the Caribou Stew." In it, Dowd--in her haste to find something new to say about Sarah Palin--shows her ignorance of hunting, the people who do it, and the fact that the past time really does help hunters to feed their families. Dowd describes a recent episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which is apparently a television program featuring Palin engaged in various outdoor activities. After describing a hunting outing by Palin and her father in which the former vice presidential candidate kills a caribou, Dowd writes, initially quoting Palin from the television show:
“My dad has taught me that if you want to have wild, organic, healthy food,” [Palin] pontificated, “you’re gonna go out there and hunt yourself and fish yourself and you’re gonna fill up your freezer.” 

Does Palin really think the average housewife in Ohio who can’t pay her bills is going to load up on ammo, board two different planes, camp out for two nights with a film crew and shoot a caribou so she can feed her family organic food?
I suppose Dowd doesn't realize that people living in the fly-over states--or on the coasts for that matter--don't have to fly to Alaska to hunt and kill wildlife that will help them feed their families. Most of them can just head out to some nearby deer woods. And yes, people really do engage in these past times or sports to feed their families--even if the Sarah Palin television scenario was a bit contrived.
Read a recent Daily Yonder post about the culinary delights associated with deer hunting here. Read an earlier post about "Hunting as heritage" here.

1 comment:

Greg said...

An age old debate with two sides. Hunting will always be debated, and I think people will just have to agree to disagree. And if you want to come disagree with me, you'll find me in my deerstand.