This is an important distinction for me.
There’s a lot of language about “hunting” in reference to field recording and capturing of sound. Even there, the use of the word “capture” leaves one with the sense that sounds are elusive and difficult to attain – which is true. Anyone who has spent time waiting for a sound to record can attest to the evasive sensed during the act of waiting, listening and anticipating. Even the naming of the shotgun microphone makes reference to the language of hunting and capture. The issue that I have with the idea of hunting lies in the result of the act. The act of hunting results in leaving something else fundamentally changed. In the case of animal, it is dead. Hunting is the act that leads to killed. (This is of course unless you grew where I did and hunting simply translates to drinking cheap beer in the woods. But let’s assume actual hunting.) Other things besides simply the capture of something are at play in the use of hunting language in field recording. There is the planning and preparation. The gear needs to be prepped and organized. The locations need to be scouted, mapped and selected in the hopes of best results. The timing needs to be just right to increase your chances of success. This means time of day and time of year but it also refers to the fact that enough time needs to be allotted for the task at hand. It is an act of patience, of waiting, and of anticipation. These are phases of the process that build up to the final act of collection.
The reference to hunting, stalking and tracking of sound is definitely accurate but there is another way to think about this activity. A relationship can also be drawn to search itself. A quest guided by insight, information and inspiration that leads to the investigation of a soundscape for what it has to offer. It still requires planning and preparation. The process most definitely involves patience and awareness. Instead of language about leaving something fundamentally changed that results from a hunted object, foraging provides the sense that it’s there for collection if it happens to be the thing that you are looking for. Foraging is about the search, the investigation. The open awareness to the surroundings in a connected and knowledgeable way that leads to the collection of material for later use. Like foraging for the ingredients of a soup. There for anyone with access to attain. Foraging provides a method of observation and collection with language that resides in the experiential knowledge of context and growth as apposed to the occupational or invasive violence associate with the climax of the final kill or capture. Noise foraging is the act of collecting otherwise unwanted sounds from the urban soundscape. What is traditionally blocked or ignored is instead scooped up for inclusion in different forms.