In this paper I answer the question of why people, particularly men, hunt recreationally. I combine ethnography and archival research to explore the personal motivations of contemporary recreational hunters in Northern Cyprus. I then go on to examine histories of recreational hunting by different colonisers of Cyprus. In both past and present cases, my analysis reveals that recreational hunting is a personal practice in being free in the context of everyday life in a coercive civilisation. In addition, recreational hunting is recognised as being entangled with gains in political rights in the wake of the Enlightenment and its extension to newly free citizens, men in particular. Furthermore, the history of recreational hunting situates it as spatially juxtaposed against the fixed settlements of coercive civilization, echoing protected areas today. I conclude that male citizens hunt recreationally seeking a passing taste of elitist ways of being free, as it is a demonstration of the limited sovereignty over one’s life that being a legal citizen offers.