A Hunter's Confession


A Hunter’s Confession tells the story of hunting—both its history and the role it has played in David Carpenter’s own life, including the reasons he once loved it and the dramatic hunting incident that made him give up hunting for good.

Winding through this narrative is Carpenter’s exploration of the history of hunting, subsistence hunting versus hunting for sport, trophy hunting, and the meaning of the hunt for those who have written about it most eloquently. Are wild creatures somehow our property? How is the sport hunter different from the hunter who must kill game to survive? Is there some bridge that might connect Aboriginal to non-Aboriginal hunters? Carpenter ponders questions like these as he describes what hunting has meant to him and to others throughout history and in our own time.

Carpenter beautifully evokes the sensual pleasure of holding a gun, the inherent spirituality among hunters, the intense relationship between the animals and their pursuers, and the transcendent joy of hunting. Finally, he conveys poignantly how for him animals have been transformed from objects of hunting to objects of wonder.


A Hunter's Confession





2010 Book of the Year
Saskatchewan Book Awards

"A Hunter's Confession is a thoughtful and personal meditation on hunting, hunters and the relationships among and between people and animals. It is a beautifully-written and intimate personal journey through an ancient, complex and persistent realm of the human experience."

"Less a confession than a leisurely meditation, Carpenter traces his own evolution from hunter to non-hunter in a thoughtful, rather rueful tone. His continued ambivalence about the pursuit he once loved accurately reflects the sense of uncertainty many of us feel about situations where humans and wildlife collide. The absence of polemics is a big plus. Hunters and non-hunters alike will find themselves learning from his insights."

"A Hunter's Confession is not only a book about hunting, but a love story to the land and the animals that have graced this particular hunter's life over the past thirty years. It's a bold, beautiful book, a portrait of a passion.'

-2010 Sask Book Awards- Judges comments on A Hunter's Confession


Saskatchewan Book Awards 2010 Winner


Hunter's Confession wins Sask. book of year

CBC news article >>



Critical Response


"In walks David Carpenter with his gentle, old-fashioned memoir of a hunting life. His narrative is told with comic gusto, his own youth recalled in ... dramatic fashion.... He realizes he has been, for may years, an ambivalent hunter. Doublemindedness crept in and now he aligns himself with how some aboriginal friends approach the hunt. He speaks of a respect for the kill, and an understanding between the animal and the hunter that puts the animal's soul at peace.... Carpenter no longer carries a rifle or a shotgun ... he gave his guns away. He still fishes and he will enthusiastically sit down and eat a meal of wild game shot by someone else.... Perhaps this is the complicated doublemindedness he possesses these days. Competing beliefs that, of course, mirror very closely most of our own less-than-dogmatic ways in the world."

-Michael Winter, The Globe and Mail, April 3, 2010

full review


"You don't have to be a hunter or an anti-hunter to appreciate this book. You only need to love fine writing."

- Jake MacDonald, author of Grizzlyville.


"The most thoughtful and gracefully modulated yet deliciously ambivalent apologia in defense of hunting I have seen in print."

- Trevor Herriot, author of Grass, Sky, Song.


"Carpenter argues convincingly that a hunter can also be a conservationist and an environmentalist, and that hunting "can lead quite naturally to a communion with nature." Along the way, he provides illuminating background on the history of hunting, the literature dealing with the sport, the history of women in the hunt, and the importance of hunting for native communities. ...What unites A Hunter's Confession and [his short stories in] Welcome to Canada is the grace of Carpenter's prose. Spare and often colloquial, Carpenter's writing invites comparisons with Ernest Hemingway and Thomas McGuane, but his voice is his own. Despite the fact that it is one of the less-travelled areas of our literary landscape, Carpenter Country is a place well worth visiting."

- Stephen Beattie, review editor of Quill & Quire 
 full review


"A Hunter's Confession is Carpenter's third book in less than three years, following a funny novel (Niceman Cometh), and a fine story collection (Welcome to Canada). All three offerings show his keen ear for vernacular, his robust sense of humour, and his thought-provoking insight into what it means to be a member of the human species in today's world. In this latter regard, A Hunter's Confession belongs on the same shelf as two other recent works: Winnipegger Jake MacDonald's Grizzlyville and Reginian Trevor Herriot's Grass, Sky, Song. All three remind us city folk that we share the planet with an amazing array of other creatures."

-David Williamson, The Winnipeg Free Press, April 3, 2010
full review


"This is a generous-hearted book about being awake and paying attention while we're out on the land--again, something Carpenter learned from hunting--of treating it as if it was our own house. And if we don't treat it very well, we should learn how."

-Bill Robertson, The Star-Phoenix, May 8, 2010 
full review


"Carpenter's experiences hunting with his father and later with his friends are fraught with ambivalence and contradiction if not irony, perhaps the very essence of the experience of the hunter who hunts not because he has to in order to survive, but because he loves to do it.... The trip one takes is definitely worth the effort, and I shall reread this book at my leisure and pass it on to my son, who has been a passionate hunter since the age of two but is showing signs of the same ambivalence at the tender age of 23. Perhaps all hunters have a half-life of two decades. My take on Carpenter's enduring message is that society eliminates the ambivalence-fraught experience of hunting at the resource's, and perhaps even its own, peril."

-Ehor Boyanowsky, Literary Review of Canada




1link to Home
David Carpenter Home Page David Carpenter Biography David Carpenter Publications David Carpenter reading excerpts David Carpenter  upcoming events David Carpenter books for sale