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