One of my greatest passions is hunting –
and why do I have to be afraid to say that?
I am new to the Twitter-Sphere and I have been trying to learn how to utilize it for our businesses, as well as for personal purposes. There is a Twitter site (do you call it a site?) @AverageHunter and they do a weekly hashtag that is very popular called #TrophyTuesday. I have participated in that hashtag a couple of times, once with a picture of me and my ducks, and once with a picture of me and my Axis Deer.
A few days after the last #TrophyTuesday I did, which happened to be of my ducks, I got a notification. (It’s easy for me to check each one because traffic on my twitter account is quite rare.) It was a notification of someone that had re-tweeted my Axis picture.
I clicked on the account of the re-tweeter and it was @Blueskyemining.
Doesn’t sound like a hate page, right?
As I scrolled through their twitter page, I saw countless re-tweets of hunting, but not in a good sense. One common re-tweet I came across was originally from a man who posted edited pictures of hunting where he included the hunters/huntresses name, work address, and work phone number, encouraging people to get them fired. I mean… the only appropriate response to that is “What the french toast??”.
Needless to say, I blocked them and deleted my tweet faster than you could say ‘Hot Tamales’.
Why is this not considered harassment? And how is this okay? Why does someone who doesn’t agree with hunting have to hate those who do? It’s not right that I have to be afraid of showing my love for something for fear of someone starting an internet-hate-storm in retaliation.
I am a dynamic person, and you are too. I may vote republican on my ballot, but that doesn’t mean that I agree with every platform they stand on. I may be a huntress, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love animals- quite on the contrary, most hunters are the ultimate animal lovers. We put our money where our mouths are, to ensure that the wildlife and their habitat that we love and interact with so intimately will be there for generations to come.
Participating in an internet hate-storm and vehemently spreading negativity does not mean you are making a difference at all. Because you’re not. You’re just a mob participant shouting into the wind that will make no difference to wildlife conservation in the slightest.
Hunters however, they make true conservation impacts.
Below is an excerpt from an article shared by SCI (@SafariClubIntl) on twitter, that I thoroughly enjoyed and explains my feelings on this subject to a “T”.
“… These critics not only ignore the right of hunters to engage in an activity that is part of our country’s heritage, but they also obfuscate the benefits that hunting brings to wildlife and habitat conservation. The absurd vitriol from anti-hunting zealots ignores the hundreds of millions in excise taxes paid by hunters every year — more than $500 million in 2013 alone.
The taxes levied on guns and ammunition through the Pittman-Robertson Act provide a continual source of revenue for the conservation of all wildlife species, to the benefit of everyone who chooses to enjoy America’s majestic outdoors. Hunters asked for Congress to impose this tax in 1937 and have paid it willingly ever since. Anti-hunting groups, by contrast, contribute little to wildlife conservation beyond their pious outrage.
Hunters take great pride in the efforts they find to help save any numbers of species. In fact, most will identify themselves as conservationists first and hunters second. Hunters travel to parts of the world most of us have never heard of – remote and inhospitable areas that are rarely visited by camera-wielding tourists.
These trips bring innumerable positive benefits to the local communities. Funding from hunters is distributed to local guides, the national wildlife management authority, and anti-poaching patrols. Businesses not directly related to hunting benefit from travel and tourism revenue.
The commonality in this economic model is that all of these groups receive some of their funding from hunters who gladly pay to pursue their legal right. Villagers also benefit in more direct ways, as the meat from a successful hunt is usually donated to the local community — a rare respite from the pervading scourge of hunger in many rural communities.
Locals and hunters likewise benefit from the cultural exchanges that happen sitting around a campfire in the evening, or sharing a meal at a communal table. This is when both sides get to understand each other, understand perspectives, and understand each other’s problems.
More times than not, our problems are insignificant compared to those of some of these rural villagers. The fact that the local grocery store in our town does not carry the organic milk we want to give our kids may irritate us to no end. But these villagers would often simply like to have milk, or other staples, of any kind to give their children on a daily or even weekly basis.
The vitriol against hunting and threats against hunters are misguided and should be embarrassing to those of us fortunate enough to call America home. If you have never hunted, or do not agree with hunting generally, or big game hunting specifically, do not write it off and believe hyperbole over science and facts.
Do not listen to the fanatics who value a single lion’s life over that of a person. Do not vilify someone simply because they hold beliefs that you may not agree with; this is something we have fought for centuries to overcome.
Instead, find a hunter or two — you probably know at least one — and engage them in a thoughtful conversation. Listen to why they hunt and what hunting does for wildlife management and conservation. You may not agree with their opinion, or their argument, but we are a nation founded on the notion that people should not be persecuted because of the beliefs they may hold. Let’s honor that founding principle and have a real conversation based in facts and science – not reflexive hatred.” (End)
Living in South Africa and being intimately involved in several different aspects of the hunting community here, I can attest to the truth evidenced in Mr. Burkhalter’s article. I have been to the very remote areas he is talking about. I have seen the people show up out of nowhere to help skin a large animal. I have seen the smiles on their faces when we give them meat. I have seen the wives who are thankful that we employed their husbands for a week to track or skin for us. I have met the children and seen their happy faces. I have worked with the landowners that raise and protect the wildlife.
There’s nothing wrong with not being able to be a hunter yourself, but I think that everyone, if they are willing to put aside their hatred, can understand how hunting is directly involved with the economics of African countries and how vital it is for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats worldwide.
Are you a hunter?
What are some of the ethics of being a hunter that you value?