Second Sunday: Lilly Raff McCaulou

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  2/5/2013

Lily Raff McCaulouMore and more people are concerning themselves with where and how the food they consume is produced. Local author Lily Raff McCaulou explores the intersection of food, politics and personal morals in her recently published memoir Call Of The Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner.

Deschutes Public Library is pleased to welcome McCaulou (pronounced mc-CULL-oh ) to Second Sunday at the Downtown Bend Public Library on February 10, 2013. The reading begins at 2:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and an open mic follows the reading.

Raised as a gun-fearing animal lover and environmentalist, Raff McCaulou never imagined herself picking up a gun. But as a reporter for the Bend Bulletin she found herself spending weekends outdoors, interviewing hunters and fishermen for her articles. She discovered that many of her interviewees were more thoughtful about the animals and the environment than she was. So Raff McCaulou embarked on a learning-to-hunt-from-square-one project.

Raff McCaulou says there are many reasons to hunt. “Even in the age of grocery store convenience, there are still practical reasons to hunt — to put wild, free-range meat on the table, for example.” In addition to filling her freezer she says her hunting license and tag fees help to fund the management of wildlife, including non-hunted species, in Oregon. “Most of all, I hunt to feel connected — to my food, to wildlife, to the land, to the people who tread it before me, to the seasons, to the cycle of life and death.”

While learning to hunt Raff McCaulou says she also learned important things about herself and about our food system. “I learned that I am capable of killing an animal — something I doubted until the moment I pulled the trigger on my first pheasant and that I can both respect an animal and kill and eat it.” She points out that there are no easy answers when it comes to the ethics of hunting. “I will probably wrestle with this subject for many years to come.” Raff McCaulou says she eats a lot less meat than she used to, largely because her research into factory farming practices has made her wary about where food comes from. “All of us, even vegans, are complicit in the deaths of animals. I can certainly understand why most Americans don't want to go out and kill their own dinner. But personally, I feel it is honest and ethical to hunt my own food.”

Raff McCaulou grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in film studies and worked in New York City’s independent film industry before becoming a newspaper reporter in 2004. She has written articles about everything from pirate attacks to professional mini-golfers.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Liz at 312-1032.

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