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.