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Violence, or my fear of it, once stood at the root of my distaste for hunting. The voluntary taking of life seemed unjustifiable, cruel, and aggressive. I won’t say I have come to complete peace on this. But I do know now that only a person entirely separated from society can truly be consistent in this regard. We all participate in the harvesting of animals through our consumption of grocery products and our use of medicines and other products. Hunting is an honest - perhaps the most honest – approach to living naturally. Nature is not a nonviolent place. And hunters, I have learned, often care deeply about the pain they inflict and I’ve never met one that would prolong it.

There is a cultural aspect to the hunting/non-hunting perspective that I cannot ignore. There are class and intellectual divides that complicate the issue, and fuel mutual antipathy. People like my husband – raised both on the land and in a city, educated and still deeply connected to his working-class roots – these people confound the stereotypes and illustrate the true diversity of people that comprise the sportsperson’s creed. I dare say I now represent a hybrid type of supporter, as well.

Being a hunter’s wife, while still keeping the friends I had and the family I was born to, isn’t simple. I cannot expect my peers to completely understand: the gap between non-hunters and hunters is quite wide and there is little middle ground. And although our family’s interest in hunting brings us into contact with a wider range of people, I do not always fit in. I may have come into the hunting world but I am not of it. I was not brought up among hunters, and did not learn about it from my adults I admire, as Mark did. There are comfort levels and inside jokes best saved for the hereditary hunter, just as any convert would defer to the life-long congregant of a faith.

We all know the anti-hunting profile. Like all stereotypes, it has just enough truth to authenticate the prejudice. Single women with cats in city apartments writing letters to the editor. The archetypical drunken hunters killing each other off in comical outfits are just as flawed an image. The truth of each lies somewhere in-between. If it didn’t, I could not maintain the dual sympathies, and criticisms, in my own mind without going mad.

My husband raises our son and daughter in the worlds he feels at ease in. On the shooting range, and at his mother’s table he brings them naturally into his world. For me our children suffer the lecture hall and my lectures with equal ease. They need not convert, nor choose one parent over another at some future date. These children make of old traditions a greater whole.
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