FoodRewildingWild Mind

Is Compassionate Hunting Possible? (Controversial Video)

By October 21, 2014 10 Comments

Hunting is a very controversial topic. With more people than ever before moving towards plant based vegetarian and vegan diets as an environmental, ethical, and health focused choice, hunting is being frowned upon as a cruel and unnecessary act. Is it right to say that ALL hunting is cruel and unnecessary?

The reality is that all of our distant ancestors were hunters, gatherers, and fishers. We would not be alive today if it were not for their skillful methods of harvesting wild foods from their local ecosystem, and that meant animals too and insects too, not just plants.

Then agriculture happened… which is a whole other topic for another blog post.

I believe that hunting can be done in a beautiful and respectful way, but that isn’t the case for how most hunting is done today. It may not be necessary to eat animals to survive in this day and age, but hunting seems to be an important part of reconnecting to our natural origins.

Certain methods of hunting require a strong connection to nature, and a great understanding of the prey being hunted and it’s natural patterns and habitat. Compare that to meat bought in the grocery store… Most people have no knowledge about the animals they are eating or where the meat came from and how it was produced.

The same goes for fruits and vegetables… Do you know much about your head of lettuce? Unless you grew it and picked it yourself, your relationship with that food is almost non-existent.  Wild foraging and at the very least, gardening, helps us develop a deep respect for our food…and The Earth that it comes from. The same applies to hunting for those who chose to eat animals. If you want to eat it, you should grow it, gather it, or hunt it yourself. This is something that is missing from our modern society and is a critical part of the Rewilding process.

Whether you hunt or not, and whether you eat meat or not “Who We Are” is a beautifully filmed video on respectful hunting that is shot in the stunning Northern Canadian Wilderness and is sure to make you feel something.

What does it make you feel? Do you think compassionate hunting is possible?

Watch the video below and tell us in the comments.


Author Kevin Park

Kevin is the Co-Visionary of We Are Wildness with his partner Alissa Wild. He is also Co-Director of We Are Wildness University and the Nature Based Business Network. He's a certified personal trainer and is passionate about teaching natural fitness, natural nutrition, helping other nature-based businesses and living a more nature-connected lifestyle.

More posts by Kevin Park
  • jami green

    Absolutely NO excuse for trophy or predator hunting. Wildlife has diminished by HALF of their populations from 20 years ago. It is shameful to continue blasting away at what is left. Yep, a vegetarian. No need for me to “buy it on the shelf” or hunt it. Because I have Every Idea what it takes to have it. Especially for the animals.

    • willo

      I have no issue with you having an opinion. I do have issue with you stating UNTRUE infomation. Check your ‘FACTS’.

  • Wes Gietz

    I hunted for over 50 years. During that time I came to know that animals give themselves to respectful hunters, as they do to other animals. For me there is no difference spiritually between killing a carrot and killing a deer. As an animal, I must kill to live. I love life and those who allow their lives to end so mine can continue. This video, and the man who made it, tell a good and important story about a depth of connection that is unknown to most humans. Well done.
    Btw, the claim that wildlife has diminished by half is not supported at all by factual information. For example, there are more deer now than for many decades in the past, to the point where they are becoming dangerous simply because of population pressure that forces them into urban areas. I know the same to be true of black bears, coyotes, and wolves.

  • Simon

    Absolutely. I’ve recently attained my license here in BC, Canada and although I’ve yet to kill anything, which I know will be hard, I look forward to participating in this part of the life cycle and helping bring educated ethical hunting back into the equation for sustainable living. There are many unethical hunters out there and this can change if more people are educated about ethical hunting. Keep in mind that hunters and license fees, fund wildlife preservation far more than any other organization in North America. I’m not into trophy hunting or catch and release fishing.

  • Marigold7

    No matter how good a hunter you are, there will always be the occasion when you cause extreme pain. I live in the middle of a hunting for sport area and I abhorr what goes on, the meat is buried in the ground if they can be bothered, usually the thousands of birds and animals are left to rot. I can see that the man in the film does appreciate the beauty around him in those wild places but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that he kills. Hunters will always justify what they do somehow. There is also the issue of meat eating in general, the world is covered in corn fields, the products do not feed us as they should do, they feed billions of cattle. If we stopped or reduced our meat consumption across the board there would be no world hunger. The danger would then be that people would start on the wildlife by the hundreds of thousands and eat that to extinction as we have been known to do in the past. What is the answer, there isn’t one simple one but reducing meat products and increasing the vegetable proteins would be a step in the right direction; simple. As a species if we are to live on this planet for centuries longer we all need to address the way we look after our planet but hunting would go underground if it was banned. In a way the billions of animals bred in disgusting conditions to feed the billions enable the hunters to do what they do. Personally I could never be responsible for that beautiful connection and light in an animal’s eyes to be extinguished. They have as much right to live as we do.

  • Moz

    I don’t think hunting is compassionate at all. You’re killing an animal, there’s no compassion besides us trying to lessening their suffering. But I’m a human being, we’re going to think about silly things like that, we have life and survival easy compared to wild predators. Any predator out in the wild isn’t thinking about compassion, they’re thinking about survival. Yes, they might go for as quick a kill as possible (which usually means less pain) but they do that so they lessen their own chance of injury or others taking their food.

    I’m also researching and looking really hard on the subject that humans probably don’t even require meat in their diets at all. So many people thrive without meats or animal products, even coming from a whole food diet with meat. But if someone decides they are no longer going to buy store bought meats, I would agree, that is a much better way to go, as long as they’re educated about it.
    This guy said people ask him, “How can you be a hunter in modern times when you can just go to the grocery store and buy meat?” Well I’d like to ask those in the meat industry, “How can you be a meat farmer who subjects animals to unnecessary pain, suffering and mistreatment, by the thousands?” It’s surprising how many people are so afraid of hunting when if you just look past your own supermarket, you’d see all of the unnecessary death that happens every day. Those kinds of people should be questioned. And those kinds of people should be looked upon and something should be done about how the majority of people get their food.

  • CJC

    I have to be honest and say that I only watched half of this video. I was put off during the first few minutes when he said that hunting was something he “has to do.” Why? Is he starving? Is his family starving? No? Then he really doesn’t *have* to do it, and everything he said after that sounded just like a justification for an addiction. “It’s an awesome experience to kill a bull like this.” WTF? Kill seems like the key word here, for him. I could do every single thing he does… be in shape, layer my clothes, blah, blah, blah – but I could do everything he does, with a camera. I wouldn’t have wild meat on my table afterwards, but I would have beautiful photos of beautiful wild animals. I DO have the ability to know where my food is from and how it’s raised. So does he. In reality, I am not opposed to hunting – but for survival only. Compassion would be a quick kill, and reverence for the innocent life you just took.

  • Aaron

    I think the title is a bit disjointed from the article/video. Even in the message that the subject in the video is presenting (although I’m don’t think his purpose was to explain compassionate hunting, so much as why he hunts). When I read the title of compassionate hunting, I immediately thought of the idea of compassion for the animal that you have just killed. Rather, the article and the movie talked more about what hunting does for the self, as opposed to how I respect the animal I have just taken.

    As a hunter and enrolled member of a Tribe here in New Mexico – it always has interested me this idea of compassionate hunting. In our traditions and practices, there is great respect that is shown for the animal that is killed. So much so that immediately after the animal is killed it is presented gifts (various precious stones or other important items). The animal is literally brought into the home of the hunter where the family gather to welcome and pay the respects for the animals sacrifice. The animal’s sacrifice is celebrated in community dinner where extended family and friends gather to share a meal of the animal.

    Granted, I’m not saying that the article and video topic is any less important or relevant (I’m not expecting you guys to bust out and create traditions from your respective beliefs). Much of the same feelings about hunting are shared by me. However, I’m curious as to that final step. We know what hunting does for you. What do you do for that which you have just hunted? That is what compassionate hunting is all about.

  • Tori

    I agree with Wes. I know there are many people out there who hunt with the utmost respect of the animal. And of course there is a risk that something could go wrong, and the animal ends up suffering. Also, I do believe there are people out there who rely on hunting for food, whether it’s because it is cheaper (you get access to the entire animal and much more meat, when at the grocery store you have to pay for just a small package of meat), or because you live far away from the nearest store.

  • Derrick Jensen wrote, “At issue here is not the killing of animals: life feeds off life. It always has and always will. At issue here is respect, and relationship. One reason indigenous cultures do not kill their landbases is that they recognize and participate in the fundamental predator/prey relationship: when you consume the flesh of another, you take responsibility for the continuation of the other’s community.”