Aldo Leopold's hunting experience

Essay by isaiah1020High School, 12th grade April 2004

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In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold raises the controversial question about hunting: is hunting the right or wrong thing to do? Hunting reflects human nature and remains something that cannot be taken away. Hunting also creates recreational benefits and is used as a way to control animal populations. However, there are always two sides to an issue, and while many remain hotly disputed this particular issue remains unresolved. One side of the issue criticizes hunting as cruel and immoral. The other side sees hunting as a cherished pastime. It is also ironic that while hunting biology and conservation biology continue to oppose each other, Leopold was both a father of conservation biology as well as a hunter. In the passage below Leopold reflects on one of his many experiences.

"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes-something known only to her and to the mountain.

I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view." (132)

The previous passage expresses Leopold's sudden realization of his wrongdoing, and his view of the world changes dramatically. While Leopold realizes the need for a mixture of both conservation and hunting biology, he portrays hunters as evil. One who might read the passage misinterprets the idea of hunting. While his actions may lead people to believe that hunting is cruel, is what he performed called hunting? To better understand the word "hunting", hunting means to pursue with intent to capture...