why does thoreau believe that young boys should take up hunting

Higher Laws

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Thoreau tells his friends to make their sons hunters, if possible "mighty" enough hunters that there ceases to be game big enough to please them. A boy who has never fired a gun has had his education neglected but is no more humane than others. In Thoreau's opinion, "no humane being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any creature which holds it life by the same tenure that he does." Young men go forth into the forest as hunters and fishers and find themselves to be poets and naturalists instead. Persons who hunt are paradoxes to Thoreau.