“Some people ask why men go hunting. They must be the kind of people who seldom get far from highways. What do they know of the tryst a hunting man keeps with the wind and the trees and the sky. Hunting? The means are greater than the end, and every deer hunter knows it.”

— Gordon MacQuarrie, Stories of the Old Duck Hunters, 1967


“I see no reason to apologize for being a hunter, particularly in this age. What comparable sweetness, mystery, and wonder can be found in the Styrofoam-dished, Saran-wrapped, boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the meat counter of the supermarket?”

— Jim Fergus, A Hunter’s Road, 1992


“The attractions of hunting, its complex allure and its simple charms, its intense sensual and imaginative associations, its deep attachment to the mythos of rural America, all are undoubtedly grounded in universal impulses, and accordingly, the pleasures of hunting have very long roots.”

— Ronald Yager, Eighty Acres, 1990


“In these delicate times, people who actually deal with fish, birds, or mammals before all edible parts are wrapped in plastic are looked on either as half-wits . . . or barbarians.”

— John Barsness, Western Skies, 1994


“How can any man or woman, city born and bred, expect to know firsthand—to understand—that killing is a daily part of life for all of us. They know, of course. But a lack of thoughtful interest, even outright denial, is easier without any personal involvement.”

— M.R. James, My Place, 1992


“Suzie doesn’t approve of hunting in any form. ‘That’s what cattle are for,’ she said.”

—  Rick Bass, In The Loyal Mountains, 1995


“I hope you are shot in the gut and lie in a cold wet ditch and die slowly.”

— A letter to Ed Zern, written in response to a bird-hunting article of his


“I know of no more common fault among parents. No matter how zealously guarded a boy’s life may be, the time will almost certainly come when he will either handle firearms, or find himself in the company of other boys who are doing so, and in either case his chance of emerging from the affair in a watertight condition is in direct proportion to the familiarity the participants have with the weapon.”

— Burton Spiller, More Grouse Feathers, 1938


“All animals will not only be not shot, they will be protected—not only from people, but as much as possible from each other. Prey will be separated from predator, and there will be no overpopulation or starvation because all will be controlled by sterilization or implant.”

— Cleveland Amory, founder of the Fund For Animals, describing his ideal world in Sierra magazine, June 1992


“I decided that unless I become a vegetarian, I’ll get my meat by hunting for it. I feel absolutely unabashed by the argument of other carnivores who get their meat in plastic with blue numbers on it. I’ve seen slaughterhouses, and anyway, as Sitting Bull said, when the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom.”

— Thomas McGuane, “The Heart of the Game,” Outside magazine, 1977


For more great hunting, fishing, and nature quotes, pick up a copy of Passages today. This handy volume holds 200 of the most pithy, thought-provoking quotes from all of literature. Yours for only $20!