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Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner
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Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  240 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When Lily Raff McCaulou traded in an indie film production career in New York for a reporting job in central Oregon, she never imagined that she'd find herself picking up a gun and learning to hunt. She'd been raised as a gun-fearing environmentalist and an animal lover, and though a meat-eater, she'd always abided by the principle that harming animals is wrong. But Raff M ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
498th out of 697 books — 1,338 voters
The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson LandersA Hunter's Road by Jim FergusDeep Enough for Ivorybills by James KilgoDogs Running a Hill by Joe AbruzzoEating Aliens by Jackson Landers
16th out of 18 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jun 20, 2015 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: friends, family, environmentalists, conservationists, and politicians.
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. When I first received it I was somewhat unenthusiastic because I am a hunter (at least I consider myself a hunter) and I have done it since I was able. At twelve years old I received a shotgun for my birthday and two years later I bought my own rifle. How could someone who was born and raised in the city and had a liberal background tell me anything I wanted to know about hunting?
I am blown away at the transformation that the Author went through as she mo
Hunting gets a bad rap. At least in the U.S., liberals (full disclosure: I'm very liberal) seem to think of hunters as NRA-obsessed redneck whack jobs who think the world would be safer if everyone shot everyone else. I'll get my politics out of the way upfront: I believe in extraordinarily tight gun control, including extensive background checks and limits as to which types of guns can be purchased. I think buying a gun for "self-defense" is bullshit, and I'm disgusted by the fact that I live i ...more
Overall I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone, unless you are a die-hard vegetarian or vegan (I was both at one time or another). At first I thought she had a very charmed life, easily getting a job at a newspaper across the country from where she was living, without having much "real world" journalism experience. This feeling continued as I read that she quickly made friends in her new home town of Bend, OR (doesn't happen to me as an introvert!), and was soon set up with a man who ...more

It is hard to imagine making the decision to hunt, to track an animal or wait for birds, rabbits, or deer to happen by and be prepared to shoot. I have long believed, however, that it is admirable and ethical to do so, to know and appreciate the animal one consumes. Lily McCaulou does just that. She attended classes to learn how to handle her guns, how to hunt for birds then mammals. She considered the environmental impact of her decision to hunt and balanced that with a green life-style. Call o
I saw the author at the book festival and picked up this book on a whim, which worked out very well indeed. Lily Raff McCaulou is an east coast liberal who moves to Oregon and learns to hunt. This memoir is about her experience, but the beauty of it is in her thoughtful meditations on what it means to be a responsible part of the food chain. Compelling, sometimes surprising, and definitely thought-provoking.
Call of the Mild was SO much better than Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini. Lily McCaulou moves from New York City to Bend, Oregon to work for a small newspaper. She expects this to be a pit stop in her career where she can get experience before moving on to bigger and better things. But, then she meets Scott, falls in love, and decides to stay in Bend permanently. While working for the newspaper in Bend Lily interviews and meets lots of hunters. Not growing up around guns Lily always assumed hu ...more
Janet K
I am so glad I came across this book.
I loved this book. Though I was drawn to it because of the "new hunter" aspect, there is so much more to this story. I did not want to put it down, and I did not want it to end. The author does a great job explaining how and why she got into hunting. As someone who is learning to hunt as an adult, I could relate to so much of what she talked about, especially all the emotions that go into your decision to hunt. This story is thought provoking, funny, and inte
I really liked this book and I'm excited to talk about it at book club. The author ruminates on many of the same problems and feelings I have about food production and consumption, conservation and environmentalism. I told my husband I might be interested in going pheasant hunting, maybe, after reading this book and he was so excited, he offered to take me to the trap range TODAY to practice.
Really enjoyed the progression of Lily's hunting skills and more importantly, where she learned them. I also enjoyed the environmental implications of hunting and how we are wrong to demonize hunters. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Bend and the forays into the wilderness.
Perfect in so many ways. Insight into personal development of really smart caring 20 something. Learnied alot about central Oregan, hunting philosophy and environmentalism. Much much more thought provoking and much less preachy than J.S. Froer's book.
Whitney Flatt
I originally thought this book was going to be chock-full of veiled PETA-esque narrative regarding hunting. What I found was a thoughtful, straight-forward intellectual and emotional analysis of hunting, the environment, and how we relate to our natural world. The author documents her entire experience of learning how to hunt, from her first hunting safety class to her first gun purchase to her first kill and beyond. The book backed up many of its arguments with in-depth research and fascinating ...more
McCaulou is an east coast professional with liberal, environmentalist parents. She takes a job as a reporter in Bend, Oregon, where she often encounters hunters while researching her stories. She quickly finds that the redneck, gun-loving image of hunters that she always assumed was true doesn't fit the people that she meets. She is surprised to find that her interest in conserving the environment isn't necessarily in conflict with the practice of hunting. She takes up the view of other authors ...more
A fascinating book that is a good combination of informative, accessible, and thoughtful. It was an important book for me to read, I think: although I have many relatives who love to hunt, I have never done it myself and feel mildly uncomfortable about the whole thing. Also, despite being somewhat conservative by inclination, I am pretty anti-gun, and have often disdained hard-core gun-rights advocates.

Having said all that, the experiences of Ms. McCaulou felt like they were written just for me!
Surprisingly (to me) excellent book. Memoir by young person who grew up a Takoma Park, MD liberal, with a single prominent theme (her learning to fish and hunt after moving from NYC to Bend, Oregon for newspaper job) that concerns a sport in which I have zero interest. And yet it was fascinating to follow her story. Three hypothesized causes:

(a) She's a really good writer. I'll be curious to look up her other stuff.

(b) While a few of the details continued to strike me as gross (field dressing el
I was given this book for Christmas by my husband who was a hunting guide. It was recommended to him by his mother. I wasn’t sure what to think about it as hunting is not really my thing, however I was pleasantly surprised with this book as it was fascinating and well-written and it made me think about my own choices in regards to where my food comes from. I have read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defence of Food” by Michael Pollan, both of which I also really enjoyed and this book belongs be ...more
Aug 19, 2013 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: closed-minded vegans with a touch of curiosity
Shelves: 2013
This is an interesting an affable read about someone who takes an 90 degree turn in life and comes up smelling like roses. Lily leaves a life in New York City, that only NYC can provide, to move to Bend Oregon to jump start her writing career as a journalist. The places are very different and it's at a time that Bend is becoming more gentrified. There's a fish out of water aspect, which I find a little tedious, but she doesn't dwell on that. She writes more about how her life evolves. What start ...more
I am happy to say this was one of my most enjoyable reads so far this year. The biographical story is of a young urban journalist who decides to choose adventure over comfort zone. She moves to the great Northwest for a job, and finds herself learning more than I think she planned on. While I found myself amused repeatedly by her prejudices (truthfully afraid that a gun will spontaneously go off) she also repeatedly made me think. I happen to be comfortable around firearms because I was raised a ...more
This story really struck something deep within. However, there is a lot going on in this book. I can only imagine how difficult it was to bring this all together in a profound message, but at times McCaulou's voice is a bit souring. Having said that, I would like to read a book from one of the men she mentions in the book - I would like to hear from an experienced hunter, if they struggle with politics and ethics.

I agree with her feelings behind the difference in how things die, accidentally an
In this book the author tells about how she discovered her love for hunting. She grew up on the east coast, and felt that hunting was wrong. When she moves to Oregon for a journalism job and is assigned to cover rural counties, she begins to interact with people who hunt and fish, and her views change. She decides she wants to hunt.

The book is her personal journey, filled with accounts of several of her hunts, the emotional experience of hunting, and reflections on the hunting culture in genera
Dennis Ross
Bea Armstrong mentioned your book on her Facebook page, and I bought a copy from Amazon to read.

I really liked your story of moving to Bend OR, and taking up hunting. You made a number of issues very interesting and thoughtful. Your discussion of the broad questions of gender, urban versus country, and especially our relationship to what we eat made your personal story much more than just a journal. Your book is entertaining at the same time as being very reflective on your experiences.

Your book
This was a fast and fun read. I appreciate someone who has the ability to hold their previous judgements in check and look at something from the other side. Lilly does that as a self-professed "liberal environmentalist" who decides to make some big changes in her life. This book is about a young woman's journey to becoming a hunter and fly fisherman. Both are activities I have on my radar to learn this year.
Melissa W. Johnson
me too

Resonated with my own journey from not being able to look dinner in the eye to 27 years later dropping my first buck with my kids, nephew, sister and dad on land we've hunted about 40years
Paul Lunger
Lily Raff McCaulou's "Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt my Own Dinner" is actually a rather unusual memoir dealing with a time in her life that involved a move from New York City to Bend, Oregon in order to take a new job. There she learns how different life is from NYC & also how important the outdoors are to this area of the country. She decides to learn about hunting via a new beau & what it means to enjoy the process. As someone who is gun shy & not a fan of the sport, I found t ...more
Well thought out, well researched, and well written. McCaulou walks her readers through her precise movements toward becoming a hunter, holding middle-ground tension the whole way. Her careful reasoning of both sides of the issues of gun ownership, envirnmental conservation, and responsible hunting are clear and rational, and personal. This is a great read for anyone new to hunting as an activity, or just a looking for a balanced debate of the issues.

(Review by the non-hunting wife of a hunter.)
I picked this up as I'm trying to make the same changes the author made as a non-hunting woman who wants to learn to hunt. I hope my experience with hunting and learning is as positive as hers was.
Jennifer Davido
My husband's uncle is an avid hunter. My husband hunts birds, and now my 10-year son is obsessed with hunting. He has taken--and passed--his hunting safety test, and will be joining his great uncle at deer camp in Oregon at the end of September.

Hunting is foreign to me, and we tend to fear that which we do not know.

The uncle is the one who recommended this book, and it was just the thing I needed to read. Not all hunters are a bunch of reckless rednecks. In fact, most hunters are ardent enviro
Jeffiner Singleton
Forced myself to read it for the sake of book club, but ended up liking it... it's just that it was dull at times and also a bit repetitive. I did find myself relating to the main character a bit though. I actually took a hunter's safety class once (as part of a college course that gave me an easy science credit) which is a bit laughable considering I'll most likely never hunt anything other than fish in my life. It's certainly interesting to think about how far removed we've all become from rea ...more
This was the hunting book I wanted to read. The author considers herself an environmentalist and enjoys outdoor activities like fishing and skiing. She used to stereotype hunters until she became a reporter in Bend, Oregon where she interacted with many hunters and decided to try hunting herself. I enjoyed learning about her different emotions as she learns to shoot a gun and as she pursues and kills different types of game. She is a conscientious hunter and makes a good point about environmenta ...more
Jan 17, 2013 SA rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would when I first picked it up. My sister and I have been reading through accounts of professional and personal cooking, hunting, and fishing for a couple of years now, and this got on my list somehow. McCaulou has a very tender memoirist voice, and her account of learning to hunt stitched together with the progression of her adult life was both lovely and relatable. Additionally, there was the added layer that she lives in Central Oregon, and so much of ...more
Encouraging read for those of us learning to hunt. Hunting, raising, and growing our own can bring us out of our comfort zone… But it's the best option out there for local, organic, healthy foods.
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