Born To Hunt

Posted on August 7, 2012



“Hunting and killing are as fundamental to male development as birthing and infant care have been to women… Men take life to support life, and the kill itself is the event that engenders compassion, respect for life and the moral responsibility to protect it.”   – Randall L. Eaton


Yes, you read that right, we were born to hunt. For those of us that do, we need no convincing of that fact. However, the poor misguided soul that chooses not to exercise the innate desire to hunt is simply making a choice derived more from societal influence than disdain for the natural activity. Robert Ruark eloquently affirms this in his classic book, Horn Of The Hunter:

“The hunter’s horn sounds early for some, later for others. For some unfortunates, imprisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men is buried the involuntary response to the hunter’s horn, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formula. How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter’s heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood.

“This is a simple manifestation of ancient ego, almost as simple as the breeding instinct, simpler than the urge for shelter, because man the hunter lives basically in his belly.”


It really is a simple premise; in order to live we must eat. In order to eat, something must die, and for something to die someone must kill it. Why even a head of lettuce garnishing a salad had to ultimately die to satisfy the hunger of a vegetarian. Like it or not, debate it, argue it, demonstrate against it; it will never change the fact that our bodies were perfectly designed to hunt. According to Dr. Henry S. Lodge, M.D.,

“Your body and brains are perfect for their natural purposes, but none of them was designed for modern life: fast food, TV or retirement. They were designed for life in nature, where only the fittest survived. Most of your body parts have as little business in a mall as a saber-tooth tiger. Left to their own devices, your body and brains will consistently and without fail misinterpret the signals of the twenty-first century.” Dr. Lodge goes on to say,

“Hunting and gathering require hours of walking every day. Even today, Bushmen in the Kalahari walk eight to ten miles every day, foraging for food, with intervals of running and sprinting when they hunt. That exercise – the physical work of hunting and foraging in the spring – has always been the single most powerful signal we can send that life is good; that it’s spring and time to live and grow…Remember that we grew up in Africa. No matter how plentiful the game, it rotted in hours. No refrigerators, no convenience stores, no microwave popcorn. You had to get up and hunt for hours every single day.”


So the question that begs to be asked is, what happened? Why have we (those of us that hunt) become a statistical minority if indeed mankind was hunter born? I’m glad you asked. I can tell you that this abandonment did not stem from disdain, a lack of game or opportunity. In fact, quite the opposite is true, as explained by Archibald Rutledge:

“The greatest foe to the constant exercise of all one’s course, aspiration, and effort is what we vaunt as security. Indeed, one of the real tragedies of civilization is that so many men and women of genius never really exert themselves. They do not because they are cursed with security.

Without insecurity, which once made us alert and independent, we lose that vital spark. Our early colonists had no subsidies, no handouts, no artificial work and wages created for their ease and demoralization; and yet look at what a country and what a civilization they built.”

It could aptly be said that because hunting no longer is required to meet our daily needs it has essentially been bred out of us. Those that continue to exercise their basic right and freedom to do so, engage it as an invigorating recreation and sport. The sad reality of this cultural shift can best be equated with the domestication of a wild animal, explained by Rutledge:

“In wild nature there is no such thing as security; yet if we wish to see virility and content, we have to look at this realm of insecurity rather than upon the comparatively placid human scene. When wild creatures are given artificial security they never fail to deteriorate – certainly in a physical way, and, in a sense, in a moral way as well. They become soft, careless, dull-witted, degenerate, losing that superb edge which, in the wilds, with constant battle and danger ever near, they must possess if they are to survive…All the incentive for them to achieve and to maintain physical perfection and mental alertness has been withdrawn. They have been made to pay a fearful price for their safety.”

Deferring back to the good Dr. Lodge who explains it this way, “The game has changed for us because we have luxuries and choices in our modern lives that have no parallel in our biology. In a remarkable triumph of ego over intellect, we simply assume that we were “made” for this life; that we were purpose-built for life in the twenty-first century. That is a deeply mistaken view, and one we must get over…We simply stood up and walked out of nature. Most of us are not likely to face starvation. We are not hunting or hunted. Life for us is not the razor-thin line between famine and plenty. From the point of view of shaping our species, death by starvation or cold has gone away. For the first time ever, there is enough to eat and no one is capable of eating us.

Almost incomprehensibly, the great problem of our time is surfeit. And idleness. Our ancestors ran for their lives…desperately searching for food, storing it up in their bodies against the certainty of drought, ice and starvation. And then, in a twinkling, all that was gone and a fundamental law of creation ceased to apply.


We live, in this new safety, in this new time of plenty, like drunken sailors freshly delivered from terrible peril. And sure enough, we have become ill. We forget our roots, forget our past, forget how our bodies and minds were made, and we contract terrible and weird sicknesses. Our bodies do not know how to “read” this plenty, and we eat ourselves to death. Our minds do not know how to “read” the absence of danger, the absence of the need to hunt or gather-the idleness. And we soften to death. Our amazingly effective heart starts to fail us in epidemic numbers, and in ways that have no parallel in nature.

In short, we have adopted a lifestyle which – for people designed as we were designed – is nothing less than a disease.”


We were born to hunt for the food, yes, but for so much more than just sustenance!

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