Facing Challenges By Anti-Hunting Groups
By Olivia Opre
As hunters, we face many challenges in the field: weather, migrations, moon phases, terrain and sometimes plain old bad luck. But, with the onset of social media, our challenges in protecting our hunting traditions have moved into our living rooms and increased exponentially. Social media has allowed anti-hunters to claim an identity otherwise too daunting to embrace, while hiding in the safety of their home behind a computer. As their confidence is gained and their true character is revealed, they become more brazen in making ignorant accusations and spewing vitriol that hurts us as individuals and as hunters.
Many of us fear jeopardizing the safety of ourselves, family and our careers; subsequently, we retract by becoming extremely private and oftentimes avoid engaging in any sort of communication on a social media platform. Where this is completely understandable, there are some of us willing and capable of taking on the fight. To those of you free to embrace this battle, there are things we all need to be on the same page about… starting with a similar message based in good science and facts. Hunting is conservation, and we need to be constantly driving this point home to ensure that it is heard.
As hunters, we also need to be cognizant on how we portray ourselves and the use of trigger words like ‘trophy’, ‘record’, etc., so as not to end the argument before it starts. Additionally, the tastefulness of photos we post often sets the stage for reaction. Finding common ground can be a huge help; for instance, most people appreciate the locally sourced food movement and everyone hates poachers.
The future of our traditions depends upon reaching those on the fence about hunting and in educating our youth… the same people who actively engage on social media. Together, we can share all of the facts and create a more positive public image of hunters and hunting.
I support SCI Foundation and you should too. Stand with us to support science-based conservation and education.
Hunter, 2014 SCI Diana Award Recipient, Conservationist, and co-host of “Eye of the Hunter”