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I think it’s essential to understand and reflect on the viewpoints of people that you don’t necessarily agree with, so I spend a fair amount of time considering the various perspectives of anti-hunters. What I find is that, in general, anti-hunters are suspicious or downright dismissive of the reasons that most hunters give as their motivation for hunting. They reject the notion that hunters hunt for reasons of food, cultural continuity, and a love for the outdoors. Instead, they argue that most hunters don’t actually use the meat, and that they kill animals in order to prove their manliness and to get their jollies.

The idea that hunters don’t utilize game meat puzzles me, because it makes me wonder what exactly my wife and I have been eating for dinner every night. The argument about proving our manliness is much more interesting to me, as it actually has some historical validity. Hunting has served as a rite of passage for men and boys (and sometimes women) in many cultures around the world for thousands and thousands of years; it is an important form of knowledge, and it’s no surprise that successful hunters are honored and respected by their peers.

The jollies argument is much less interesting, for the simple fact that it’s so silly. Think of it from a standpoint of practicality: if hunters really did get their jollies by killing animals, why would we go through the hassle of trying to find wild and unpredictable game animals under sometimes exceedingly difficult environmental circumstances when we could just volunteer at the Humane Society and kill a few dozen dogs and cats in an afternoon, or else get a job at an Iowa slaughterhouse and kill a couple hundred cattle a day in air-conditioned comfort?