Dear Writing Huntress,
I’ve been hunting for a few years and I’m really getting into it. However, part of my family and almost all my friends are against hunting, although some eat meat, and there’s been a lot of tension lately. I try to explain it, but all they do is talk about how horrible they think the hunts they’ve seen on Facebook are. I’m getting frustrated because I really love what I do, and I want those who love me understand why. Should I drop the subject altogether, stop posting pictures of my hunts, or get a new hobby?
Confronted in Concord
A few years ago, I received a comment on my personal blog “Hunt Like You’re Hungry,” courtesy of a really angry woman. Besides calling me a cancer to the world, accusing me of being a bloodthirsty disgrace to the human race, and everything in between, her main concern about my hunting practice was the fact that I hunted what I ate. According to her, hunting for food is so last millennia. “This isn’t [expletive] 1,000 B.C., go to a grocery store where no animals are hurt.”
Like any human with feelings, I initially felt upset by her words. Soon after, I evaluated her closing argument. She believed that hunting is an ancient, and therefore outdated, practice. She also expressed positivity toward grocery stores because according to her logic, the Saran-wrapped packages labeled as beef, chicken or fish really never were animals, and if they were, they died willingly for her awaiting plate.
Given the eve of social media domination and hunters’ ancient tradition of celebrating kills and photographing them, this disconnection between the entrée and from whence it came has never been more apparent via mass instances of anti-hunter outcry. These attacks have been creeping up every few months, influencing a whole host of ill-informed individuals. You can help curb this overflow of incorrect information, starting with your sphere of influence.
Confronted, the best way to work out these anti-hunting sentiments with your family and friends is to sit them down and simply open up a conversation about hunting. Ask the members of your clan to be respectful of what you have to say and to bring an open mind. During the conversation, remember to cite the following reasons for hunting:
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website, hunters annually contribute more than $200 million to wildlife management programs, hunter education and natural land acquisition initiatives. Due to a federal tax on firearms, ammunition and gear from the 1937 Pitman-Robertson Act, at least $4.2 billion has been contributed to the purchase of millions of acres of public-use land. More than 10,000 private hunting-advocate organizations — like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation — bring in another $300 million annually to the conservation cause. Compare these figures to those of PETA, who bought a lot of campaigns, print mentions and fundraisers with their $33 million revenue in 2010 yet have not contributed 1 cent to conservation practices to aide the rights of the animals they so lovingly defend. [Source: Daily Reckoning and Speaking of Research]
Wild game is extremely delicious, as it has spent its entire life sustaining itself off the land, free from hormones and chemicals. Do keep in mind, those who hate the taste of wild game probably did not consume it prepared properly. Offer to whip up a batch of venison tacos or a hefty portion of pheasant pot pie and I’m sure they’ll be singing a different tune.
The real hunt
You know why you hunt. Personally, I don’t eat any processed meat, so I hunt for food. But, I also hunt because I love every second I’m able to be afield. However, killing an animal is never “easy.” I always stop to say a prayer of thanks after the hunt is over, to thank the animal for its sacrifice and God for putting the animal in my crosshairs. These perspectives, differing from those portrayed in media and TV, may help your family understand that hunting is more than just a kill; it’s a multi-faceted tradition, ever changing with the hunter who experiences it.
Confronted, please don’t stop sharing your passion for hunting with your world. Continue to post your pictures and share your stories, and maybe, share the process of hunting through your photos and not just the trophy shot. Even if you can’t get your family to understand your passion, they’ll at least begin to see the good hunting does for conservation, the public and … even the animals themselves.