Jessica's Reviews > Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner

Call of the Mild by Lily Raff McCaulou
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Jul 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: animals
Read from August 21 to 24, 2012

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 hunting was evil and hunters only cared about getting a trophy kill. But, she quickly realizes that the hunters she meets genuinely care more about the environment than she does. She starts to also realize that by eating meat, she's already participating in killing animals for food, so maybe hunting would be a more logical step than continuing to eat factory-farmed meat. Call of the Mild recounts Lily's story from her decision to move to Bend, all the way through her progression into hunting from buying her first gun all the way to shooting a bull elk. I really, really enjoyed this book for all of Lily's honesty about her fears about guns and hunting to the respect and awe she felt when killing and then preparing the animals she hunted to eat.

Some quotes I really liked from the book:

After talking about the typical life of a factory meat chicken compared to a wild goose she hunted and ate. "To me, the story of my chicken's life is an undeniably sad one, although I can't know what my chicken thought and felt...Here is what I do know: I bear responsibility for the death of my goose. But I bear responsibility for the entire life and death of my chicken. And one of those scenarios is more bearable to me than the other. My goose probably endured near-misses by other hunters and possibly cars. She endured hard, hungry winters. She may have lost a mate to hunting or to disease. Some of her goslings were probably snatched up by a fox before they could fly. But none of that was my fault. My chicken would never have lived at all if not for demand by meat eaters like me. No matter how little I saw of it, everything about my chicken's life and death was my doing. A natural death was out of the question because his entire life was, in a way, unnatural." (p.147)

People tend to get VERY upset and will protest over animals in shelters being euthanized, animals being used in science experiments, etc. "Anthrozoologist Hal Herzog writes that Americans 'kill 200 food animals for every animal used in a scientific experiment, 2,000 for for each unwanted dog euthanized in an animal shelter and 40,000 for every baby harp seal bludgeoned to death on a Canadian ice floe.'" (p.202)

"To me, hunting my own meat feels like saying grace before a meal and really, for the first time in my life, meaning it. I grew up in a household that said grace before supper: God is great, God is good. And we thank Him for our food. As a kid, I thought it was a little silly. It was the only time we ever mentioned God. And the imperfect rhyme bothered me. It is only since I started killing my dinner - watched it switch, in an instant, from living to dead - that I have felt truly grateful for a meal." (p. 209)
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