Top positive review
Tough to read. I mean that as a compliment.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 4, 2013
Initially, I was the first person to give this book a one-star review. And I didn't understand why the NRA member and hunter from Michigan who reviewed the book and rightly pointed out all the criminal offenses committed by Steven, his Dad, and his brothers gave it TWO stars. I figured Steven Rinella got an extra star b/c they once shared the same state as home--one Michigander being (overly) generous to another. I think I titled my review, "This book should be called Meat Head, not Meat Eater."
Well, I wrote my initial review after reading only seven chapters. I was already irritated by his entire family's general willingness to ignore fish and game regulations as well as his early days of market trapping to supply rich women with fur coats (and I hadn't even got to the later chapter where he describes setting illegal snares near popular hiking trails in National Forests). But it was after reading the chapter, "Playing With Food," that I became so incensed that I put the book down and took Steven to task for his low opinion of catch-and-release fly fishing (and b/c he kept and ate a protected bonefish from a game reserve in Mexico).
Where I live and fish (in Colorado), catch-and-release regulations are absolutely necessary in some areas to maintain populations of wild trout (one of which happens to be an endangered species) and because of fishing pressure on our world famous tailwaters. Why did Steven not understand this? Why did he have to insinuate (wrongly) that catch-and-release fly fishermen are merely effete contemplatives who are too squeamish to gut a fish and fry it up in a pan? And further, if you're going to eat recreationally caught fish to sustain yourself, what about contamination by methyl mercury? Steven Rinella doesn't even address this concern-and for anybody that eats fish (wild caught or otherwise), it should be a VERY legitimate concern. "Man, what's up this guy?," is what I kept thinking to myself. Steven Rinella was literally making me angry.
BUT, I kept reading. I'd read some and then I'd have to stop and complain to my wife about what an idiot this guy is. About how he just doesn't get it. About how he shouldn't have skipped school so much as a kid and should have spent more time paying attention in the ecology section of his ninth grade physical science class. I'd complain about how stupid trophy hunting is and how I agreed with critics that mountain lions shouldn't be hunted with dogs. Steven Rinella shouldn't have killed that river otter for its pelt. He shouldn't be so snarky and dismissive of "progressive politics" for fear that these forces would conspire to take his hunting rifles away and prevent him from doing what it is he wants to do-kill wild game for food (and occasionally stick their head on the wall). I think at one point I called him, "just another right wing gun nut."
BUT, finally, I finished the book. And you know that scene in the movie "Dumb and Dumber" where Harry's walking alone down some nowhere road in Nebraska after giving up on making it to Aspen, exhausted and broken, and Lloyd pulls up on that tiny gas powered scooter to pick him up and head back toward the Rockies, and Harry goes, "Just when I think you couldn't be any dumber, you go and do something like this. AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!!!" Well, for me, that's the final chapter of this book. Almost.
I still think Rinella needs to reconsider his position on catch-and-release fly fishing but otherwise I'd totally recommend you read Meat Eater. Maybe read the last chapter twice.