I am the last remaining feather you plucked from the throat of the last eagle, to prove your paltry manhood. I am still here; where are you? Marcia Bona Bowen

At twelve years old I went to watch the chase, in truth to glimpse my first love crush. She was my Goddess Diana of the hunt, majestic on her steed. Reality invited me, as spurs set them forth to go hunting; and I hurt for what she was and I was not, and what could never be. Daniel Vine
It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them. Samuel Johnson

When man calls an animal “vicious”, he usually means that it will attempt to defend itself when he tries to kill it. James A Clark

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire writes of her final visit to her sister, writer Nancy Mitford: “I sat in silence near her, and after a while she stirred and opened her eyes. “Is there anything, anything I can do?” I asked her.  “No, nothing,” she said. I just wish I could have one more day’s hunting.”

Sadness overwhelms me when I hear the huntsman’s bugle. Roderick Blake

The English country gentleman galloping after a fox; the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable. Oscar Wilde

Animal custodian Kevin Richardson recounts that, during a dinner a woman once told him, “I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t believe in keeping animals for meat.” “That’s a very nice leather strap you have on your watch,” I said to her, then lifted the tablecloth to take a peek underneath. “And you have nice leather shoes as well. I’ll bet you have leather seats in your car. Do you think it’s wrong to farm cows for meat, but right to kill them for their skins?” “That’s irrelevant!” she said. Quote from: Part of the Pride: My life among the big cats of Africa by Kevin Richardson

War, hunting, and love have a thousand pains and one pleasure. John Dower

Some years before becoming an actor, Errol Flynn was hired to hunt birds of paradise. In his autobiography he recounts: “Our guns began going to work on them. We made the jungle ring with a foreign sound. Down came the birds: the boys went and got them, brought them back to camp, cooked some on hot stones, ate them and preserved the rest in salt. Ladies’ hats throughout the world would glow and flutter like the slowly waving of coral reefs in the South Seas. … The shape and design of this bird is beautiful: a small head, a slender, delicate neck, and a leaf-like blade coming down to a blaze of color into the body, then a long, orange tail that is as long as the body. Quote source: My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn

There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast. Charles Dickens

Often adults fail to realize the impact their “jokes” have on children. Aware that my favorite book was Bambi by Felix Salten, one uncle who liked to hunt found it entertaining to make me cry by saying, “I was the one who shot and killed Bambi’s mother.”  Two decades later, with children of my own the age I was when so taunted, I find it all but impossible to remain in a room where a film is being shown involving the hunting of any animal. Colette Farris

Ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s father was in the Russian army during Rudolf’s formative years. Having returned from the war, in an effort to create a connection between them, this father rushed the young Rudolf into his ideal of emotional kinship between men. As this closeness centered on hunting, on their first male-only excursion together, he took Rudolf shooting, apparently hoping to win his admiration by showing him a gun presented to him in recognition of his military dexterity. … According to Nureyev, “Suddenly I saw a woodpecker that scared me, and ducks flying in and out. I started to say, Papa, Papa, and Mama, Mama.”  His father, having left him by himself in the forest for some moments, laughed when he came back and heard all the wailing, deciding he needed to teach this 8-year-old a good deal more about the true meaning of manhood. Quote attributed to: Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanagh

The creatures that want to live a life of their own, we call wild. If wild, then no matter how harmless, we treat them as outlaws, and those of us who are specially well brought up shoot them for fun. Clarence Day

Recounting his boyhood use of a BB air-gun, a writer recounts: “For a while I shot dusty beer cans out of rocks, leaves hanging still on a branch…. But I wanted to kill something; I wanted to aim my rifle at something alive and make it dead.” Then, having killed a blackbird: “I looked down at the bird. There was no blood, and I couldn't see where the BB had entered, but the bird lay on its back, its dead eyes open, its grey beak pointing up at me like an accusation. I felt queasy. Quote ascribed to,Townie: a Memoir by Andre Dubus III.

On Sundays, the bulls get so bored when they are asked to drop dead for us. The sword will plunge down and the mob will drool; the blood will pour down and turn the sand to mud. … And when finally they fell, did not the bulls dream of some hell where men and worn-out matadors still burn? Or perhaps with their last breaths, might not they pardon us their deaths, knowing what we did at Carthage, Waterloo, Verdun, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima, Saigon? Source: The Bulls by Jacques Brel

Man is the hunter; women are the game; those sleek and shining creatures of the chase. We hunt them for the beauty of their skins; they love us for it, and we ride them down. Alfred Lord Tennyson

When I read of the possible annihilation of the elephant or the whale, or the pouring of oven-cleaner or cosmetics into the eyes of live kittens, or the close confinement of pigs and calves in lightless pens, I feel myself confronted by human stupidity which I recognize as an enemy. …The connection between stupidity and cruelty is a close one. If you subject this chimp or this dog to these given experiences of shock or mutilation or sensory deprivation, it will exhibit just the responses any fool could have predicted. No claim of usefulness for human application is made-only requests for further funding. Quote source: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

It is alligator hunting season down south, and at random, 50 of our own will be granted permission to grab themselves an alligator. … The gator must be at least 4 feet long, and it must be captured alive, and restrained in a manner so that the alligator is controlled. … I didn't dwell on the sanctioned names for dispatching the animal. Is it no longer politically correct to call it killing? Quoted in: Fat is the New Thirty by Jill Connors Browne 

I have no doubt that it is part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave of eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized. Thoreau

American frontiersman Daniel Boone was given his first rifle at the age of twelve. Believing formal education irrelevant for boys, his father is said to have stated, “Let the girls do the spelling and Dan can do the shooting.” It was customary for hunters at that time to commemorate their successes by carving their names and achievements on cave walls and trees. Thus, one such inscription reads: "D. Boon killed a bar 1803.” 

The author of a memoir, Letters from Prison, often reached a profound level of understanding of the lives of inmates, via both correspondence and face-to-face meetings.  One of these prisoners recounted the consequences of having been given a hunting rifle on the day he turned twelve: “I barely felt the recoil, but I saw a sudden burst of feathers on the path, through the scope.  I lowered the rifle slowly, standing still for a long time.  Finally I walked up to it and picked it up.  There was no sign of blood, but the tiny body was so limp I knew the bird was dead.” I could not believe how light the bird was, how insubstantial it seemed in death.” He ended by saying that was the last time he killed an animal. Source: Letters From Prison by Shawn Thompson

During a time in South Africa when the elephant population was being reduced due to governmental policy, conservationists David and Daphne Sheldrick found the methods horrific.  Having paralyzed the elephant via shooting it with a paralyzing drug, they were then shot in the brain.  Ms. Sheldrick recounts: We were stunned at the distressing images of panic-stricken calves crying for help from adult elephants incapable of movement.  Calves that might be able to survive without milk were then captured for subsequent sale to circuses or zoos.  The fully milk-dependent, tiny calves were often the last to be slaughtered, but at least they were spared a lifetime of suffering and bondage in far-off lands where animal welfare was apparently still a very alien concept. Source: Love, Life and Elephants by Daphne Sheldrick

Historical Overview about hunting.  

Given our current mores, it is hard to fathom the fact that less than fifty years ago, a room bedecked with heads of dear, moose, grouse and other such powerful animals bedecked the homes of the wealthy. (Doubtless this practice continues today within some spheres, but has grown far less commonplace.) Within this upper middle-class home, Racks of prestigious rifles might be displayed with equal pride and complacency beside the heads of slaughtered prey.
The lady of such a home would, in all likelihood, own furs and animal skins in various forms. Indeed, the more exotic the source, the more esteemed would be its wearer. Thus, the fur of a mink or the feathers of a bird of paradise were of higher social currency than rabbit fur or plumes stripped from an ostrich.
We cannot gauge at what point in history humankind began allowing hunting to degenerate from a quest for nutritional sustenance into the adrenaline-boosting joy of the chase. The goal became the triumph of seeing the prey killed, perhaps beaten to the ground almost as much by exhaustion as by the final onslaught of hounds or that ultimate gunshot.  Various types of animal exploitation have occurred throughout human history. When we see films depicting Roman gladiators battling, literally for survival, against lunging lions, it is easy to forget that those beasts had been deliberately starved to a point where their innate ferocity had become rendered ravenous. 

Later, the Elizabethans, including the queen herself, seems to have savored watching cock fights and bear-baiting as they did in the stage enactments of Shakespeare’s most magnificent plays. Bull-fights, a branch of the same brand of torment, enthralled the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Ernest Hemingway  Despite his having soldiered in WWI, and being wounded, much of his most respected work centers upon the killing of animals, often via hunting or bull-fighting. One finishes such a book with a sense of Hemingway’s view of the zeal and ability to succeed in killing an animal as symbolic of manhood.
In recent decades, our society as a whole has viewed itself as opposed to violence against animals, unless necessitated by self-defense. Still, in 1996, an eleven-year-old boy, dying of a brain tumor, chose as his last wish the opportunity to shoot and kill a bear. Upon the release of this request to the media, the press and public became appalled. How could a child, they asked, especially one doomed to die almost before his life had begun, desire its final act to be the destruction of a wild, innocent animal?
Tempting as it might be to believe that this tumor distorted this boy’s brain function to the point of benumbing his sense of compassion and mercy, we cannot feel sure. Instead, we are forced to question whether harmful societal values, sublimated as they might be, have been inculcated into the psycho-social wiring of the upcoming generation. If so, it is frightening. 

Animal Cruelty

A long-time worker for the RSPCA recounts his first experience of viewing the abuse of an animal: “At the end of a short chain the dog had a collar of plastic binder twine wrapped twice around its neck, which had obviously been in place for some time. It had cut some three quarters of an inch into the neck muscles, causing a puss-ridden, suppurating wound that circled the throat and right round the back of the neck. In places the twine was invisible, buried under scab and dead tissue an inch wide.”
Source: A Seal Pup in my Bath by Steve Greenhalgh

A dog owner describes his initial view, at his veterinarian’s office, of the dog who would soon become a part of his family: The dog was a visual oxymoron: the right side of him was adorable, but the left side of his face was all flamingo-pink scar tissue. … His head appeared swollen, distorted.  His right ear was flopped over itself.  His left ear was a jagged stump of flesh, a thumb’s width high. The back of his lower left lip drooped below his jawline. … Dr. Peters said, “He was used as bait for a fighting-dog. That’s how they teach them to fight. They’ll use anything they can get: poodles, cats, strays, pet-nappers, “free to good home” ads.” He shrugged resignedly. Source: Oogy:  The dog only a family could love. Laurence Levin

Alexander Gettler, viewed by many as the father of toxicology, deployed animals as a part of his experiments into the effects of cyanide. Four dogs became the subjects of one of these tests; Gettler justified their deaths as vital to the understanding of the effect of this poison upon human beings.  According to one account, two dogs received doses of potassium cyanide through a stomach tube; the others were forced to inhale hydrogen cyanide.  The latter two were strapped to an operating table with their jaws taped shut.  A cone-shaped mask would be placed over a dog’s nose and mouth, taped in place, then sealed with Vaseline to make it airtight.  Once the mask was fixed, hydrogen cyanide gas would be pumped into the cone until the dog died. Source: The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York by Deborah Blum 

The society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (RSPCA) was founded back in 1824 in a London coffee house, and was the first animal protection society in the world. … It became the “Royal Society” in 1840 when Queen Victoria acknowledged its good work. At that time it was widely accepted that the owner of an animal had the right to do as they pleased with it. Quote source: A Seal Pup in my Bath by Steven Greenhalgh

Actor Roger Moore, renowned for his role as James Bond, recounts in his memoir, My Word is my Bond:
“I was in a barn with a couple of other boys, when we saw a swallow nesting in the rafters. In a moment of complete madness, (I can think of no other reason), I threw a stone and the bird fell dead to the ground. This had such a profound effect on me that, as a consequence, I am completely opposed to any type of blood sport whatsoever where animals are injured or killed.  I loath hunting and shooting.