Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anti-hunting Ammunition?

As I sat in my hotel room on a recent business trip having finished the newest Field and Stream and Gun Dog magazines, I decided to start surfing the net to see if I could discover something interesting. No, not that you dirty birds.

I ended up at a popular video hosting site and promptly entered a search for “hunting videos”. I was pleasantly surprised to find a large number of videos encompassing a spectrum of talent. Some were simply ‘the boys’ out in the field (sorry ladies - no huntress videos), while others were quasi-professionally produced by worldwide outfitters and guides.

I have to be honest that a couple of the videos disturbed me, and at times, I winced at their content. The images in question had nothing to do with kill shots or cleaning game. Rather, they had to do with hunter behavior.

Now please understand, the road I am about to go down is not an indictment of those involved. Believe me, I am the last person who is entitled to pass judgment.

But, having watched these videos then read Kristin’s post at Gun Safety Innovations on how the media sensationalizes hunting, I started to wonder if we - as the hunting community - aren’t our own worst enemy in these situations with providing the anti-hunting establishment with the ammunition with which they aim at us.

Holly at Nor Cal Cazadora and many others have written extensively about the perceptions of hunting in the media, on television, and in print. The collection of those articles came rushing to my mind as I sat and watched these two young men toy with a wounded Canada goose that they had dropped but not cleanly killed. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What the hell?”

I am also reminded that we have this wonderful liberty called the First Amendment (ironically next to the most cherished one in my book – the Second Amendment), that guarantees our ability to say what we like in the public realm without retribution.

In a world filled with camera phones, digital video recorders the size of a Budweiser can, and an anti-hunting force that is building a war chest equal to the national debt, my question to you is; do we have a responsibility to police ourselves in how we portray hunting to the public? Moreover, should we also encourage one another to actually behave that same way when no one else is looking? Or, is there any real harm in simply sharing our personal hunting adventures on a world stage through video, no matter what others may think?

I am interested in what you think, fire away.

In the meantime I am going online to search for a new HD camcorder for capturing this fall’s hunting adventures.


NorCal Cazadora said...

Interestingly enough, I saw a thread on the Refuge Forums a while back about a recent hunting TV show where they showed the hosts getting a group limit - i.e., not abiding by individual limits.

All these people kept arguing, "Hey, it happens!" Well, lots of things happen, but you don't put them on TV, do you? You don't hand ammunition to the enemy.

I wanted to argue with them, but as a new member of the Refuge Forums, I know how those things go. I'm not a fan of the abuse that so many people on the forums seem to enjoy, so I kept my mouth shut.

I think the overaching issue here is that some hunters live in total cultural isolation. Their family and friends and everyone they know are hunters, so they have no frikkin idea how some of what we do - even the most legit stuff - plays out in the general public. That's the danger.

That and the fact that there are just some really stupid people out there.

Fortunately, the animal rights nutballs are plagued with idiots and cultural isolationists too. But that doesn't give me too much comfort.

Andrew Campbell said...

Jon: nice post. And nice to see a follow-up from Holly, too. I'll be honest and say that this stuff saddens me -- because while it remains the most effective lobbying group, I feel alienated by the NRA and have a feeling that hunters could become a more viable political force to protect both gun rights and habitat.

I wonder if, as Holly suggests, hunters are really isolationists or if that sense of isolation is a product of the combination of NRA lobbying tactics and most folks' lack of awareness of where food comes from.


Anonymous said...

Well, if you've read my posts, you know how I feel about this. I'll give you the synopsis here.

Yes, hunters have the right to behave as they wish, as long as they're not being cruel or breaking the law. Hunters also should not be required to apologize for being hunters or enjoying hunting.

That said, the only representative of the hunting community that someone meets might be you. As such, you should be the best representative you can be. There are a lot of apathetic supporters of hunting out there who aren't really against hunting, but don't really support it either. Turning those people into fervent supporters is something we desperately need to do. One way to do that is to put them in contact with ordinary hunters who are good representatives of the sport.

As Holly said, there are already enough people out there trying, intentionally or unintentionally, to do hunting in. People who hunt and fish shouldn't help them.

Blessed said...

I have to agree with what everyone else has said - and I completely agree with Holly's point that some hunters are isolationists, I find that especially true out here in the Midwest where nearly everyone hunts or has family that hunts.

However - I really wish the idiots wouldn't post videos of their stupidity on You Tube. Personally, I won't hunt with people who don't treat game respectfully. I've been called a few names before but suffering isn't entertaining - any animal I shoot, that I don't get a quick, clean kill on initially will be put out of its misery ASAP.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I am in agreement with pretty much everything that has been said already, but I still have to interject a few of my thoughts.

I do think that, as long as it is within the law, that hunters should be able to enjoy themselves while hunting. That being said, I think we have to police ourselves somewhat on the things we do, say, and show in the general public.

By not taking into account our audience we run the risk of making us look exactly like how everyone as already tagged us.

I wrote a recent post about hunter image as well, and I think you are definitely onto something. Since we may be the only hunter a non-hunter meets, don't be have an obligation to promote hunting a certain way? And to be conscious of what we are showing and what we are saying?

I think so.

Great post.

Tom Sorenson said...

Of course, my comments aren't worth a plugged nickel when it comes to solving any problems, but it is aggravating to say the least that idiots portray our passion just the same as people who are truly passionate about what we do. It's the same in any group - there are some complete morons in every group - but, sadly, it makes it that much harder to convince the anti crowd that the majority of hunters are not idiots because of the conflicting evidence floating around YouTube. Sometimes technology is a big pain in backside.

Swamp Thing said...

You're right on the money. I also live in a "blue state," so believe, me every time a broadhead hits a car door, a hunter is caught with 4 fresh killed April..., or somebody's arrested with 250 dead geese in the shed......the media onslaught begins immediately. And you know, it should. Because in the northeast, with unlimited doe tags and 60 day duck seasons every year, plus resident goose beginning in September, and snow goose ending in March....I mean...ENOUGH! There's no justification for poaching or "bending" the law. That 3% just makes it tough for the rest of us, who pass up shots, pass up hunting opportunities, and are happy to let a beautiful 12 point walk through the front field in June.

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

I struggled with this one, currently I have two videos on and several on my blog... However, I have write protected the videos for only viewing... It was my intentions to share what I do with others in the hopes of promoting what we do with the enhancement of technology... To me the internet is for us all to share and if someone has issue with what I produce, then so be it... And I do fear that our efforts to enhance our enjoyment are the same efforts that others are using to ruin a great way of life... Awesome post...

Downeast Duck Hunter

Flu-Bird said...

Back when they took that wildlife managers video showing the tranquilizing of the mother polarbear and edited it to look like the bear was being shot in that controvercial program SAY GOODBYE then there was GUNS OF AUTUM fall out from that SAY GOODBYE one where the QUAKER company who sponsored it was sued over this fruad then all the lies from all these liberal left-wing news shows as well