How’s [MeatEater] different from, say, Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild?
I don’t know Bear Grylls but the title of his show implies an adversarial relationship to the wild. I don’t think that the point of being in the wilderness is to get out as quickly as humanly possible. In the woods I find things that are spiritual, redemptive, and worthy of contemplation. I don’t run around thinking, Holy shit! Watch out! And I don’t smear mud all over my face.
Will it be important for your son to hunt and fish? What if he hates it?
Obviously I’d love for him to enjoy hunting and fishing. But that’s not a requisite for my love. I keep telling my wife that I hope he’s either a hardcore hunter or a ballet dancer. It’s the middle ground, stuff like soccer, that makes me nervous.
What do you say to people who think hunting is cruel and gross?
It depends on where the person’s coming from. If they eat meat, I ask them to explain and justify the circumstances that put flesh on their table. It’s hypocritical to call a hunter cruel if you go to the store and buy chicken or beef or bacon. Someone killed those animals, and just because you’re ignorant of the details of how they were killed doesn’t make it somehow better. In my mind, it’s far more ethical to take responsibility for the killing that your meals require. Doing so leads to a much greater appreciation for the resources that we consume. On the other hand, if the person asking the question is vegan, I tell them that I understand their perspective. Hunting does involve death and blood and some amount of suffering. There’s no hiding that. Thinking of this leads me to an honest question that I’ve been wondering about: Do anti-hunters think that chimps and dolphins and wolves should all quit hunting, or just us humans?