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Blood on My Hands: An Ecology of Hunting

Gerard H. Cox

Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-145752-232-1
List Price: 16.95
Category: Nonfiction
Edition: Perfectbound

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Shocked by how bloody my hands were after field-dressing my first big game, an antelope, I knew only that this blood involved something mysterious. What did it mean that I felt marked by that blood? And why did I keep thinking about that blood the rest of the day and keep dreaming about it that night? To answer these questions, I began the process of discovery that resulted in Blood on My Hands: the Ecology of Hunting. Topics include how our culture overvalues life and fears death, how we can kill “such beautiful wild animals,” what is faulty about the arguments for animal rights, how DNA relates us to other life forms, the social importance of feasting and story-telling, and the need to begin rewilding the world by restoring habitat.
Blood on My Hands differs from all previous books on hunting because it is the first to treat hunting as an ecological act; it differs from all previous books on ecology because it is the first to insist on a definition of ecology that includes ourselves within it. With this shift, hunting becomes an ecological act. Such an ecological view of hunting enables us to rediscover the radical elements of being fully human: consuming together the gifts of the game, celebrating the cycle of life amidst death by feasting and storytelling, and, by something more than metaphor, becoming what we eat. Becoming mindful of our relation to other life forms in turn can help us stop being the most invasive and destructive species on earth and become the one that begins cleaning up the mess we have made.

From the age of twelve on, Gerard Cox has pursued both intellectual and outdoor experiences. After receiving a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from Stanford University, Gerard Cox earned tenure as an English professor at the University of Washington, publishing essays on writers like Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton. Moving to Ithaca, NY, he became a college dean at Cornell University, where he also taught expository writing and mentored graduate student teachers. A nearly life-long bird shooter, fly fisherman, and backcountry skier, Cox took up hunting for game fifteen years ago, discovering that it gave him a new and more profound sense of being in the woods as a part of nature, not just as an eco-tourist taking in the sights. Realizing that hunting is an ecological act, he felt compelled to write Blood on My Hands: the Ecology of Hunting. Gerard Cox often hunts with one of the flintlock muzzleloaders he has made or one of the rifles he has reworked to be an extension of his hands. A NYS certified instructor in hunter safety, he has recently taken up traditional bow hunting. Cox respectfully butchers and carefully cooks the venison he is fortunate to harvest, giving thanks to the deer in feasts with family and friends.