The following is a guest post from BHA member Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore. CO BHA will be hosting a discussion of his book in Boulder on May 30 and in Denver on June 3 (details below).
During my decade as a vegan, I found hunting nearly incomprehensible. Why on earth would someone voluntarily participate in such a pursuit, heading to woods or fields armed with the intent to kill a wild animal?
After a decade as a hunter, my understandings have shifted. Hunting calls me to the woods, into the quiet of many a frosty November dawn where I sit, watching for birds and listening for deer. Hunting brings me face to face with mortality, with the fact that my life is sustained by death, whether through predation or agriculture. When my luck is good, hunting stocks our freezer with healthy, free-range meat, destined for stews in winter and salads in summer.
Hunting also reminds me that we are not merely on the earth, but of it. And it reminds of me our responsibility to care for the world of which we are part.
Here in Vermont, backcountry tends to be small: a friend’s hundred-acre woodlot where an upland wetland lies nestled between two ridges, or the few thousand acres of timberland stretching out behind our house, or Groton State Forest beyond that. But the spirit that motivates people here—hunters, anglers, birders, hikers, and environmentalists of all kinds, who care deeply about the future of this beloved landscape—is the same spirit that motivates people in western places where backcountry is bigger. So I am glad to be a BHA member.
And I am glad to be headed to Colorado at the end of May. There, I’ll be leading two discussions related to my book The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance. Having made the journey from anti-hunting vegan to omnivorous hunter, I enjoy opportunities like these: to talk with people on all sides of the issues, to bridge the sometimes-substantial gaps.
If you live near Boulder or Denver, I hope you’ll join me for a discussion. It will be good to meet more fellow BHA members.