Monday, 17 October 2011


“Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.” - Samuel Butler

Immediately I took a look at this week’s photo challenge by Magpie Tales, my mind turned to the hunting season. Autumn generally heralds the cooler weather, harvest, rain, mud and the ringing out of shotguns in the forests and lakes as hunters go out and bag their catches. Although I am not a vegetarian, I consume meat sparingly and tend to be squeamish about game. That hunting is made out to be a sport I find rather objectionable and the fact that many animals and birds that are killed by hunters may go to waste is something that further distresses me.

Old cultures that have a long culinary tradition, such as China and the Mediterranean lands, often have a great respect for food animals and treat them with kindness. Each part of the animal is used and nothing goes to waste. A famous Chinese proverb says that that the only part of the pig that is not eaten is its grunt! Similarly in Spain, Italy and Greece every part of the animal is used and numerous dishes that utilise offal are not only regularly made, but considered as delicacies. To waste food in these cultures is seen as sacrilegious and offensive to bountiful nature.

The older I get, the more environmentally aware I seem to become and the less meat I seem to eat. Hunting is not for me, and I deplore the “sport” of hunting where animals are killed and abandoned or otherwise brought back home to languish in some freezer for months and then get thrown out in the “clean-up” that inevitably follows.

The photo this week generated these Haiku that use the word duck in as many of its meanings as I could think of.


“Duck!” He cried, as birds
Rushed up from the lake, to soar
In lead-cloudy skies.

A shot rang out, loud,
A duck fell dead from the sky –
Hunting season starts.

Cotton duck apron
Cook’s busy dressing the bird;
Game suits cool weather.

“Out for a duck!” It’s
Just not cricket for the bird;
Better turn vegan…


  1. I like your take on the prompt. The haiku themselves have the feel of the "haiku moment" about them and are very compelling. And yes, almost it does make one turn vegan!

  2. The third one had an unexpected and old-timey use of "duck".

  3. Very interesing response to this week's prompt.

  4. My comment disappeared, but I wanted to mention how, those many years that I lived in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, we did not look forward to the invasion of hunters from Texas, drunk and showing up in hooting, gas guzzling cars, they'd obnoxiously often shoot at anything that moved. Thus, we all wore our orange vests and added tinkling bells to our dogs' collars till the season was over and all those southern yahoos left. You can imagine my thoughts when one of them became President. Thank God I was here, not there. :)

  5. I like your haiku and appreciate the sentiments behind them. Can't put myself in the headspace of 'enjoying' killing a fellow creature, ever.

  6. Why d'y'all go so easy on the hunters? You don't prove what a great guy you are by shooting living creatures for fun. You prove you're a bully, a barbarian, a sadist and above all, a coward. Because if the moose had a bazooka, you'd be headin' out in the opposite direction.

  7. i loved them all!!!....i used to work on a shoot as the cook and over that time i came to hate it all and that went with it...xx

  8. I enjoy reading and writing haiku ... yours are wonderful!!!

  9. smiles...i like your play on the word duck in your verse...

  10. nice take... :-)


    btw, i love the quote...

  11. Hunting for sport is barbaric, hunting for food has been around for ever.
    Breeding game birds, as they do in the fields around me, then having beaters practically kennel them and 'sportsmen' pick off the heavily fed birds one by one, that's positively nasty.

    But hey, what do I know.

    I like your blog, thanks for visiting mine. I shall have to pursue you and see what else there is to come.

  12. Hunting really upsets me, especially as you say, Nicholas, when it's done for "sport".
    Your haiku are wonderful and I especially like the wordplay in number 3.

  13. I'm with the anti-hunters. Very adroit hiaku

  14. Perfect Haiku. I agree that hunters can be obnoxious. Certainly, hunting to feed oneself was once necessary. As sport, it seems to feed egos and human lust for blood. Of course so does war with other humans...

  15. I enjoyed very much your interlinked haiku. Clever:-)

  16. Splendid post! And the haiku are the icing on the duck. If I have any one commandment in my life, it's Thou Shalt Not Waste Food. I can't believe what I see going down garbage disposals these days--perfectly fine leftovers ground to bits and sent down into our drainage systerms. Thanks for dropping by my kitchen. Yes, some French genes might have helped make the ducks tasty. What a loss!

  17. The debate over hunting as fun versus food will continue, no doubt, but loved your poem anyway.

  18. The last one was tres gigglesome! I'll keep that Samuel Butler quote on standby, too!

  19. Beautiful haiku and great sentiments about hunting for sports!!!!

  20. Nice series of haiku...I enjoyed this...