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On the Hunt

How Do People Experience the Hunting of Nonhuman Animals?

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA
  • | 2 School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro UniversitySweden
  • | 3 School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro UniversitySweden
  • | 4 School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro UniversitySweden
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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine hunters’ experiences of leisure hunting, with a focus on the human-nonhuman animal relationship aspect of the activity. Interviews with twelve Swedish hunters were conducted and analyzed with an inductive thematic approach. The analysis showed that hunting led to an experience of completeness. This experience was complex, encompassing positive ingredients such as flow, peak experience, and transcendence, but there were also negative emotions such as guilt, disgust, and shame. The study showed that the hunters seemed to be aware of these feelings and that killing an animal was thus an ambivalent experience, involving the contrasting feelings of euphoria and guilt.

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