Yesterday night, when I was looking through one of my previous blogs for an entry I had written on an accidental Swiss invasion, I found a blog entry that I wrote almost a decade ago in part of my ongoing series on memes  that dealt with duck hunting . It must be freely admitted that I have never been hunting before. I have among my circle of friends and acquaintances a wide variety of people who are successful and avid hunters, some with crossbows, some with black powder rifles, and some with more substantial arms. Admittedly, the thought of getting up early and sitting quiet and still for hours at a time in a blind, camouflaged so that one’s appearance and scent does not scare away game, in the hope that a deer or some other animal will be foolish enough to pause within range, is not the most appealing thought, especially given that the hours of stillness that would be required for even the chance to kill a buck would likely cost at least a book’s worth of reading, which is a far more comfortable and pleasant and productive use of time given my limitations in poor vision and general lack of stillness. Nevertheless, despite my own lack of skill and lack of practice in hunting, I find the different memes relating to hunting of great interest, and hope that I may be considered a reasonably fair judge of the debating pictures about hunting that exist.
When it comes to hunting memes, there are very stark differences in the contents of those memes based on whether someone is for or against hunting, and many of the arguments made seem to talk past each other. Most pro-hunting memes, for example, make an appeal to hunting as a sign of masculinity by seeking to unman those who do not engage in the practice, or claim the superiority of hunters to those who take selfies with duck faces, or who do vegetarians a favor by killing those who eat their fruits and vegetables, namely deer, or use their hunting skills as a way to acquire groceries. Most of these memes come with a sense of humor, including the occasional taunting of deer when it is out of season or when someone has missed, or where a deer is portrayed as driving around with a person on the deer rack on top of the vehicle. Anti-hunting memes, on the other hand, tend to be a great deal more earnest and critical and focus their ire on trophy hunting, while most pro-hunting memes deal with the hunting of animals that can actually be consumed as meat, like deer and ducks. Anti-hunting memes focus on the brutality of big game hunters and the lack of legitimacy of hunting often endangered and noble animals wastefully, pointing out their friendliness with giraffes, to give but one example.
This incidence of people talking past each other is notable problem that has larger implications. Those who are opposed to hunting express their opposition to the most objectionable kinds of hunting, where rare animals are being hunted as trophies to be turned into photos for bragging rights or taxidermist samples, sometimes taking place on illegal hunts by privileged big game hunters who see the killing of other creatures for sport as a way to demonstrate their own strength and prowess and virility. This sort of behavior is indefensible, but is only a small part of what hunting is about. Significantly, those who express their opposition to hunting are silent about the arguments for legitimate hunting—the usefulness of some animals as protein sources, and the worth of culling animals in danger of overpopulation, as part of a balanced system of active herd management. On the contrary, those who support hunting appear to appeal to the feeling of strength and confidence one gets from taking the lives of other creatures as well as the use of those animals for food. Neither side addresses the real concerns of others—the enjoyment of an activity on its own terms, the dubious moral value of feeling stronger and more capable and more “manly” as a result of killing, as well as the importance of hunting as a worthwhile source of food, especially for those in rural contexts.
At this point, it would be fair to note that I take it for granted that these are decisions for human beings to undertake. After all, the dominion mandate, found first in Genesis 1:26-28, gives mankind clear authority to manage and subdue creation as the stewards of God, and with the responsibility for managing the earth well: “”Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Mankind rules over creation by divine right, because we are created in God’s image. To be sure, we are not the ultimate rulers, as we are all subject to God and accountable for how we act, but we are rulers over creation and have offices of leadership with regards to creation simply by virtue of our identity as human beings.
This ultimate legitimacy of hunting, and of mankind’s management of nature for the benefit and use and enjoyment of mankind in the larger sphere, has serious consequences. It should be noted, for one, in contrast to the behavior of many elites through history, that this authority is not vested in some humans and not to others, but rather it is granted to humanity as humanity. It should also be noted that the population control methods that are popular in some parts of the world and at some periods in history, especially as enforced by governments against their people or against other peoples  are immoral because they treat human beings like herd animals to be culled by governments or elites who are placed in the position of God. There is no such division within mankind that legitimizes this behavior. Indeed, the legitimacy of rule over nature is not something given to some men and not others, or to men only and not to women also, but something given to all humankind, as varied as the management and ruling over earth is depending on a wide variety of factors. To be sure, not all may be equally skilled, but the responsibility both of filling the earth and of ruling over it belongs to mankind. What remains is for us to do it well and to do it wisely. Sadly, memes are a poor guide for this wisdom, as amusing and thought-provoking as they may be, because they do not bring us into genuine communication about what is at stake, and they presuppose the legitimacy of the perspective that they represent, and do not lay their assumptions out on the table openly and honestly, so that they may be questioned and brought into discussion and debate.
 See, for example:
 See, for example:
 See, for example: