I find that a lot of the issues surrounding animal rights nowadays are pretty polarizing.  On one side, we have organizations like PETA that grab headlines with crazy stunts.  On the other hand, we have people like Ted Nugent screaming about how many animals he mercilessly slayed.

I find that the vegans are preaching to the vegan choir, and the hunting, consumptive users are preaching to Ted Nugent.

And, with that scenario, it is impossible to make any progress.

Johnathan Safran Foer, in his book Eating Animals laid out an extraordinary story about a vegan that helped build a slaughterhouse.  Basically this vegan wanted the ability to help build and design an ethical(ish) slaughterhouse.  This viewpoint is similar to my personal objective on hunting.

1. Global Veganism just ain’t happenin.

Do I wish that tomorrow, the World would be vegan?  Yes. Absolutely. We would very quickly improve a lot of the health issueswe all face, as well as make inroads on curing hunger, and potentially reverse climate change, as well as countless other benefits.

But we all know that just about will not happen.  So, once we can accept that, we need to ask ourselves the next question.

If the World isn’t vegan, what is the next best moral position?

I always figure that if a hunter can go into the wild, and humanely harvest a mature, legal animal, that is okay.  If that hunter can use that animal to feed his family for a long time, that too is okay.  But if the taking and eating of that wild animal prevents that family from buying mass-produced, factory-farmed meat, than that is great!

That single moose may keep 10 cattle from unimaginable living conditions.

Therefore, to me, that is the better moral position.

2. It’s closer to the natural order

Have humans hunted animals forever? Who knows...pass the soy jerky.
Have humans hunted animals forever? Who knows…pass the soy jerky.

I was not around in the paleo days.  I don’t really know if our ancestors ate mastodon or maize-tofu burgers with a sweet chili glaze.

But I do know this, if you yourself hike into the wilderness, humanely take an animal, field dress it, hike it all out, and prepare that grass-fed, humanely-raised meat – that is how it should be.

If you are going to eat meat, this just seems like the way to go.

3.  It’s better for people and the animals too

Mass-produced beef today is pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and other goodies.  Cancerous meat is sold for human consumption.  The list goes on and on with ways that modern meat is full of junk that people should not be eating.


Wild animals are much healthier.

And, this means less demand on CAFOs for animal-sourced protein which in turn makes it better for the cows/pigs/etc.  Might not be so good for the deer in the crosshairs, but if the hunter is legal and ethical, the deer’s days were probably numbered anyway, given the rise of healthy wolf and other predator populations.

4. On Trophy Hunting, Trapping, Bear Baiting and Exotic Sport hunts

I lived in Alaska for about five years.  That place was magical in just about every conceivable way.  The hardest part of living there?  Animals are regarded pretty poorly by the “consumptive” crowd.

It is one of only two states (Maine being the other) that allows bear baiting – the act of deliberately leaving out piles of food and sweets to attract bears, while the hunter “window shops” and finally shoots the one he or she wants.

Common bear bait station.
Common bear bait station.

It is a state where you can shoot wolves and bears out of airplanes.  It is a state where you can place leg hold traps right on the side of public hiking trails.

These are just a fraction of the backwards policies on animal use in Alaska.

If you hunt only for the trophy (typically antlers or a head to mount on the wall) you are a pretty shitty person.

Yeah, I said it.   It is one thing if you take an animal and respect it, and consume it in a way that prevents the suffering of other animals.  It’s another thing entirely if you take an animal just to have it’s head hanging on your wall, or it’s hide beneath your feet.

That is the line this vegan takes on hunting.  If it is needed to feed you and your family, or if you choose that meat as a healthier alternative AND you harvest the animal in a humane manner, I am OK with that.

If you take the animal just for something to look at, than that is completely wrong.  Or, if you hunt animals in other countries, ticking off some weird passport of exotic animals, that is completely wrong too.

I have never dreamt of punching someone so hard before.
I have never dreamt of punching someone so hard before.

You may remember the above story that went viral last Summer.  It was a great example of what I am talking about.  This type of hunting is just plain stupid and wasteful, and if I was a hunter I would be outraged.  People like the Texas Cheerleader are making you all look like crazy people.

So, in closing yes I support hunting.  But only with a focus on being ethical and legal, and only if the meat is for consumption not some stupid rack on your living room wall.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!



  1. Unless you’re native to northern Greenland, or some such place where you can’t gather plants or grow crops, I won’t look the other way when it comes to hunting.

    An astonishing number of species are being hunted around the world for bushmeat, as a recent article in Smithsonian magazine shows. ( If this is “necessary” to feed growing human populations, then something needs to be done about human population growth.

    Humans really don’t need meat in order to thrive, and in fact, we’re better off without it. ( And there are so many humans that if a substantial number of omnivores starts eschewing factory farmed meat in order to hunt, the resulting situation will not be sustainable, as the Smithsonian article demonstrates.

    The original definition of vegan commits us to the opposition to all uses of animals (, including hunting. When it comes to our species’ relationship to nature, animals are here with us, not for us. The fact that most will continue to eat meat in spite of our ideals and commitment merely demonstrates that the struggle to end the exploitation of animals by humans is a very long term one and that it is in its beginning stages.

    I am a former US Army Infantry NCO, now living in Mexico. Our situation here is dangerous and unpredictable, and my only legal weapon is my Glock 42, though I also have a .357 and a Winchester Model 94. A few friends have attempted to make excuses for me, saying, “They’re for hunting, though, right?” They are astonished when I state emphatically that I don’t kill animals. I’m also a hiker, but don’t carry on US treks only because I don’t take my guns across the border, so in bear country, I’m limited to bear spray and other precautions, and I can only hope my luck holds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment. And I think you and I are in closer alignment than you may think. I personally agree that animals are with us not for us. But at the same time, do you think the world will be vegan tomorrow? If the answer is ‘no” then ask yourself what is the next best option? Is if factory farming with hormones, etc? Or for people to hunt and more closely mirror the natural order?


      1. I agree that we largely agree, and I make it clear that I am painfully aware that widespread veganism is a long way off, this being a long term struggle that is just beginning. By clinging to the original definition of veganism, of course I believe factory farming to be the greater evil, especially compared to hunting. So, though hunting is preferable, I cannot support it. Especially in light of the “overhunting” that is taking place in many parts of the world. Hunting is one of many activities that lead me to sigh and lament the era I was destined to live in: an animal holocaust and a polarized and understrength opposition. In most circumstances, making a great personal sacrifice for the greater cause would serve no purpose today. Therefore, if I ever come across rabbit or deer hunters while hiking in Mexico with my G42 within reach, I will definitely leave them be and perhaps even muster a greeting. I cannot say the same about any poachers I might encounter, and it is a good thing, in light of my desire to reach a ripe old age, that I don’t live in the land of Wildlife Services and coyote-killing contests, because the day I encounter something like that will definitely be my last.

        By the way, I’m Rene, the guy who left a comment on your Facebook page yesterday. I wish I could make it up to Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is my favorite part of the world. And in case there is any doubt, you are my kind of vegans. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.


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