Tovar’s life, work, and education have been shaped by the intersection of human values and the natural world.
Following an outdoorsy boyhood, he ended up in New York City for two years: an experience that cured him of anti-urban prejudice but did not entice him to stay.
Returning to rural life, he worked as a carpenter. Then, having handled umpteen thousand board-feet of lumber and having burned dozens of cords of firewood, he bought a chain saw and took his ecological values for an enlightening walk in the woods, apprenticing with a forester-logger.
A few years later—having returned to omnivory after a decade as a vegan—Tovar took his dietary ethics for a walk in the woods as well, deer rifle in hand. This strange turn of events led to a short published essay: his first step out of the closet as a hunter.
His essays and articles have appeared in Outdoor America, Aeon, High Country News, Utne Reader, Northern Woodlands, and many other places. The Mindful Carnivore is his first book.
In 2009, Tovar was awarded a graduate school fellowship to study communication at UMass-Amherst, where his MA thesis explored what he calls “adult-onset hunting.” His PhD dissertation examined Ojibwe and Euro-American hunting communities’ ways of talking about wolves.
He has consulted, spoken, and led seminars for dozens of wildlife agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions, and has been interviewed by diverse media, from NRA News to Sierra Club Radio, Gaiam TV, Swedish TV, BBC, CBC, and NPR.
Tovar serves on the board of Orion-The Hunter’s Institute and is a founding board member of the New England Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. He was honored to be an Aldo and Estella Leopold Resident for 2015.
He lives in Vermont with his wife Catherine and an eclectic mix of cookbooks.