Recreational Hunting in Wellington County, Ontario: Identity, Land Use, and Conflict

Porterfield, Christine
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University of Guelph

This thesis provides an ethnographic examination of the contribution of recreational hunting in developing a sense of rural identity among hunters in Wellington County, Ontario. Throughout Summer and Autumn 2012, 13 semi-structured interviews were conducted with recreational hunters and their peers, with a total of 17 participants. Using the theoretical framework of anthropology of space and place, this thesis suggests that hunting functions to connect rural residents to a sense of identity in Wellington County, particularly in the context of landscape changes associated with rural gentrification. Hunting provides a means of control over hunters’ experience as rural people, while also providing a mechanism for establishing attachment to place through mastery and sensory experience. The results of this study indicate that hunting provides a reference point for establishing an identity in alignment with what participants recognized as rural values, and in opposition to what participants identified as urban characteristics.

hunting, Wellington County, rural gentrification, identity, anthropology of space and place, rurality, conflict