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A Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport Paperback – September 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805055304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805055306
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The collection of essays about hunting catches the eye at first for noted authors who turn up among its many contributors: from Peter Matthiesson is a beautifully written account of whaling in Greenland; Thomas McGuane offers vignettes about hunting in Montana; and novelist Jim Harrison writes a moving piece about poachers. But beyond the contributions by big names are many other thoughtful essays, including a controversial piece on bear hunting techniques that led the resignation of the two top editors at Outdoor Life magazine when the magazine's publisher spiked the article. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

These 41 essays, some written especially for this collection, are all by people who hunt or have hunted, and each considers the ethics involved "in a spirit more of soul-searching explication than defensive rebuttal." The editor's intent is to encourage understanding among nonhunters and to raise the consciousness of hunters as well. There are big names here?Edward Abbey, A.B. Guthrie Jr., Jimmy Carter, Thomas McGuane, Jim Fergus, and Ted Kerasote among them. Most write of the West and about deer; some talk about a nearly spiritual experience; some berate slob hunters who hurt the cause; many are environmentally knowledgeable; some, such as Stephen Bordio and Barry Lopez, are eloquent and lyrical; and some have turned away from hunting. If folks who don't hunt or those who are against hunting are willing to dip into this, they might take a step toward much-needed dialog and understanding. Public libraries everywhere could use this book to encourage such beginnings.?Roland C. Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Neil Beltran on July 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a hunter I've always marveled at how joy and sadness can dwell in the same moment, that moment when you reach out - with gun or bow or spear - and take the life of a wild creature. But there are many hunters who don't notice or care, and who treat this most awesome and mysterious thing as a sport like golf or car racing. The best part of "A Hunter's Heart" was spending time, so to speak, with others who see more and deeper things in hunting, and who can express it more vividly and truthfully than I have been able to. Each story is beautiful and eloquent and impactful in its own way. I reread the book often, enjoying it more each time, which is the best compliment I can give.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I could not think of a title for my review. I don't write many and find Amazon's 5 star system constraining. This book is extraordinarily good. The title will, unfortunately, be off-putting to some. If one could choose another title, I would suggest: A compendium of almost four-dozen essays written by men and women about their love and passion for wildlife and conservation. It is so much more than a book about hunting, that one cannot describe it simply. Further, what is equally astounding is the fact that the "collector," David Petersen, was able to obtain such a wonderful robust collection.
If one expects this to be a book merely about hunting, that expectation is wrong. If one expects this to be essays written only by undereducated, good old boys-"slob hunters"-who relish ambushing Bambi from a truck that is wrong. If your expectation is that all the essays will be unambiguously pro-hunting or gun sport, you are "off the mark." Fairly, Nelson, in his introduction says," In the United States, hunters are probably the largest, most diverse, and most important potential advocates for preservation of natural habitats and protection of wild animal populations." That remark comes close.
I believe that many city folk have so lost touch with wild life that they now believe that hunting is something akin to a video game using live ammunition. That a hunter would relish spending an entire day tracking game, and not succeed seems antithetical to their purpose for some. After reading these essays, one understands why the writers deem the day a success, something very special; e.g., "I began to realize that what I like best about hunting was the companionship of a few good old trusted buddies in the out-of-doors.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
What a teffific book. Each chapter is written by different authors expressing their opinions on hunting practices, ethics, and why we hunt. Very thought provoking and insightful.From high-tech equipment to baiting,this book gives the reader many different viewpoints of hunting to look at and ponder.I have read many chapters numerous times and given copies of this book to several friends. Dan Teets- Mission Viejo, Ca.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Govind Seshadri on July 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am not a hunter. I bought this book out of an intellectual curiousity of what it is that drives some people to kill and enjoy the pursuit of killing. The essays within - while plain spoken, well written and introspective - tend to be repetitive around some common themes:

1) It is no less ethical to hunt your own food than to buy meat in a supermarket
2) In nature, very few animals die of old age anyway
3) Humans are genetically programmed to hunt; hunters are just following their inner, atavistic calling
4) City folk who disdain any type of hunting are hypocritical and should pay a visit to their local slaughterhouse
5) Hunters actually love the animals they kill

I am compelled to agree with most of the above reasoning, although #5 is a tough act to follow. That said, where the essays fail is in their inability to confront the irresponsible hunters who kill just for the thrill of it. There is no mention of the moral deficiency of those "hunters" who kill not for the meat, but for the bragging rights of having shot a (mostly tame) lion or (farm raised) trophy ungulate. Likewise, the authors carefully avoid taking on the barbarism of "sports" like fox hunting. It's almost like these good hunters are ashamed of all those black sheep lurking within their fraternity, although not without good reason. All that said, this is nonetheless a good read that can be enjoyed by all thinking people - hunters and non-hunters alike.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Summit Hunter on July 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent collection of essays. The essays are honest, forthcoming, and thoughtful. I enjoy hunting not as a "sport" but as an activity that simply transcends sport. I love the environment, and perhaps this is why hunting is not merely sport to me. This work by Mr. Petersen is rare because it reflects the fact that many hunters do, in fact, love the environment and wildlife more than they love the hunt.

A few of the hunter-authors featured in Mr. Petersen's work don't hunt anymore, because they (like many sportsmen and sportswomen) have reached the "limiting out" phase of hunting, when a hunter no longer cares so much about bagging game, but cares mostly about the teaching of ethics and conservation to a younger generation of hunters. But when you read their essays, you can feel how much they loved the hunt and how much hunting taught them about the need for healthy ecosystems. On the other hand, some of these essays were written by active hunters. If you are a hunter, these essays will make your heart swell with anticipation for your next hunt.

Contrary to the review posted earlier by Mr. Seshadri, this book directly confronts irresponsible hunters. Admittedly, a few hunters do not love the environment and wildlife. Several of the essays confront unethical hunting practices head-on, including the use of overwhelming modern technology in the pursuit of trophy animals. Likewise, one essay condemns the use of live animals merely for target practice, undoutedly refering to the hunting of predators such as coyotes and wolves. Yes, this work is very honest. You get the good and the bad.

I am a 4th generation deer and elk hunter from the Rocky Mountains, and I think this book is a must-read for all hunters.
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