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Dreadful/Delightful Killing: The Contested Nature of Duck Hunting

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Hunting ducks with a firearm has become increasingly contested in industrialized and urbanized contemporary societies. In southern New Zealand, an area that maintains strong connections to rural life ways, duck shooting is still a very popular activity. However, even duck shooters living in this region are increasingly finding that they must justify an activity their grandparents practiced without compunction. This paper considers ethical discourses associated with the killing of ducks, particularly the ways in which people who shoot ducks construct the act of killing as an activity that can be ethically justified. As this paper will show, duck hunters assert that they have a more realistic and appropriate view of nature and animal life cycles than the average antihunter who might criticize them. New Zealand duck hunters also embed their hunting activities within a discourse of wetland conservation, arguing that they do far more to preserve and develop wetlands than do non-hunters. This paper concludes that duck hunters' understandings of nature are intrinsic to the ethical discourses that underpin duck hunting activities in New Zealand.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Otago. New Zealand


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