Meditations on Hunting: Jose Ortega y Gasset


Well-known member
Aug 18, 2016
Bitterroot Valley, MT

I just finished another pass through my copy and figured I'd type some notes out. Seems there isn't a review on here yet, but a few quotes and references to Ortega y Gasset.

If you can find a copy of this for under $50 you should snag it. It's been out of print for near four decades (seems Spanish philosophers are not in high demand in the hunting industry...), but copies come up on ebay regularly.

Ortega y Gasset was a philosopher in Spain in the first half of the 20th century. Most of us probably wouldn't care for his other writings on human history. This was his last "published" work and like many towards the end of our journeys is very reflective on his experiences and readings. He is an excellent writer, with just enough challenge to keep you focused on the words and not glossing over them for highlights. I have read through my copy several times and still pick up on new thoughts. Each chapter is short and pointed. And Ortega y Gasset is eminently quotable.

If you want to deepen your ethos of hunting or simply consider the why behind various aspects of the hunt (definition of a hunt, hunting as a sport, fair chase, reverence for the pursuit) this will satisfy you.


Hunter's Paradox: "hunting is the only normal case in which the killing of one creature constitutes the delight of another.'

Reverence of the game: "Every good hunter is uneasy in the depths of his conscience when faced with the death he is about to inflict on the enchanting animal."

On hunting skills: "Every hunter knows that, with regard to the animal, what he has to fight most is the beast's absence."

On the pursuit: "The beauty of hunting lies in the fact that it is always problematic."

Requirement of ourselves: "a good hunter has dedicated a part of his existence- it is unimportant how much- to hunting. Now this is a serious matter."

Personal ethics: "The hunter who accepts the sporting code of ethics keeps his commandments in the greatest solitude, with no witness or audience other than the sharp peaks of the mountain, the roaming cloud, the stern oak, the trembling juniper, and the passing animal."

On escape: "When you are fed up with the troublesome present, take your gun, whistle for your dog, and go out to the mountain. "

On always improving: "We have not reached ethical perfection in hunting. One never achieves perfection in anything, and perhaps it exists precisely so that one can never achieve it. Its purpose is to orient our conduct and to allow us to measure the progress accomplished. In this sense, the advancement achieved in the ethics of hunting is undeniable."

Ben Long

Well-known member
Aug 8, 2011
Kalispell, MT
Good one to keep coming back to. He had a knack for getting to the root of things while everyone else snips around the branches.


Well-known member
May 20, 2009
Three Forks, Mt
I own a copy and have read portions.
Good incentive to dust it off and put it in the stack bedside.