Rinella is not one of the yahoos who drink a case of beer and head to the woods to shoot at anything that moves. He is a thoughtful, even philosophical hunter, who studies the creatures he hunts and understands the implications of what he's doing. The meat is important to him, and he makes sure that his readers know the details of getting wild meat from the wilderness to the refrigerator. He presents a deeply environmental attitude, although his version is clearly not one that some people will be comfortable with. After his hunt, he reflects, "Seeing the dead buffalo, I feel an amalgamation of many things: thankfulness for the meat, an appreciation for the animal's beauty, a regard for the history of its species, and, yes, a touch of guilt. Any one of those feelings would be a passing sensation, but together they make me feel emotionally swollen. The swelling is tender, a little bit painful. This is the curse of the human predator, I think."
Steven Rinella reads from American Buffalo at Nicola's Books on Wednesday, January 7.
[Originally published in January, 2009.]