"Seton Castle...on the last rampart of the Rockies where the Buffalo Wind is blowing."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seton on Hunting with Guns and Arrows


Through an entry into his Totem Board newsletter, Ernest Thompson Seton found a way to express his ideas about hunting in a review of a book by Adolph Shane, perhaps published in the 1940s. The book: Archery Tackle, How to Make and How to Use It, Manual Arts Press, Peoria, Illinois. I believe it is important because in his published articles Seton developed from a 19th century trapping and hunting advocate to a 20th century trapping opponent and a qualified hunting advocate. He had two concerns: causing death and suffering to “harmless” wild animals, and fairness. That is, hunting should come closer to being a fair contest between the hunter and the hunted. I quote it here because it may be Seton’s final published word on the subject.

The review:

It is now over forty years since the present reviewer set about a revival of archery.

The modern gun which displaced the bow, is a chemical explosive, and is just as deadly if the touch be given by a baby as by a giant. The bow, on the other hand, shoots the arrow with the exact force of the archer. As guns have become more deadly and destructive, the game have begun to disappear, and the logical conclusion was, ‘Why not use poison gas, and kill it all at once if destruction is the aim?’ Alas, we came very near to this, and thoughtful men called a halt, and asked the question, ‘What are you after, sport or destruction?’ This question answers itself, and the rejoinder is evident. The bow gives a maximum of sport with a minimum of destruction. Explosive weapons, more deadly every year, will wipe out all the game in a decade.

These are the thoughts back of the bow revival. For this reason we rejoice in the practical, sensible, clear exposition of archery by an expert archer, Adolph Shane. Equipped only with this handy volume, each and every man and boy can become an archer, make his own tackle and enter a little kingdom of his own.

Ernest Thompson Seton 

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