B: At some point, would you like to hunt with a dog?
LRM: I’ve hunted with well-trained bird dogs, and it is a true pleasure. A dog gets so much joy out of hunting and, as with anything dog-related, that joy is contagious. Plus, it’s easier to hunt birds with a dog; there are practical reasons why it’s a time-honored partnership. A dog can smell a bird a quarter-mile away. A Pointer can find that bird and hold it in place until you give it a command. A Retriever can find a downed bird and bring it to you. Dogs are helpful hunting partners.
My next dog will be a hunting dog. I have so much fun with Sylvia, just hanging out and playing. Fishing with her is pure, endless entertainment. But unlike a hunting dog, she isn’t making the activity any easier for me. I suspect that if we worked together as partners, as in hunting, our relationship would be even deeper. I look forward to experiencing that with my next dog. For now, though, I couldn’t be happier with my fishing dog. Not many people can say they have a dog who shares their hobby.
B: What made you decide to write The Call of the Mild?
LRM: The more I delved into the world of hunting, the more complicated it became. There are so many interesting facets: the ethics of when it’s OK to shoot an animal, for example, or how hunters reconcile their love for a species with their willingness to kill a member of it. Hunting has forced me to reconsider my relationships with all animals— my pet dog, the mice I occasionally trap in my kitchen, the geese that live in a nearby park, the coyotes I never used to think about. Hunting is too big a subject for an article or an essay. It’s life and death.