Pheasant Hunting and Fatherhood

9 November 2009

It was interesting to see my son’s reaction to a pheasant I had shot.  There it was: a fully-feathered, colorful bird, wrapped in an orange Hy-Vee plastic bag.  My son, who has seen animals only in the context of dog parks and zoos, literally took several steps back.  He wasn’t recoiling in horror so much as discomfort with something totally alien.  After I made a joke and started laughing, he reluctantly took a feather offered to him.

Admittedly, I’m not sure how to teach my son about hunting.  I believe it is a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment.  I also believe that hunting, if not taught properly, can promote a cult of violence.  How, in a world where hunting isn’t necessary for survival, does a father teach his son to enjoy the sport without justifying it through bloodlust?


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