This isn't a book review as such, as I haven't read it yet, but I'm intrigued to dig deeper into the pages of Hunting: Philosophy for Everyone, edited by Nathan Kowalsky.
It promises a "thought provoking collection of new essays from across the academic and non-academic spectrum that move far beyond familiar arguments and debates about hunting".
The foreword, by David Petersen (the outdoor writer, not the cartoonist) is a masterpiece in itself. Here's a taster:
As hunters, much is revealed about us by the tools we choose to carry afield, the strategies we employ to bring game to bag, the ethics we embrace or ignore in seeking success, how we define hunting "success", and how we talk about it.
Once he gets into his stride, Petersen takes a powerful swipe at those who use modern technology as a substitute for patience and fieldcraft:
Finding such traditional values as woodmanship too slow and unreliable, too many of today's dilettante sportsmen are eagerly co-opted by advertising to take such ethically bankrupt shortcuts as motorized decoys, electronic game calls, map-friendly GPS units, cell and satellite telephones, night vision optics... To true hunters and the concerned non-hunting public, this stinky garbage - as grotesquely acted out on TV's "outdoor" channels - is embarrassingly pathetic, leaving us to ask: "What's the point? Why even bother to do a thing when there's so much cheating and self-delusion..."
Strong stuff, but a point that increasingly worries some of the people I most respect and look up to. I look forward to delving into the body of the book, in the hope of understanding better.
And as I prepare to set off for the CLA Game Fair, where Gunmakers Row will be alive with "motorized decoys, electronic game calls and night vision optics," it's a timely wake-up call. I shall view the stands and their wares in a different light.
And I shall certainly be looking for more writing by David Petersen.