An interesting article, Ryan. A few comments. First, the hunting pics that seem to rile people on social media are usually of dead animals that are near or on the CITES list: rhino, lion, tiger, etc. This isn’t hunting for food; it’s just destructive ego-gratification by obese middle-aged white men who seem to equate the slaughter of charismatic megafauna with reduced personal sexual inadequacy.
Secondly, the .223 round is pretty unreliable for taking down anything at all, having been adopted under the NATO doctrine of “injure one to get three off the battlefield” and has been shown to be catastrophically useless in combat against those who don’t conveniently lie down after being hit by one of these things. That’s why the hogs continue to charge even after taking a few rounds. A far better round is the NATO 7.62x51 if you want to kill something effectively.
Thirdly, I’ve been out with some US “hunters” and their weapons handling is atrocious. Astonishingly this is sometimes even true of ex-military, which I find totally incredible. I’ve seen several NDs resulting from poor drills and even worse: I’ve seen “hunters” consuming alcohol while in possession of a loaded firearm. So the lessons you learn when out in the field will vary greatly according to those with whom you share the day.
Killing for food is absolutely fine, and as you say, far better than the atrocious US factory farming system. But most hunters seem to be wrapped up in a fantasy world of male self-sufficiency while lacking the physical attributes necessary for real hunting (e.g. tracking an animal over significant distance and then being ready to take the shot when it presents itself). Which is doubtless why ranches exist that train the animals to walk towards the “hunters” who are waiting in deck chairs for them to get close enough (maybe 25 meters or less) before blasting away. And even then, NDs are far too common.