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HEART OF HOME by Ted Kerasote

HEART OF HOME

People, Wildlife, Place

By Ted Kerasote

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-679-45012-2
Publisher: Villard

 Kerasote's acclaimed Bloodties (1993) contrasted trophy and subsistence hunting; these essays stake out a middle ground between those poles, posing hard questions about the ethics of hunting and fishing practiced by America's ``recreational'' outdoorsmen. Though a columnist for Sports Afield, Kerasote loathes the image of rugged danger promoted by sporting mags. His outdoor adventures--hunting elk at home in Wyoming's Gros Ventres or chasing exotic trout while climbing mountains from the Himalayas to Patagonia--aim for something between extremes. As a boy he sought ``a niche between Theodore and John'' (Theodore Roosevelt, great white hunter and father of the conservation or ``wise-use'' ethic, and John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and the preservation or ``no-use'' ethic); as a man he seeks a place between ``the far left of the animal welfare movement which wants to eradicate all fishing and hunting, and the far right of the hunting community, which wants to circle the wagons and defend all of it.'' He finds his ground by taking a wide view of our role in nature, a perspective that goes so far as to reject the standard division of matter into sentient and nonsentient. Where that leads him--toward questioning the morality of catch-and-release fishing (because increasing scientific evidence suggests fish feel pain) and apologizing to rocks and dead pines displaced by his cabin--may seem kooky to some. But his tough questions make it clear that everyone, vegetarians included, has a stake in death, and the questions are too fundamental and too-long unasked to dismiss. Kerasote's clear-eyed inquiry into the ethics of hunting and fishing, and, more importantly, the prescriptions he offers for saving those activities from overzealousness, is everything good outdoor writing should be: rigorous, thoughtful, free of sentiment but open to natural beauty, considerate of the sporting tradition but unstinting in its examination of the sustainability of current practices.