The spread of Adult-Onset Hunting™ (AOH) continues to worry experts.
As noted by this author a year ago—and discussed in his recent profile of three adult-onset hunters and his presentation on his thesis research—precursor conditions and potential warning signs are alarmingly diverse.
The suspected correlation between AOH and food co-op membership has, for instance, been confirmed. Last year, an introductory hunting class was offered at Madison, Wisconsin’s Willy Street Co-op. On February 23rd, another will be offered at the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis.
Of particular concern is a newly identified correlation between AOH and tree-hugging.
Consider the case of “tree-hugging former vegetarian” Christie Aschwanden. Though she is “almost universally opposed to killing things,” she feels strongly about the ethical value of taking responsibility for her food and about the gratitude and reverence that result. So she raises and kills her own poultry. Well aware that “killing is stressful, sad and difficult work,” she isn’t certain she will be able to shoot a deer or elk. But she intends to find out.
Consider the similar case of “tree-hugging wildlife lover” Emilene Ostlind. Though she isn’t sure she wants “to stalk and kill an animal – any animal,” she, too, wants to take responsibility for her food. As she sees it, hunting her own wild meat will bring her “face to face with the reality” of her eating and will also help her be “a good environmentalist” who lives “with as small a footprint as possible.”
Disturbingly, the correlation between hunting and tree-hugging may reach far beyond AOH. This author knows a lifelong hunter, born and raised in Georgia, who says, “I hug trees every day. And sometimes I shoot things out of them.” Likewise, lifelong hunter and wildlife ecology graduate student Karl Malcolm—who taught the aforementioned class in Madison—calls himself a “tree-hugging hunter.”
If this overlap of hunting and tree-hugging metastasizes in the American psyche, viewpoints might broaden. Hardening of the categories might be reversed. Hunters and non-hunters from across the political spectrum might form indomitable pro-conservation, pro-environment alliances.
Considering the dangers, experts are anxious to keep these outbreaks contained.
© 2012 Tovar Cerulli