Hubby the Hunter

My hubby is a hunter.  He recently returned from a week out in the woods, hunting deer.  It may seem odd to some people that a vegetarian/animal lover would marry a hunter, but for me, it all comes down to mutual respect.

The way I see it, hubby has been hunting for years.  It’s an activity he enjoyed long before we ever met.  His experiences as a hunter helped to shape him into the man he is today… just as activities I enjoy have helped to shape me as a person.  He gives me space for my activities, and I do the same for him.

Also, I’m tolerant of him hunting because he does recognize how I feel about it and isn’t a jerk about it.  He respects my feelings and views about it, even though they don’t mesh with his.  This didn’t happen overnight though.  In the beginning of our relationship, some experiences were trying…. like, the time he asked me to go to the outlet mall with him.  That mall is a 90-minute drive.  Hubby waited till we were about 20 minutes from the mall to inform me that the main reason we were going to the mall was because there was a gun show across the street that he wanted to attend too.  Quickly miffed about this lack of information, I tried to make the best of the situation and attended the gun show with him… but I wasn’t inside for long.  Seeing pro-hunting propaganda like bumper stickers touting “Vegetarian is an old Indian word for lousy hunter,” along with animal skins hanging among the displays just escalated the frustration I was feeling and made the situation go from bad to worse.  I left and waited outside for him to finish with the show.  I know he felt bad because he purchased a book about cats for me before he left the show.  That event was a turning point for us, I think.  I wasn’t truly upset about the bumper stickers or animal skins… I was upset at what seemed like him being insensitive in not telling me that we were going to participate in an activity that might not mesh with my beliefs.  We both learned something that day and we’ve moved forward ever since.

Before he left for hunting, I made it known that I wouldn’t be thrilled if he pulled up in the driveway with a deer carcass on his car.  He said to me, “Honey, you know how I feel about putting bumper stickers on my car… you really think I’m going to tie a dead animal to it?”  He promised to get the deer processed before coming home if he shot one.  And he held true to that.  He didn’t shoot a deer, but he also told me that as the week progressed, and the likelihood of getting the deer processed before coming home decreased, he decided he wasn’t going to take a shot if he saw one.  When he told me that, I honestly had mixed feelings.  I was happy that he was taking my feelings into consideration but at the same time, I felt bad that my beliefs were interfering with his hobby.

One thing I’ve realized about hubby though, and he’s said this about himself, is that he doesn’t hunt solely for a prize.  He hunts mostly for the overall experience of having time off work, being out in the woods, spending time with his father and anyone else who may go along, seeing other wildlife like a black bear while in his blind, etc.  He said he truly didn’t care that he didn’t get a deer… and I believe him.

Does anyone else have similar experiences to share?  Are you a vegetarian with hunters in your family?  Would being a hunter be a dealbreaker?  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts!!!

27 thoughts on “Hubby the Hunter

  1. I don’t see any difference between an omnivore who hunts and an omnivore who doesn’t hunt. In fact the only difference I might see is that an omnivore who hunts at least has to confront the death his eating is causing, so I actually might respect that a bit more.

    What it comes down to is that we love who we love, and sometimes who we love is an omnivore, and when you love someone, you respect their choices.

  2. I just stumbled on your blog and I am a vegetarian engaged to a hunter/omnivore. I think it is better to have an hunter than a regular old omnivore. That way he understands the process of killing something that he will eat and he can understand more about why I am a vegetarian (mostly against factory farming, so if all animals could lead long happy lives and then be used for food I’d be more likely to eat meat).

    Great to find someone else who makes it work in the kitchen with a vegetarian and an omnivore :) .

  3. Wolf, Maria… thanks so much for your comments!

    I agree with both of you. In fact, hubby and I have had that whole conversation about hunters knowing where their food comes from and how it died. And while I could never hunt, I do prefer the thought of an animal living its life in its natural environment before it ends up on a dinner plate.

  4. What about a camera instead of a gun? Isn’t that the age old solution? (Or maybe the new age solution, lol.) When people go on safari in Africa now they are frequently referred to as photo safaris, for instance. A great photo would be a much better trophy, anyway, I would think. And a lot less blood and mess to deal with, but you still get that time-off-from-work, tromping-around-the-woods experience.

    Just a thought! :)

  5. I just stumbled upon your site today and I love it! I loved reading this post as I never get to hear the thoughts of other people in similar situations as me. I have been a vegetarian for almost 4 years now and there is no going back for me. When I became one, I was dating someone who rather enjoyed eating meat. We were young (19) and he thought it was a phase I was going through. When he realized it wasn’t going away and that it was a lifestyle change as well, a lot of tension began to build as he felt that I might one day try to change his ways as well. 5 years later, he understands more now that its just about respecting our beliefs and finding a happy medium, which hopefully I can learn some tips from you on! Truth is, I have never been the kind of person to try and convince others to follow me, as it is a personal choice and not for me to make for others. I’m with you on the subject of hunters, too. I don’t mind them, as long as long as they’re respectful towards other beliefs. As a graduate w/ a degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Wildlife Biology, I learned that hunters are actually some of our biggest conservationists because the biggest incentive for the government and private land owners to preserve wildlands is the potential revenue from hunters. If that’s what it takes, then so be it.
    Sorry my comment was soooo long! I just had a lot to share : )
    Looking forwards to more of your posts!

  6. I’m recently vegetarian and my sweetheart is all about meat. In fact, it drives her nuts that I won’t eat certain foods EVEN THOUGH I STILL MAKE THEM FOR HER. I’m sure this is just resistance to change.

    Myself, I’m a farm girl from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My reasons for going veg were less about the loss of an animal’s life–I grew up with this and “get it”–and more about the living conditions of most of today’s food animals. Deplorable. Once I realized I was contributing to that system, I had no choice but to change my ways.

    Not surprisingly, when I asked my sweetheart if she’d want to know if her beloved Mountain Dew was made of babies, she responded, “No, and pick me up a twelve pack on the way home.” Gotta love it!

  7. Hi Jenny -

    Thanks for this post and your blog as a whole. Vegans/vegetarians and meat-eaters/hunters certainly have a ways to go toward mutual respect and understanding!

    I was a vegan for most of 10 years and am now a hunter. Fortunately, my wife was in sync with me; she was a vegetarian, too, and now enjoys venison.

    http://www.tovarcerulli.com/

    Cheers,

    Tovar

  8. Hi Tovar! Thanks for taking the time to browse my blog and comment! I’ve bookmarked your blog, as it looks like some interesting reading! Thanks again for stopping by! :)

  9. Hi I know this is an old post but I just stumbled across it. I thought I was the only crazy vegetarian in love with a hunter. I’ve been with my guy 4 years and we’re engaged. He eats meat, and occasionally goes hunting, mostly just to be in the woods and spend time with his dad. And like your hubby my guy respects my beliefs and never talks about his experience or lets me see anything. I tolerate his love of meat and dairy and he tolerates my love of veggies and concern for animal rights. We have so many other things in common, disagreeing on a few things is no biggie.
    I think it’s good for omnis and vegheads to get along :)
    I just found your blog and will keep reading have a nice day!

  10. Hi, Vegwife! I became mostly vegan 4 years ago. My 6 family members incl. hubby are omnis. I found you on About.com while looking into the Indonesian Sweet and Sour Tempeh. Looks delicious, I will have to try it. I blog too, although about life and not food. You have opened my eyes to the world of food blogs. I can’t believe I never saw them before. Thank you for sharing about respecting each other’s beliefs. That has been somewhat lacking in our relationship at home. I may even show this article to my husband and hope it might spawn a good conversation.
    KEEP POSTING!

  11. Stuff like this completely hurts the movement. So we should have “mutual respect” for meat eaters and tell them “its okay for you to kill.:

    That would be like a KKK member dating a Black or Hitler dating a Jew. “Mutually respecting” the right to exploit a group.

    I can just imagine what headlines would read if MLK had a racist white wife. I’m sure no one would have taken the movement seriously.

    You must not really care about animal rights to share space with a killer. Make ti fair, give the animals guns, let them shoot back. ;)

  12. you are psychologically challenged and have no self-respect. you no concept of marriage, either.

    ??Usually when you’re married you share your ideals or at least are supportive of both. It’s not like you guys have two big ideas totally against each other.
    And if you love animals that much maybe you should make it known to your husband that you won’t tolerate anything else. Ughhhhhhhh.
    especially that they’re supposed to be AGAINST it. Also, your concept of marriage/intimacy is totally deranged.

    ??You have no self-respect at all. Don’t you dare call yourself an animal lover because animal lovers don’t allow those closest to them commit the atrocities.

  13. Wow….it seems like some people have some pretty strong opinions about the way you live your life vegwife. Apparently you should either divorce your husband or even go so far as to have a hit taken out on him by an assassin deer or a bunny with a bad attitude, shot gun and a score to settle. Or maybe you can just settle for having PETA do a “re programming” kidnaping of him in a very dramatic episode of your life.

    Kidding aside, here is my 1.5 cents of an opinion. I dont believe that mutual respect is about being “okay” with the things about the other person in your life that contradict with your own beliefs. I believe that it is about accepting those things inspite of their contradiction to your beliefs. Isn’t that what relationships are all about? Isn’t that how we should all relate to one another not just as spouse to spouse but also person to person? It seems to me, that it is very difficult to sustain successful relationships with a “MY WAY or THE HIGHWAY” attitude. An alternative is to surround ones self with completely like-minded individuals but that seems small minded and unrealistic.
    While I have great admiration for the passion of the previous responses, I can’t help but be disturbed by the ascent of those views to a personal level. There can come a point in anyones argument or statement of opinion where one has turned a listener from engaged to enraged or from interested to bored beyond recognition. (Im sure I’ve reached one of these by now.) At this point they are no longer care what you have to say and you have lost your audience….more importantly, you have lost the respect of your listener because of your display of disrespect.

    Vegwife, your response was perfect and your page is thought provoking…even beyond its subject matter. Please spare your husband the rath of the bunny.

    Something for your readers to chew on after reading my small diatribe….
    Im a meat eater who will dare to call myself an animal lover.
    Im a meat eater who would never hunt and kill an animal deliberately.
    Im a meat eater who has great respect for the ideas, beliefs, opinions, and lifestyles of others (hunters and vegs alike.)

  14. There are really no black or white answers to this. I just went vegan a year and a half ago and my boyfriend is an omnivore. In an ideal world I would be dating a vegan, all my family would be vegan and I wouldn’t have any conflicts with their choices and the fact that I share my life with them.But the truth is neither my parents, brothers ,friends, or my boyfriend are, they eat meat and to turn my back on them because of this would mean for me to give up every single person I love. My boyfriend and I met more than 10 years ago, and I don’t think it would be fair for him or for me to give that up just because I recently found out how wrong was my diet/lifestyle/choices. I don’t respect the fact that he of my family or friends eat meat and so I let them know, but also I know it wouldn’t change anything if I kept putting them down or stay away from them because of that.I like to think they are unable to react because of the influence of the society, the media and everything else. Just like the majority of Germans supported Hitler at first, they lived under the circumstances that led them to make that horrible choice,not meaning they where all the cruel saddist Hitler was,many meat eaters choose that just because they can’t think outside the box. My only choice is to share my opinions and my experience with them, hoping they will someday change. In the meanwhile I am not willing to buy,handle or cook any animal products.And I do draw the line at some points. Even though my boyfriend eats meat I have let him know that eventually I would raise my kids vegan, and that is something I have made up my mind about, fortunately he thinks that’s ok (for now). Also he doesn’t like/approve hunting, which allows me to point out the fact that if the idea of killing an animal disgusts him so much he should reconsider how the steak he eats has gone from being a cow to being his dinner.Still he is in denial like many other meat eaters, not willing to see or admit the connection between animals and their food

    .But anyways, even though I can live with a meat eater I could never live with a hunter, it might not be very logical but I do feel that to go and mess with the few animals that are lucky enough to live freely is to go the extra mile in animal cruelty.But I do understand I can say that because I don’t have to face that particular dilemma, the same way a vegan dating a vegan would tell me she could never share her life with a meat eater. I think we have to cope with what we have and encourage people to follow us with love and persuasion not by cutting bonds with everyone who doesn’t think like us. The movement still has a long way to go untill we can judge the people you love so harshly,most of them are just in denial because they live in a world built to justify animal explotation.

    Wow, that came out long and probably tedious,sorry about that! Also English is not my native tongue so I apologize if the grammar is not very good.

  15. I just found your blog today, and want to thank you for sharing these experiences. I am a vegetarian single mom with two veggie kids, dating an omnivore who also has two kids. We have been dating for about a year, and are talking about taking the next step and combining our households. Having been a vegetarian for 17 years, and been perviously married to a vegetarian for 10 years, it was a big shock to my lifestyle when we first started dating. I hadn’t had to be around meat on a regular basis for so long, it was difficult to try and be comfortable at mealtimes. Food was the basis for many discussions and arguments, especially in the beginning, to the point where I thought it might be a dealbreaker for us. It is especially difficult when kids are involved, that have been raised with such different philosophies.

    It’s taken a long time, and a lot of patience and mutual respect, but I think we are at a point of compromise now that works for all of us. He used to cook meat separately for them when I ate dinner there, but as I introduced him and his kids to a greater variety of vegetarian food, they discovered that they really like most of it, and we now eat totally meatless when we eat together. He knows that I don’t want meat cooked in my house, and I know that when we eat apart or eat out that they will sometimes be eating meat, and I’m respectful of their choices.

    People need to make their own choices. The harder I push with the vegetarian “agenda”, the more resistant they are, but if I just step back and cook great meals, there are no complaints. They are eating way more vegetarian meals than before they met me, so I have had an impact. In a perfect world, they would all decide to go veg one day, but I realize that may never happen, and I’m OK with it.

  16. Hi Jennifer. Thanks for commenting! My experience has been very similar. I don’t advertise it often to our family and friends, but since I do the cooking in the household, hubby does indeed eat vegetarian the majority of the time… his routine is usually a bowl of cereal for breakfast, my vegetarian chili for lunch and then whatever veg*n meal I cook for dinner. He eats meat if we go out to dinner, or if I leave him on his own for dinner, etc. but the bulk of his meals are vegetarian. So yes, it IS an impact. And I agree that making great-tasting veg*n meals is one of the best ways to get someone to say, ‘Hey, maybe eating veg isn’t all that bad.” Good luck with your families! I wish you all the best!! :)

  17. Hi, I found your blog because I have been searching for answers to similar questions. I would like your opinion though. My boyfriend of 2 years is a hunter. I am a vegetarian animal lover. We have made it this far without him wanting to go hunting, but now he does. The problem I have more than the meat is knowing that someone I love can stand there and knowingly injure and cause suffering to an animal. I can’t stand to see an animal hurt or killed, yet that is something that he wants to do. I think about the odds of him killing the animal instantly and know that it is much more likely that the animal will have to lie there dying for the minutes it takes. I know this might all sound a bit morbid, but my brain works differently than most people’s and that is what I think about. So, how do you deal with that? I don’t care if there is meat in the house, its the actual process that I have a really hard time dealing with. Any advice on this?

  18. Jenny,

    Thank you for this website. I read your posts and am conflicted with your position. You are vegan. Your husband eats everything and kills for sport. It’s horrible to read. And then I’m like, “Wow, that is me. That is my situation.” Thank you for helping me “come out”. I’m been ashamed of my situation. I am vegan, my wife is the omnivore. We’ve been through some really hard times. She makes huge efforts to cook for both of us. She’s the main food preparer in our house. She insists. I insist on doing my share of the cooking. I’ll cook up some animal products, but not a lot. I’ll fry up some bacon, crack open a can of tuna, slice some cheese, but that’s really it. She, on the other hand, goes all out to make some amazing, naturally vegan meals. We’ve arrived at this almost civil stage in our marriage after a very bleak and contentious phase. We went to counseling to get help with “this food problem” among other issues. It was a waste of time. I think the therapist was bewildered by her. Her rants are full of holes, but to the untrained ear, can almost make sense. After “therapy” we just kind of figured it out on our own. My choices are my f’ing choices. Hers are hers. I can get pretty hard core vegan in your face if I want. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Does that make me a loser vegan? In my eyes, yeah, sometimes it does. It took me some time to understand wholeheartedly why I went vegan and during that time I could not answer that simple question. I just knew eating animals was f’d up. I am fully aware and resolute in my decision now. My wife doesn’t agree.

    We do agree that we are more than a vegan and an omnivore. We are two humans deeply drawn to one another and we’re in it for the long haul. However, we are not naïve. Neither one of us is oblivious to the possibility of irreconcilable differences. We are giving it our all. We are being fair and respectful to each other.

    Again, thank you for sharing.

  19. I just found your website today, and I love it. I have recently started to date someone whose company I greatly enjoy. I have some reservations about our two different lifestyles, and I thought that I am probably the only vegetarian dating a hunter in the world, cause, who else could be that crazy?!?! Thank you for posting this, it does help to know that I am not alone, and that such differences are not necessarily deal breakers. I have tried to make sure that I am senstive and respectful to his lifestyle as I can’t expect that if I don’t give it. ;)

    Of course, all of our relationships in this world will have elements of compromise, understanding, and mutual respect for the other.

  20. Melissa – I think you summed it up in your last sentence. :) This is definitely a hot topic and one I’m not done writing about. I’ve had another “hunting” post sitting in draft form for a few weeks now. Hopefully I’ll get it fine-tuned enough to share it soon. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! :)

  21. I’m from a small town in rural kansas. I have family friends that can only afford to feed their families from hunting. I respect hunters for one simple premise, a clean kill (ie when the animal is almost instantly gone) is what every hunter strives for. The animals never see the deplorable comditions, they arn’t tortured. AND hunting can be good for the environment, as we move into the ranges of carnivores the deer and other animals are becoming over populated which is and for the animals (sickness and famine) and bad for the enviroment. It’s the omnivores that get made at me for being “unnatural” but refuse to where their hamburger comes from that frustrate me.

    My hubby is an omni, and although he doesn’t hunt, we have the same views on factory farming. I think that is the basis for the mutual respect we have for each other and it helps us to live in reletive harmony… in the kitchen anyway. Whether or not a couple both eats meat or not, or if they’re like us and one doesn’t. As for my friends and family, well some of them don’t like onions, or tomatoes or mushrooms, whatever. They just firgure I don’t like meat and we go from there. Why make it into a big issue when it doesn’t have to be. They are all from farming communities, they know where the meat comes from. They’ve been there for the process, or they hunt. The people that tend to be the must against my choice are those that refuse to think of the beef as bessie the cow.

  22. Oh Anna,

    either you are delusional or you have no idea how hunting works.

    Killing with one shot at once? Rarely..unfortunately..And Bow hunting is worse, just search for infos how many animals are only injured and suffer work days or weeks when they got away and die slowly.

    Sure…there is the odd procent of hunters who only kill for food and make it a fast death, but there are too many alcohol chugging red neck idiots out there who kill for fun and who shots more and the bigger animal and so on.

    Hunting is not good for the environment…wild herbivores are regulated by weather, the space avalaible to them, food and illnesses. Predatores are only getting the already ill/weak animals and are in turn regulated by how much herbivores are there..herbivores regulate the number of predatores.

    Would you want to eat an ill animal? Humans want to eat healthy animals, not one invested with parasites and coughing, sneezing, stumbling around before death. But those are the animals that predatores kill.

    Hunters kill the best looking, healthy, strong animals as food and trophy.

    And they also feed tons of grains to get more wild animals for their hobby.

    If they would not feed grains and not shoot, the numbers would stabilize by themselves just as you can see on many island where bigger herbivores live but no predatores who would hunt them.

    Too many hunters are the brutal kind who kill for fun, who are agressive and also shot cats and dogs for fun. No I could not live with such a person and I think a good number of people turn a blind eye on bad things they see on their spouse.

    Just like with familymembers of child molesters or wife beaters never ever saw a thing and are puzzled how that could have happen directly under their nose.

    I can more or less live with a person who hunts for food, but not with the typical hunter who needs to fill his quota and kills crows, ravens, foxes, cojotes, mockingbirds, weasels, ferrets and other wild animals for fun or because they dare to live and eat what he also may want and he is too big an ass to share.

  23. I am a hunter(omnivore) and my wife is a recent herbivore. I love veggies with my clean meat. We have sworn off eating any farm animals. None of those animals get a long healthy life and I as a hunter, who loves wildlife and natural beauty, recognize it. I would never condemn someone for the food they eat and I would expect the same respect back. It is sad to see some of the hardcore vegans with so much hate against hunters. I wonder if they all know how much money is put into wildlife protection, $70 million/year (http://www.sfu.ca/~mauser/papers/hunters/hunt-licence-rept.pdf) not to mention the BILLIONS spent to aid the economy. I am not a trophi hunter, I just love to eat meat but I also like being healthy.
    I am an omni and I love my herbi:)

  24. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years; I stopped eating meat as a sign of respect to all living, breathing creatures. In all of that time, the thought of even being in the same room as a hunter was abhorrent to me. I assumed (key word) that hunters were the stereotype redneck, beer guzzlers who sat in trees, happily shooting at anything that moved from dawn to dusk, not giving a damn about anything but that big ‘ol head that they wanted to tack to their living room wall.

    And then I met my boyfriend, read: the absolute love of my life.

    Oh, how wicked Fate can be that She would drop the man who I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with right on my path, wearing camouflage, holding a rifle and doused in deer urine.

    She’s teaching us both a lesson.

    The lesson is in tolerance, acceptance, non-judgment and fairness. I do not condone killing; I will not use the word “but” or “however” here because that would indicate justification for what he does when he’s out in the woods, and that’s not exactly where I’m coming from.

    I see it this way: asking him to stop hunting because it offends me would be just like him telling me to stop shopping at Bloomingdale’s because it offends him. I can’t be that arrogant to expect someone to stop doing something that he loves, that bonded him to his father and now the memory of his father, simply because it ‘offends’ me. He is a respectful hunter (note to stereotype vegetarians reading this who just fumed seeing the words “respectful” and “hunter” paired up: it is not an oxymoron and it does exist) having been taught in the way of the Native Americans. His respect of the land and the creatures that he hunts is on par with the respect that he shows me; there are no expectations that I would ever share in this experience with him, and he does not hold my beliefs again me. In return, I will never try to force him to adopt my lifestyle and will never make him feel bad eating meat in front of me. (Add to this mix that I’m a yoga practitioner which only drives the whole ‘no kill’ message home between us. He gets it, he understands it, but he doesn’t have to ACT on it. Besides, he can’t quite get into the pretzel-like poses without the threat of injury, so he’s forgiven. :o )

    Respect first, trust second — all under the umbrella of love.

    It can work, people. Promise.

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