Where is the disconnect about the truth around hunting? Is it because it’s so polarizing of a topic? Is it before it’s two factions – anti’s and hunters being on opposite ends of the spectrum slinging screaming matches back and forth with each other? Those camps will not, and likely will never, accept each’s position. Anti’s will never accept hunters. Hunters will never accept the idea of anti’s that hunting should be banned. Instead, there is an opportunity for connection, and that’s with the non-hunting majority. This majority actually has an influence at the ballot boxes to whether hunting continues for our kids and grandkids.
The non-hunting majority has an appetite and has the wherewithal to understand fact from fiction. The majority has a BS meter that can smell out authenticity from zealots. It’s this middle ground that hunters have to live in. It’s a rhetoric that every hunter should be pushing in their social media narrative.
Here are some truths that the non-hunting majority can understand.
Hunting is necessary for management. Wildlife management can only occur in two ways – move them or hunt them. Every ecosystem in North America is influenced by man, and as such, there is an ethos that we have a responsibility to manage that ecosystem as best we can. This includes managing predator and prey balance.
Hunting only occurs in a time of surplus. Without surplus, the sustainability of the population doesn’t work. Without surplus, the economics for the animal, the population, and the state agency doesn’t work. When an animal’s population declines to a point, including taking into account natural death rates, hunting stops for that species and all hunters understand that hunting must stop to put a management plan in place to get the population back to a level that hunting would be appropriate again. This is likely the biggest point to get across. Hunters are willing not to hunt to get animals back. As a community, we have shown species after species that we are willing to do what is necessary to bring those species back to healthy, sustainable levels.
Hunters want to selectively take animals in the most humane manner possible. Life and death are a part of Mother Nature. Everyone can agree that an animal will die eventually. Life is not infinite. Therefore, the argument is not about death as death is a given. Mother Nature is cruel, violent, and painful and takes animals of all ages and genders. Hours of training and range time indicate an ideal that when the moment comes the animal is taken with the utmost accuracy and quickest kill.
Hunters prefer meat from a source that is connected to them. This meat is known. The animal has lived free- range, lived out a full life, and was taken as humanely as possible. It’s as organic as you can get, antibiotic and hormone free, and the supply chain is precisely known and likely been touched by only a couple of hands.
Hunting as a tradition being passed to the next generation provides societal characteristics. This includes understanding the responsibility of taking life, understanding where your food comes from, respect for firearms, and characteristics of compassion, perseverance, discipline. They all come from hunting.
This is a hunter’s rhetoric. It’s not chest beating. It’s from our hearts. It’s laced with compassion and emotion, so the next time you are challenged in the digital space, remember that your response is not to that anti (even though you want so desperately to lash out), but rather your response is for the non-hunters who read the comment and understand what you are trying to say.