View Full Version : Philosophical books on hunting

Jack Straw
August 24, 2001, 04:19 PM
I am looking for some books about hunting that are written from a philosophical point of view (as opposed to hunting skills, tactics or stories etc...). I have read James Swan's "In Defense of Hunting" and want more titles along the lines of his book. A few years ago, I remember reading a reiview in American Hunter; the author grew up hunting, turned away from it, became an animal rights advocate and finally found his way back into hunting. Does that ring a bell with anyone? If so, who and what is that? What about "Beyond Fair Chase" (author ???). How would you rate any of these books?


August 24, 2001, 06:05 PM
"Meditations on Hunting", Jose Ortega Y Gasset, is highly recommended.

Art Eatman
August 28, 2001, 12:44 PM
Concur on O. y G.

I recommend Ruark's "The Old Man And The Boy" and "The Old Man's Boy Grows Older". These are not philosophy books per se, but there's a ton of philosophy in them.


January 1, 2010, 05:49 PM
A Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport
by David Petersen

January 1, 2010, 06:02 PM
Another vote for anything by Ruark.
It has been a while...Something of Value,Use Enough Gun,Uhuru,

In one of these,Ruark offers,there are no kind,peaceful deaths at old age in nature.An old male lion will likely be eaten alive by hyenas.

He suggests a sudden ,instant end for an animal in it's prime is a bit like "It is a good day to die"

I think it was in Ruark,he was hunting down a very old,tired,elephant.

What may seem an unlikely place to look,the books of Karamojo Bell are worthy of a read.

Now,I do not suggest these hunters will spell it out for you,but they write well enough,and know themselves well enough,you can see through their eyes

My own philosophy:
Any gardner knows about home grown tomatoes.You don't find them at the Piggly Wiggly.Home grown tomatos have something else in them.Life.

Even a grain of wheat has Life stored in it.

The skinless,boneless,chicken breast n a tray,under plastic,,is far removed from death,and life.But,the part the farmer,or hunter knows,still occurs.It is just done by a hired gun,and is in the price per pound.

As a hunter looks over the beauty of his pheasant,or sits,looks over his deer,has some quiet moments before the knife comes out,there is an appreciation for Life,Death,our place in the Circle,and the giving thanks before a meal.

Some folks won't eat leftovers.I expect most hunters do.

January 1, 2010, 07:10 PM
Scroll down from this page: http://www.amazon.com/Hunters-Heart-Honest-Essays-Blood/dp/0805055304/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262390577&sr=8-1 to 'Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.' I usually find Amazon readers' reviews to be be useful as well.

January 1, 2010, 10:49 PM
It's more essays about nature in general, land use and ethics but the author was an avid hunter and fisherman. His descriptions of the natural world are poetic but they are true to the nature of wilderness and wild things. It has had a more profound effect on me than any book I have ever read.

A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold.

January 2, 2010, 06:12 AM
I recommend Ruark's "The Old Man And The Boy" and "The Old Man's Boy Grows Older". These are not philosophy books per se, but there's a ton of philosophy in them.

+1. Absolutely true. These are two books that I have read and reread more times that I can count. Worth being on any sportsman's bookshelf.

Smokey Joe
January 2, 2010, 01:29 PM
I'm surprised but pleased to find Locked CJ7's recommendation of Aldo Leopold's work. Leopold was a philosopher of the first order, in addition to being an excellent essayist, AND a scientist and an outstanding teacher.

He founded scientific game management in the U. S, almost by himself--today we'd call it wildlife management. His students went on to "spread the word" throughout the U. S, and today it is rare to find a wildlife biologist who doesn't have some Leopold in their background.

When I was in college Leopold was already dead (He died in 1948, fighting a brush fire on his neighbor's farm) but some of his immediate students had a profound effect on me--Fran Hammerstrom for one.

But as with Locked CJ7, Leopold's writing changed my life and outlook. He said a lot of things that I felt. During my teaching career I used some of his material in my classroom--"Thinking Like a Mountain" made my students go "Wow!"

Leopold is often overlooked as a philosopher, IMX, as well as being almost an unknown outside of the wildlife biology community.

Anyhow, Jack Straw, you couldn't do better IMNSHO, than reading A Sand County Almanac, for writing about the proper relationship between Man and Environment. Hunting of course included. And it won't be all sweet and touchy-feely--Leopold expected his readers to use their intelligence.

January 6, 2010, 04:04 AM
Two books w/ a Christian theme, but much good material on family as well are:
-A look at Life from a Deer Stand - Chapman
-Oudoor Insights,- Chapman

Another of my favorites is:
-The Old Pro Turkey Hunter-Gene Nunnery

There are lots of stories about the old days, country living and country people in this one, in addition to turkey hunting tales.