Writing & Photography By Christina Holmes

A portrait. This ongoing project takes you inside the cinematic world of many storied and very different gentleman hunters from across North America. Inspired by the old illustrations that graced the pages of magazines and newsprint back in 1950, this man of stature in his element of pride, of glory, of valerie. Exploring a deep rooted culture and heritage of the object of the gun. A topic that will forever be debated. A topic that I have tried to understand further. Hearing personal stories in their words stories that hold time, tested and true to their personal values.  An eye opening conversation from a different point of view of this very polarized topic. A different perspective whereas the gun is used to provide, not to protect. Does that even exist anymore, did it ever? A way of life and lively hood for so many. An experience bringing you into the world of these hunters whom use the gun still to this day for that purpose, to provide.



INTERVIEW [ 2019 ]



INTERVIEW [ 06.17.2018. ]
CH. Name? Age? Born in? Currently reside in?
DM. My name is David N McIlvaney. I am 58 and was born in Hamilton, Ontario. I currently split my time between New York City and my camp in the Great Western Catskills.
CH. What is the story of your first gun, did you purchase or was it given to you?
DM. I didn’t grow up in a hunting family so didn’t have anyone to teach me, let alone give me a gun. And as I started very late in life I went into analysis paralysis. Honestly, I envy those people who were handed Grandpa’s old side-by-side as kids. I finally settled on an Ithaca 37, both for its utilitarian beauty and working-class roots.
CH. Who taught you how to shoot?
DM. Self-taught, though my upstate friend lets me shoot a variety of his guns and has been a great source of knowledge.
CH. What is the story of your first hunt and where were you?
DM. I tend to do things alone and like to figure them out for myself. My first hunt was on my property for grouse. No dog, no real idea what I was doing, little chance of success. I found out why they call it hunting not shooting.
CH. What does the saying “hunt to provide” mean to you?
DM. In his book, The Mindful Carnivore, Tovar Cerulli says, “If my existence was going to take a toll on other beings, I would rather exact that toll consciously, respectfully, swiftly—and for the specific purpose of eating.” That seems to work.
CH. What shotgun is your preference to shoot and why?
DM. Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight in 16 gauge. Made the year I was born.
CH. Why do you hunt?

DM. Some years ago, I was travelling through Ireland and happened across an old ghillie stringing up by the side of a river. After a few pleasantries, I asked him why he fly fished. He thought for a moment and said, “there are two things in life that I know are coming, but I don’t know when. The first is the strike of a trout and the second is death. And to be honest, I like the anticipation of each of those things.” I started fly fishing the next week. Somewhere in there is the answer to why I hunt.

CH. What is your favorite time of day to hunt and why?
DM. Daybreak.



INTERVIEW [ 2020 ]