The Hunting Community

When I think of hunting, I think of paintings such as this one. Hunting was, for a long time, woven into the fabric of society, something passed from one generation to another. Everyone seemed to be a hunting generalist, they pursued what season was open. Today, there are different “camps” in the hunting community which seem at odds with each other. We need to remedy this to better protect our hunting heritage. Image pulled from Pinterest.

When I took up waterfowl hunting as my sole practice, I became a hunting snob. I looked down on other forms of hunting, swore them off as I wasn’t interested in them. I didn’t concern myself with the negative publicity that came to other forms of hunting, because I saw them as the “others”. This type of thinking is short sighted, and not until recently did I realize how harmful this line of thinking can be to the hunting community as a whole.

The number of people that participate in hunting is on the decline. Hunting isn’t as a part of the fabric of America as it was just fifty short years ago. Hunters are a minority in the United States, yet as I have written about previously, we contribute the most of any group to conservation and preservation of wild places and wild animals.

This isn’t a position in society that is enviable for any group, let alone a group that contributes as much to our wild places like hunting. Being such a small group, what benefit is there to further segregate ourselves by what way we pursue game? Why do we care if someone hunts deer with archery equipment or a firearm? When I grew up, the term “pumpkin army” applied to the people who hunted deer only during the firearm deer season. They were seen as those who shot at anything, wandering around the woods aimlessly, generally looked down upon. Now I know there are examples of this, but they apply to individuals not the group. At the end of the day I know plenty of gun deer hunters who are just as passionate if not more so as archery hunters. I know waterfowlers who are just as passionate in their pursuits as the deer hunter who manages a chunk of ground for deer. I know private land only hunters who work hard on their land to make it what they want, and I know public land hunters who put the work in to find those prime spots and know the area as well as the private land owner knows theirs.

The common denominator I have seen in different hunting cliques is passion for their craft. Passion is the one key ingredient that we all have, passion drives us to do what we do and love every minute, even on the difficult day. So what if Joe is passionate about deer hunting, while John is a passionate upland hunter? I guarantee that the feeling Joe has when that monster ten point walks in is the same when John’s dog goes on point. That’s because they are passionate about their hunt.

Passion is what drives hunters, to include sitting in a cold corn field in pursuit of waterfowl. How else can one explain the choice of sitting in the cold for hours?

Those who wish to see an end to hunting have a common goal; end hunting. Period. They come from different walks of life, but at the end of the day they share that common goal. They don’t care that Steve golfs or Susan bikes. They have a passion to see hunting end. And you know what? In certain places they have been successful. California’s ban on mountain lion hunting, Colorado’s ban on spring bear hunting, hell British Columbia’s full ban on Grizzly bear hunting proves that. The attacks on hunters on social media in recent years shows that they will stop at nothing. No place is safe for them to ridicule and attack hunters and more broadly, the practice of hunting.

How it seems the anti hunting crowd views wild animals. I liked Bambi too when I was a kid. Photo Credit: Walt Disney.

Their hatred of hunting and their goal of reducing or removing it is based on emotion only. They ignore the science that shows the benefit of the regulated hunting of game. Steven Rinella, whom I have referenced in previous posts, says that it seems society has an obsession with charismatic megafauna. They look at bears, wolves, elk, deer and other wild animals as if they live like the animals in the countless Disney movies. Humans hunting them is considered by these people as a sin, that the taking of the wild animal’s life is the lowest practice one can partake in.

Yet, they look down their noses at hunters while they eat a steak, burger or chicken sandwich, being totally devoid of their participation in the death of that cow or chicken. Do the lives of those animals matter less in some way? Is it not hypocritical to rally against hunting while consuming factory farm raised and slaughtered animals?

Contrary to what many people in society who are against hunting think, this is where the meat in the grocery store actually comes from. It doesn’t just magically appear in the cooler. Something has to die to enjoy that juicy steak, burger, or chicken sandwich.

We as humans in the 21st century have become so far removed from where our food comes from that members of our society think they are somehow morally superior because they buy their meat from a store. The bottom line is something has to die in order to have meat, that’s the way it works. So who are you to look down on the hunter who has a closer relationship to their food than you do buying it by the pound wrapped in plastic wrap?

We as hunters need to look past our differences, and realize that an attack on one type of hunting is an attack on all hunting. The passion we all feel in our pursuits is the common thread that ties us all together as one community. Our opponents are united, and I guarantee they laugh when they see hunters attacking other hunters. I’m not saying to defend the negative actions of one group or another, but defending the majority of us who are legally and ethically pursuing wild game. Policing our own community of those who give us a bad name is just as important.

That being said, can you imagine if we as hunters spoke with one voice, not divided by our differences but united as one community, with the common goal of defending our hunting heritage? We would be a loud political voice that would ring out wherever needed. If hunting is as important to you as it is to me, you will put aside those differences and work towards uniting the hunting community. When you see those pheasant hunters out in the field while you drive back from your stand, honk your horn and wave in salute to a fellow hunter. Treat each other as one family, because that will make us stronger for the fights against our heritage that are surely coming. Believe me, they are.

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