A Hunter's Confession

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-08-23
  • Publisher: Greystone Books
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Winner of the Saskatchewan Book Award for Best Book of the Year and now available in paperback, A Hunter's Confessiontells the story of hunting-both its history and the role it has played in David Carpenter's own life, including the reasons he once loved it and the dramatic hunting incident that made him give up hunting for good. Winding through this narrative is Carpenter's exploration of the history of hunting, subsistence hunting versus hunting for sport, trophy hunting, and the meaning of the hunt for those who have written about it most eloquently. Are wild creatures somehow our property? How is the sport hunter different from the hunter who must kill game to survive? Is there some bridge that might connect Aboriginal to non-Aboriginal hunters? Carpenterponders questions like these as he describes what hunting has meant to him and to others throughout history and in our own time. Carpenterbeautifully evokes the sensual pleasure of holding a gun, the inherent spirituality among hunters, the intense relationship between the animals and their pursuers, and the transcendent joy of hunting. Finally, he conveys poignantly how for him animals have been transformed from objects of hunting to objects of wonder.

Author Biography

David Carpenter is the author of several books of fiction and two non-fiction books, Fishing in the West and Writing Home. He has won two Canadian Magazine Awards and two Western Magazine Awards for his essays. He lives and writes in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
That Good Old Timep. 5
Skulking through the Bushesp. 34
The Forest Primevalp. 57
The Dawning of Ambivalencep. 74
Throwbacksp. 98
The Return of Artemisp. 117
The Last Great Hunterp. 136
Pleasurep. 165
Bloodp. 184
The Wildp. 207
Sourcesp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


PrefaceI have two reasons for writing this book. The first is personal. A friend of mine from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a poet named Robert Currie, has been campaigning for many years for me to write a memoir. In this cause, he has been more persistent than a brigade of telemarketers. Every time I let down my guard, he would leap out from behind a bush or a dumpster and pummel me with the same entreaty. "Carpenter, you should really write a memoir." "I'm too young, Currie," I used to say. Or, once older, "I'm too busy, Currie." Or, "Currie, why don't you write a bloody memoir?" So I'm writing this memoir to get Currie off my back. The second reason goes back to an incident that happened to me in 1995, which I have recounted in some detail in an earlier book entitled Courting Saskatchewan. In my account of this incident, which occurred up in the bush, I wrote about goose-hunting rituals in Saskatchewan. Some years later, my publisher, Rob Sanders (himself a former hunter), suggested that I write a longer book entirely about hunting-its culture, its history, its adherents and detractors, its rise and fall as a form of recreation and as a means of subsistence-a book in which these subjects might be shaped, to some extent, from my own experiences of hunting. That original incident that I had up in the bush is recounted once again,but in much less detail. It seems that I could not write A Hunter's Confession without reflecting upon the incident that triggered it. This book is filled from beginning to end with hunting stories, primarily from the United States and Canada. It recounts many a hunt from my own life and many stories from the lives of hunters mightier than I. I have written down the reasons I loved hunting, the reasons I defend it, and the reasons I criticize it. More than a memoir, then, A Hunter's Confession is a serious book about hunting in North America. I cannot help but notice a curious congruence between my experience of hunting and the trends we see among hunters all over this continent.But it's still a memoir. If I appear to show a preference for the less than competent side of my adventures and spend little time on my prowess as a nimrod, it's largely because I've known the real thing: hunters who know what they're doing in the field and whose intimacy with the habitat and the animals themselves has turned into a great abiding love for and fascination with these creatures.If you're still with me, but skeptical, you might be wondering, If these guys love the animals as they claim, why do they kill them? I might not answer this question to your satisfaction, but I promise that, as the story unfolds, I will never wander too far from it. I would like to come out of this process with a good answer for idea if you were to write a book-length verse epistle on accounting practices in ancient Carthage. Better get started. Time waits for no man.

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