American Hunter - June 2017 - 27

Population and Conservation Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
A Google search for "the psychology of hunting" finds many
articles claiming hunters are sadistic and/or psychopathic. One
writer claims all trophy hunters "are simply mentally ill and
derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt other living things, and
are even willing to expend extra effort to make another living
being suffer."3 Very few of the articles that claim hunters are crazy
are written by behavioral scientists who study humans.
It's possible some hunters are mentally ill, but not many.
One simple reason: In order to get a hunting license in the
United States and Canada, one must first pass a hunter education exam; the instructor may refuse to pass a person who
doesn't seem stable enough to be a safe hunter.
Some people oppose hunting because, they
say, it is cruel to animals, and so hunters must
be mentally disturbed sadists. Actually, a sadist
wouldn't want to kill animals quickly, as ethical hunters do, but rather would want to make
animals suffer. In contrast, many hunters offer
prayers of thanksgiving for animals taken.
Most prominent psychologists of the 20th
century agreed hunting is motivated by a natural instinct, and it's beneficial to mental health.
In his highly acclaimed study of human aggression, "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness," psychologist Erich Fromm wrote: "In the
act of hunting, the hunter returns to their natural state, becomes one with the animal, and is
freed from the burden of his existential split: to
be part of nature and to transcend it by virtue
of his consciousness. In stalking the animal he and the animal
become equals, even though man eventually shows his superiority by use of his weapons."
Consistent with Fromm, Yale sociologist Dr. Steven Kellert
and Amherst College professor Jan Dizard found the reasons
why people hunt are: to experience nature as a participant; to
feel an intimate, sensuous connection to place; to take responsibility for one's food; and to acknowledge kinship with wildlife.4
Psychiatrist Karl Menninger, M.D., wrote in his book, Sparks:
"Freud fearlessly explored the unconscious layers of the personality, and disclosed the fact that it is no more abnormal for a
human to want to kill (in hunting) than it is for a cat to want to
kill a mouse or a fox to kill a rabbit." According to Menninger's
daughter, Connie, her father was a hunter.
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung fished and hunted. See photos
of the two doing so at historacle.org/freud_jung.html.
Consulting search engines that index more than 400 professional anthropology, psychology and psychiatry journals, I found
nearly 300 articles that use the word "hunting." None of these
report any correlation between ethical hunters and psychopathology. Also, the research department of the American Psychological
Association told me they weren't aware of any scientific research to
support claims that hunters in general are prone to mental illness.
One of the few studies that portrays hunters negatively is
an article by sociologists Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald, published in the Journal of Visual Studies in 2003. They studied
photographs of hunters with trophies in 14 popular hunting

magazines, and reported: "Instead of love and respect for
nature and wildlife, we found extreme objectification and marginalization of animal bodies."5
That "research" is about their subjective personal opinions
of art. I'd guess if you did the same study you'd conclude these
hunters were just proud.
When criminologist Chris Eskridge compared hunting
license sales with violent crime rates on a county-by-county
basis nationwide, he found that as hunting license sales go up,
violent crime goes down.6
A major conclusion of the bestselling book The Paleolithic
Prescription (inspiration for the Paleo Diet), by Emory University
professors Boyd Eaton, M.D., anthropologist Majorie Shostak and
psychiatrist-anthropologist Melvin Konner, M.D., is that denial
of the hunting instinct can lead to psychopathology. They state: "Our 'hunting instinct' has gone
awry in 'civilized' society, where the thrill of the
chase and the kill are no longer part of our experience and there are no clear avenues of expression
except, perhaps to our peril, in the streets and subways of today's urban jungles."
Many anti-hunters are vegetarians. You may
hear a lot about vegetarianism, but the reality is
about 97-98 percent of Americans eat at least
some meat. Of those 2.5 percent who are vegetarians, only about .5 percent are vegans.
Vegetarian diets may be healthy for some
people, but in 2014 Dr. Hal Herzog, professor
of psychology at Western Carolina University,
reported 84 percent of vegetarians and 70 percent
of vegans return to eating at least some meat.7 He
reported 35 percent of vegetarians said declining health was the
main reason they did so.8
They are not alone. A Germany study compared 54 completely
vegetarian individuals and 190 predominantly vegetarian individuals with 3,972 non-vegetarians and found: "Vegetarians displayed
elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. The findings cannot be explained
by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians ... . However,
there was no evidence for a causal role of vegetarian diet in the
etiology of mental disorders."9 A similar study in Australia found
vegetarians were 18 percent more likely to report depression
and 28 percent more likely to suffer panic attacks and anxiety.10
So, if you encounter people who claim hunters are mentally
ill, smile and nod, and maybe diplomatically cite some of this
research. In doing so, you will support hunting and may help
those people improve their mental health. ah

Most
prominent
psychologists
of the 20th
century agreed
hunting is
motivated
by a natural
instinct, and
it's beneficial
to mental
health.

americanhunter.org ❘

FOOTNOTES
1) http://www.backcountrychronicles.
com/why-hunters-quit-hunting/
2) http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/
title_detail.php?titleid=2057
3) http://preventdisease.com/
news/15/073015_Trophy-HuntingExposing-Weakest-Mentally-Ill-Members-of-Society.shtml

6) http://www.upi.com/
Archives/1985/03/29/Studyhunting-offers-emotionalrelease/6786480920400/
7) https://www.psychologytoday.com/
blog/animals-and-us/201412/84-vegetarians-and-vegans-return-meat-why
8) http://posters.isaz.net/posterDisplay.
php?posterID=47

4) http://www.humansandnature.org/
hunting-jan-dizard

9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
articles/PMC3466124/

5) http://ecoculturalgroup.msu.edu/
Reading%20the%20Trophy%20
RVST_18_02_04.pdf

10) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/29/why-are-vegetarians-at-risk-of-heart-disease.aspx

27 ❘ june 2017


http://www.historacle.org/freud_jung.html http://www.upi.com/Archives/1985/03/29/Studyhunting-offers-emotionalrelease/6786480920400/ http://www.backcountrychronicles.com/why-hunters-quit-hunting/ http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=2057 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animals-and-us/201412/84-vegetarians-and-vegans-return-meat-why http://preventdisease.com/news/15/073015_Trophy-Hunting-Exposing-Weakest-Mentally-Ill-Members-of-Society.shtml http://posters.isaz.net/posterDisplay.php?posterID=47 http://www.humansandnature.org/hunting-jan-dizard http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/29/why-are-vegetarians-at-risk-of-heart-disease.aspx http://ecoculturalgroup.msu.edu/Reading%20the%20Trophy%20RVST_18_02_04.pdf http://www.americanhunter.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - June 2017

Contents
American Hunter - June 2017 - Cover1
American Hunter - June 2017 - Cover2
American Hunter - June 2017 - 1
American Hunter - June 2017 - Contents
American Hunter - June 2017 - 3
American Hunter - June 2017 - 4
American Hunter - June 2017 - 5
American Hunter - June 2017 - 6
American Hunter - June 2017 - 7
American Hunter - June 2017 - 8
American Hunter - June 2017 - 9
American Hunter - June 2017 - 10
American Hunter - June 2017 - 11
American Hunter - June 2017 - 12
American Hunter - June 2017 - 13
American Hunter - June 2017 - 14
American Hunter - June 2017 - 15
American Hunter - June 2017 - 16
American Hunter - June 2017 - 17
American Hunter - June 2017 - 18
American Hunter - June 2017 - 19
American Hunter - June 2017 - 20
American Hunter - June 2017 - 21
American Hunter - June 2017 - 22
American Hunter - June 2017 - 23
American Hunter - June 2017 - 24
American Hunter - June 2017 - 25
American Hunter - June 2017 - 26
American Hunter - June 2017 - 27
American Hunter - June 2017 - 28
American Hunter - June 2017 - 29
American Hunter - June 2017 - 30
American Hunter - June 2017 - 31
American Hunter - June 2017 - 32
American Hunter - June 2017 - 33
American Hunter - June 2017 - 34
American Hunter - June 2017 - 35
American Hunter - June 2017 - 36
American Hunter - June 2017 - 37
American Hunter - June 2017 - 38
American Hunter - June 2017 - 39
American Hunter - June 2017 - 40
American Hunter - June 2017 - 41
American Hunter - June 2017 - 42
American Hunter - June 2017 - 43
American Hunter - June 2017 - 44
American Hunter - June 2017 - 45
American Hunter - June 2017 - 46
American Hunter - June 2017 - 47
American Hunter - June 2017 - 48
American Hunter - June 2017 - 49
American Hunter - June 2017 - 50
American Hunter - June 2017 - 51
American Hunter - June 2017 - 52
American Hunter - June 2017 - 53
American Hunter - June 2017 - 54
American Hunter - June 2017 - 55
American Hunter - June 2017 - 56
American Hunter - June 2017 - 57
American Hunter - June 2017 - 58
American Hunter - June 2017 - 59
American Hunter - June 2017 - 60
American Hunter - June 2017 - 61
American Hunter - June 2017 - 62
American Hunter - June 2017 - 63
American Hunter - June 2017 - 64
American Hunter - June 2017 - 65
American Hunter - June 2017 - C1
American Hunter - June 2017 - C2
American Hunter - June 2017 - E1
American Hunter - June 2017 - E2
American Hunter - June 2017 - MW1
American Hunter - June 2017 - MW2
American Hunter - June 2017 - S1
American Hunter - June 2017 - S2
American Hunter - June 2017 - SW1
American Hunter - June 2017 - SW2
American Hunter - June 2017 - W1
American Hunter - June 2017 - W2
American Hunter - June 2017 - 68
American Hunter - June 2017 - 69
American Hunter - June 2017 - 70
American Hunter - June 2017 - 71
American Hunter - June 2017 - 72
American Hunter - June 2017 - 73
American Hunter - June 2017 - Cover4
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