What is a Wolfhunter?

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman often claims that society can be divided into three groups: Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves. When he uses the term sheep, he does not mean it in a negative way, just that most people are kind, caring people with no capacity for violence toward their fellow man. Wolves are the bad element of society, those that prey on the innocent, the weak, and those who cannot, will not, or do not know how to defend themselves. In Lt. Col. Grossman’s model, the Sheepdogs are the element of society that are those special people with both a capacity for violence, and a deep level of love and care for those they protect. Sheepdogs are not limited to police. They are also military personnel, and even citizens willing to intercede in a crisis.

A wolfhunter, though, is specific element of the sheepdog world. They don’t just react to crises, they hunt down those that create them. They keep their nose high to the breeze, their eyes shifting and scanning, and their ears pricked, always searching. A wolfhunter yearns for the day when his (or her) skill can be summoned to protect the flock. That is not to say that they wish to kill. They are not wolves. They do not enjoy killing, but rather view it as a possible necessity in their ultimate goal of protecting their flock. There is no requirement to kill to be considered a wolfhunter, just an understanding that you may be called to do risk your life or take another’s in defense of the innocent. As a wolfhunter, you must always be ready if the wolf appears at the door. There is a high level of commitment, determination, and willingness to place yourself in harm’s way to protect the flock that makes you a wolfhunter. Simply pinning a badge on your chest will not suffice. It is a title that is earned in the deepest parts of your soul through sweat and blood, one that you must decide for yourself if you are worthy to carry.  Protect the flock. Hunt the wolf.

4 thoughts on “What is a Wolfhunter?

  1. I follow the explanation here, but I think “hunter” is a troublesome word choice.

    Every definition of the word “hunt” involves violence somehow. Even if you argue that you’re using violence as a last resort tool to protect a community’s shared interests, you’re still talking about violence.

    And when you have a tiny number of irresponsible actors who violate the noble intent you outlined above, it becomes very difficult to separate the consequence from the intent.

    In fact, logic would require us to question the word choice. If a group of people is defining their purpose as having something to do with violence, should we believe they are not a violent group of people?

    Yes, this is something of a semantic argument. But it is a very important one when we’re talking about how ordinary citizens can think of and relate with their fellow citizens who have made a very brave career choice to protect and serve.

    If you’re a police officer who cherishes your role as a defender of justice and protector of all your neighbors, there are much, much better words to use to describe your work than “hunter.” The term just makes it way too easy for one awful jerk to do one awful thing and then suddenly the whole group of otherwise noble actors become devalued by and lose respect from the citizens bothered by that one awful thing.


    1. I disagree. Maybe read the post on Hemingway for some definitions and uses of the word “hunt” without violence. As far as being “violent” people, I would submit that I am a violent person, but only when I have to be. On a routine basis I am met with violence and forced to use it as a tool. I am comfortable with violence and see it as necessary. I know that has negative connotations to someone who doesn’t live in my world, but the world I walk in is very different from yours I suspect. The important thing, though, is that my violence remain controlled. As a cop, I use violence, but only the amount of it needed to safely and effectively end a confrontation.


      1. I could not agree more. I think the public needs a lot less sugar coating, political correctness, and a more direct and honest perspective on what LEOs do on the street. The definition of violence changes slightly depending on where you look. Some say unjustly using force to cause harm. Others simply define it as swift and intense force. However, shooting a suspect several times that is charging you with a knife, or striking a resisting suspect in the leg with a baton as hard as you can to stop him from fighting are, in my opinion, violent acts. Violent, but sometimes necessary. And just for sh**s and giggles I looked up the word hunt. Three out of the top four definitions make no mention of violence. Good stuff Chris. Look forward to reading more.


  2. I understand well the analogy of the sheep, sheepdogs and wolves so please spare me responses to that analogy. However in this analogy the wolf gets a bad reputation. Remember this about wolves and even lions: Wolves take only what is needed for survival. They do not nut for sport or pleasure. They are also very family (pack) oriented and do what is necessary to insure that survival and safety. The wolf is a noble animal and in many cultures is respected for their innate ‘love’ of family above all other creatures. Don’t beat down the wolf just because it is a wolf- unlike many humans the wolf functions per design. Thanks to all who stand between us and all the rogue creatures. Full Respect.


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