Hunting and Writing: Not That Far Apart

Hunting, I predict, will be the next hipster activity. Having taken to carving their own meat, mixing handcrafted cocktails, and growing mustaches, I expect that a bunch of skinny-jeaners are going to join me afield in the coming years.

Yesterday, hunter and writer Steven Rinella wrote about how he is both a serious writer and a big game hunter, a combo to which I also aspire:

Writers are motivated by a sense of exclusivity, by their conviction that they possess unique knowledge and insight. As I bounced between the primal brutality of the mountains and the civilized brutality of writing workshops, I began to understand what separated my ideas about the world from those of my peers. As I followed the path of the hunter, my worldview had become colored by ever-present conflict: the conflict between predator and prey, the conflict of practicing an ancient discipline while living an otherwise modern life, the even more perplexing conflict between the hunter’s love for his quarry and his desire to kill it. If anyone doubts the artistic validity of these ethical and spiritual conundrums, consider that some of the oldest known paintings on earth were created by Paleolithic Europeans who ventured into caves some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago to create beautiful renderings of the same species that they killed. [Read the rest: Kill Your Darlings –]

Last year, the NYT profiled Rinella and other young hunter-writers.

Right now, I am neck-deep in a book manuscript that is due at the end of the year. I’m also scouting duck and pheasant hunting opportunities — waterfowl opener is two months from yesterday! I’m getting Albert in shape for the hunting season, envying gear that I wish I could afford, and listening as ducks quack overhead at the cabin.

Rinella is right, hunting and writing are akin to one another. Each requires extraordinary patience and persistence. And each is, in my experience lonely. Not bad lonely, but lonely.

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  • Tony, are you implying that being a hipster is a bad thing? I’m just curious because only within the past ten years has hipsterism been equated with silliness. However throughout history being a hipster meant being on the pulse of progression and change, and it was never a disparaging term. Why does it seem to be that now?

    This is how I look at the whole thing: there is a massive resurgence is DIY right now, whether it is being done by hipsters or not. Made in the USA goods, hunting, foraging, farming, etc., are things that people are getting more and more interested in. Whether it is adopted by the hipster community or not, I think it is a great thing to be resurrected. People are beginning to acknowledge where their food comes from, they are beginning to acknowledge how good clothing or household items are made, and paying more money for things made with love and craftsmanship.

    I think there are two distinct types of hipsters: the ones attempting to have an interest in old world, well made and DIY, versus the people labeled as hipsters who have always been into what is currently labeled “hip.”

    My fiance wears Pendleton shirts and uses cast iron and hunts and cures his own meat and has a beard and likes to farm. He also has always been interested in these things. So he’s a hipster, right? So am I, yea?

    For us this isn’t a fad, it’s a way of life. So I suppose all I’m saying is that yea, maybe hipsters will get into hunting for a while. But at the end of the day, if it takes being hip to get into hunting (what I believe is the most ethical way to source your meat), I say more power to the hipsters.

    • Actually, I totally agree, Briana. Power to the hipsters is right!

  • Nathan McC

    I’m just getting into Duck and Goose hunting this season (and no I’m not a hipster). I remember reading that you make a mean Duck sausage and was wondering if you want to share that recipe sometime. Also if you are ever up in Saskatchewan Canada you have a place to stay close by some great Duck hunting.

    • How about you invite me up to hunt, and I’ll show you how to make sausage? 🙂

  • jason mitchell

    I’m working on a short story called: On Mitchell Pond

  • I’m going Dove hunting for the first time this year. I am also not a hipster.

  • Ric Shewell

    you guys fall into the hipster paradox by claiming to not be a hipster.