Publication Details

Adams, M. (2014). Caught in the net of life and time. Meanjin, 73 (2), 74-81.


Huge dark eyes staring, the young kangaroo convulses next to me on the ground. My son restrains the dog that attacked it, my daughter sobs. The western sun slants through eucalypts, magpies carol in the distance, it is warm and still. We have had what nature writer Barry Lopez calls 'the conversation of death' and the joey will soon die. I am working with people who hunt, where lives are sustained through the ending of the lives of others. Hunting is constantly controversial, with arguments ranging from 'the first hunters were the first humans' to 'meat is murder'. But there are distinct cultural variations: there is a general acceptance of traditional Indigenous peoples' hunting and in middle-class Australia often an assumption that 'shooting' is a redneck activity. Across the world there is a wide range of social attitudes and beliefs around modern hunting. Anthropologist Tim Ingold argues that in relationships between hunters and animals, there is 'a working basis for mutuality and coexistence'.