cover Bloodties
Nature, Culture, and the Hunt

by Ted Kerasote

Kodansha USA
Publication date: 1993
paperback | 288 pages

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For all readers who are perplexed over humanity's proper relationship to animals, Ted Kerasote's provocative exploration of the ancient human urge to hunt will dramatize the issues that fuel this controversial debate. In his opening section, "Food" the author travels to the frozen shores of coastal Greenland, living and hunting with Inuit villagers—true hunter-gatherers—who are utterly dependent for sustenance on the seals, polar bears, and narwhal that they can wrest from their punishing environment. In "Trophies," Kerasote accompanies the first Western sportsmen permitted into a remote stretch of Siberian wilderness, one of whom uses unethical stratagems to bag the world's most coveted hunting trophy. In "Webs," we meet a hunter caught between these two extremes—the writer himself. Stalking elk near his home in Wyoming, seeking a winter's worth of meat, Kerasote encounters the pall of himself that yearns to make the kill and take the wild creature's life force into his own body.

Nearing the end of his odyssey, the author attends meetings of the Fund for Animals with the organization's director, a vehement opponent of hunting. Kerasote also examines the ecological consequences of eating food produced by our agri-business system and transported in fossil fuel-consuming refrigerator trucks; next he considers the environmental impact of the death of the prey that has given its life to the hunter. Scrupulously balanced, Bloodties is a memorable book for all lovers of the outdoors—both hunters and nonhunters—and a landmark in the evolving discussion of our proper relationship to the animal world.


"The world is lucky to have this book."
— Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Author of The Hidden Life of Dogs in The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The power of Bloodties lies in the way it forces the reader to feel the inescapable tragedy of being both part of nature and outside of it, of having to participate in the violence of sustaining life and yet having to be conscious of the pain inevitably inflicted."
— Christopher Lehman-Haupt, The New York Times

"Bloodties should be read by everyone who hunts, so they can understand the real meaning of their often degraded activity, and by everyone who doesn't, so they can glimpse some of the meaning yet remaining in this oldest human pursuit."
— Bill McKibben, Author of The End of Nature

"Sad and strange, haunting and beautiful, Bloodties contains perhaps all the honesty and strength we can stand."
— Rick Bass, Author of The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness