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The trending social media hunting blitz

 

Attacks hunters receive on social media
The continuing puzzle of attacks on hunters. Photo credit: Brady Miller

We’ve all seen it before — especially this time of year — when social media feeds are filled with pictures commemorating successful hunts and full freezers. Usually, a fellow hunter posts a grip and grin picture of their trophy to a social media feed with the best of intentions. Then, in the blink of an eye, the insults, threats, and comments come flooding in from people unfamiliar to the original poster. Or you see a meme that has been reposted by someone in your social network portraying hunters as primal savages. On a rare occasion, these internet trolls gather enough muster to post a comment they’ve authored on the subject, which is commendable, but is often misguided and lacks reputable evidence backing their claim. These attacks not only detract from the successful hunter, but give the hunting community a black eye.

Unfortunately, no hunter is immune to this type of social media behavior. In these instances, the range of emotions can greatly vary. Depending on the situation and our mood, we may choose to engage in conversation that addresses the crude comments or we may ignore them to avoid fueling the fire. I have often wondered what the best response might be — even as I consider replying with an equally insulting comment that questions their existence. Yet, this type of behavior does nothing to address the problem. What it does, in the mind of the less informed anti-hunter, is confirm that the hunting community is an emotionally charged group of bloodthirsty individuals.
 

Joe Rogan social media hunting attacks
Image via Joe Rogan Facebook page.

Many of us understand that hunting is more than harvesting an animal. We understand that it is a necessary role to ensure the continued existence of big game species. As hunters, we are first and foremost conservationists and outdoorsmen that make up the financial backbone of nearly all wildlife conservation programs. Through our application fees, tags, gear purchases, and donations we single-handedly ensure the future of big game and the tradition of hunting for younger generations. This is a charge and responsibility that we have willingly assumed and take a great deal of pride in. Unfortunately, these efforts often go unnoticed by many, including the anti-hunting community.
 

More anti-hunter attacks on social media
Thanks to the power of celebrity status (and social media), Ricky Gervais turned all eyes toward a female hunter a few years ago.

As with most hunting scenarios, during discussions of hunting practices, we need to maintain the higher ground in order to successfully debate challenges by the anti-hunting community. This not only benefits you as a person, but pays tribute to the efforts all hunters — both past and present. But how do we do that? How do we change the views and opinions of a group that wishes death upon the hunter, even to the point of threatening the lives of children who post their trophies to social media? The straightforward answer is we can’t. We will never change their views in a single social media post no matter how aggressive or fact filled the response is. We cannot expect that from someone who doesn’t understand our way of life. However, with a unified response, we can plant seeds of information rooted in fact that challenges their perception of the modern day hunter and sheds light on our cause.

Continued below.

goHUNT INSIDER equals better hunting research

Rather than falling into the trap of an emotionally charged argument founded on personal opinion or, even worse, failing to engage in discussion on the subject, we must take these opportunities to educate those who oppose our lifestyle with facts that convey truth. Although this is common knowledge among our inner circles, this is not the case with everyone. That means we must be the voice that provides the correct information for these individuals. The best way to do this is have a few facts on hand that you can cite quickly when needed.

In order to help in this endeavor, I have included a few power statistics to reference when responding to any social media challenge.

Powerful hunting statistics

  • Three out of four Americans approve of hunting, partly because hunters are America’s greatest positive force for conservation. [1]
  • In 1937, hunters proposed an 11% tax on guns, ammunition, bows, arrows, and other related items that was dedicated to conservation efforts. Since that time, this tax has generated $4.95 billion for conservation efforts across all 50 states. [1,2]
  • Hunting is the primary means of conservation and is considered the most effective means of ensuring herd health and the continuation of all species. [3]
  • Habitat restoration, research, and wildlife law enforcement work is almost entirely funded by fees paid by hunters. As a whole, hunters and special interest groups contribute a total of $1.6 billion annually to conservation efforts. Animal rights groups and anti-hunting supporters contribute less than 1% to this cause. No one, not even the federal government, gives more to conservation efforts than the hunting community. [1,2,3]
  • Through annual application license fees, hunters generate $796 million annually for conservation programs that impact all wild animal species. [2]
  • Over 600,000 jobs are sustained by the hunting community. This includes everyone from biologists and game wardens to the waitresses and cashiers in the small towns frequented by hunters during the season. [3]
  • Of the overall federal wildlife conservation budget, more than 60% or $185 million comes from hunting tags, licenses, taxes, and fees paid solely by the hunting community. The rest is supplemented from donations by special interests groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Mule Deer Foundation. [2,3]
  • Hunters purchase $38 billion per year in retail products ranging from groceries to sporting goods. [2,3]
  • Hunting is a management tool that curtails disease, ensures adequate habitat, balances populations with adequate resources, and limits crop damage all while generating revenue that impacts all wildlife for the greater good. [1]
  • Hunting is a healthy way to connect with nature and sustain a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. [1]
  • The efforts of hunters are the single greatest hope for the continued existence of wildlife and their habitat. As society loses ties with reality and our primitive connection with Mother Nature, the efforts of current and future hunters are necessary to ensure the continuation of conservation among the next generation. [1]

I encourage you to do your own research as well and become familiar with the bigger picture of conservation.

Closing thoughts

As hunters, we are proud of our accomplishments in the field and what our contributions have accomplished in the last century. As we all know, success isn’t always measured by harvesting an animal. Rather, it is based on the experiences we have both personally and with others. Unfortunately, those who have never hunted will never experience or understand this joy. As a hunting community, we need to keep sharing our photos, experiences, and harvests even though we are guaranteed to experience opposition. This should be done with the intent to help them see our side of the story, not convert them to the hunting lifestyle. Don’t stop posting pics or telling your story. In fact, do it more with the hopes of sharing the true facts of conservation and educating others about our efforts to protect wildlife.

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference between the two.” In the case of hunting opposition and challenges to our way of life, we must understand it is an issue of misunderstanding. Although the attacks are often personal, try to consider each occurrence as an opportunity to educate. This is the single most important approach to changing the negative perception of the hunting community. Believe it or not, even with the barrage of negative comments, social media is an excellent platform for creating change.

If you have something that is guaranteed to bring light to our cause, please share it with the goHUNT community in the comments section below.

References

[1] https://www.nssf.org/PDF/HunterFactCard.pdf
[2] http://sportsmenslink.org/uploads/page/Economic_Impact_Report_E-version.pdf
[3] http://www.nssf.org/PDF/research/HuntingInAmerica_EconomicForceForConservation.pdf

11 Comments

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Jeff B. - posted 10 months ago on 01-16-2019 03:56:19 pm

Great Read. I have found on my social media pages that when I get anti hunters or people that don't agree with what I have posted, the most effective thing I have found is to thank them for their comments and for their opinion. They have the right to their opinion just as much as we have the right to post what we do. I do kindly ask them to refrain from using colorful language (or explicit language) because I have a lot of Youth and kids that follow my pages. Most the time I have found that if I am respectful to them they return the favor eventually.

Brady B. - posted 1 year ago on 08-09-2018 07:42:54 pm

Hi Craig in your first reply to Hunter H. you decided to pick one word (ego) and play it as if that was the real message. Avoiding the depth of his point (and throw'n around the F bomb ). This time you're saying he is just complaining and making excuses.
Hunter H. didn't complain that he wasn't finding the trophies. Who knows but maybe he can hunt circles around you? I felt he was speaking for the average DIY hunters by making the observation that the biggest bucks that guides target and name, and film all-year-round cannot take that extreme pressure for long (his first point).
Hunter H. didn't mention OTC tags like you tried to direct the conversation. Its the 'rut hunt in the strip region' that gets the excessive 'guide' pressure, and you know it. I've seen it up there too, along with the best elk units. His second point was: ITS ALL about the quality of the strip hunt experience deteriorating. Guides are on every good tank (archery).
Your website list those units so its not a state wide issue. Us DIY guys rarely get the strip tag but you are there year after year with trigger pullers taking the bucks you didn't even find but paid a helper to find. Your website brags saying "The Goal" is only the biggest buck/bull for your paying clients. 'Pressure' the biggest deer can't withstand forever. The biggest animals are a very finite resource.... In his opinion
He makes very valid points that deserve real attention. We are getting run off tank by a guided client who didn't even scout. The experience is better worse for everyone else.
You're just doing the best at what you do. I would too. So that's prob why he wanted to direct his thoughts toward those who are thinking of hiring you.
Like the article's title "SOCIAL MEDIA"... we have entered an age of quick gratification without the effort. Posting a trophy picture online for the LIKES. Ignoring the virtues of the hunt and the power of the concept of earning something you cherish. He said his message was to people thinking of hiring a guide. Not you.
Don't worry I doubt his different opinion will spell the beginning of the end of guiding. So you're probably safe buying another 58 trail cameras, another drone and put up a ground blind on every trick tank to keep the DIY guys away. We'll see you up there this fall. So Craig guide away!

The rest of you can read Hunter H's message I copied below mine.

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Craig S. - posted 1 year ago on 08-07-2018 10:22:45 pm
Kingman, Arizona
goHUNT INSIDER

Brady,

I read his message & don't believe we are on the same page.

All I see is him complaining about not being able to find big bucks & making excuses. I very rarely see any guided hunter shooting 170+ bucks on the OTC hunts in Arizona. I see a few big strip deer & Kaibab archery deer taken but a killer local DIY hunter is way more effective than most guided clients. Yes there are some big deer taken on the strip & kaibab rifle hunts by guided clients but not everyone kills those type of bucks. It's just the truth...

Many people don't need to hire a guide, but some do & some choose too (free market). Most choose to go DIY because they are local hunters. That's awesome!

You guys have a good hunting season.

Brady B. - posted 1 year ago on 08-07-2018 08:17:12 pm

Hey Craig S- Me again, Now I see why you tried to put down Hunters comments below... I found an article YOU wrote that he commented on. Hunter wrote a similar message but even better! For those who want to read Craig S article, go to page 6 at bottom of The Life section. Titled: Hunters vs Guides with a subtitle that belittles everyone who is against guides implying we are all just 'jealous or envious of guides success. ' and we think guides are bad people. We don't think that.
OR just read Hunters message below. I cut and pasted it for you convenience.

Hunter H. - posted 1 year ago on 08-18-2016 04:58:35 pm

Your article misses the real issue that most people have against hunting guides. Its not about if 'Guides are good or bad guys' or DIY are either one too. My friends in Arizona frown on guides because they effect us (DIY hunters) in a negative way. The issue is about an extremely limited resource (180"+ class bucks) that are being prostituted heavily for money and ego (with money being #1). A test case would be to remove the big money and see if hunting guides would fade away.
Here in Arizona, we see the impact of guides greater than most states. Arizona's famous big mule deer bucks are located in a small percentage of the state north of the grand canyon. In comparison to other states, the area is much flatter and easy to hunt. In Colorado you can find big bucks from the very north to the south of the state. Far east to far west. Not so in AZ. Guides have saturated our 'much smaller area' with hundreds of paid helpers and trail cams.
The pressure on the monster muleys has become excessive in recent times. Making it harder and harder for the DIY guys (majority of hunters) to locate a 190+ buck. Simi-local guides with very local helpers live on-top of the deer year round. They are like the paparazzi taking thousands of pics and giving them names. The bigger bucks can't stand this pressure forever and the hunt quality is worse now than ever. Its TRUE. The catalyst has been the online world that can stoke a flame. There's a hire-a-guide frenzy that we see now with internet/social media. If you draw a coveted tag in AZ, people will say that you better hire a guide as if your hunt and life depended on it. Its an eye roller to see this phenomena.
We applaud the tag holders who made a decision to earn their buck no matter the outcome. Not thinking 100% success on a 200" buck was something to be purchased, but rather earned. Res & non-res hunters who woke up on their own without someone slapping the tent door. Who made their own breakfast. Who jumped into the driver seat of the truck, not the backseat... and who set out to do something significant each day...and left the outcome to GOD. We in AZ applaud you and respect you for your effort. Its 'YOUR' hunting storied we want to hear.
This message is mostly meant for those who pay someone else to do their hunting for them (not counting anyone with physical needs). For the rest of us there is an assumed 'effort' required of earning the title of "hunter". An unspoken truth is how friends and associates will examine your 'effort' to gauge the respect you may deserve. Its a respect thing that dad, granddad and great granddad understood. If you can't do any of what it took to earn that 190" buck you and your guide a posing behind... then wait til you can. On a hunt like that, you're the guy who pulled trigger at best and that's how people (and guides) will think of you. Go DIY next time. The inner you will thank you.

Brady B. - posted 1 year ago on 08-07-2018 08:00:25 pm

Craig S- I had to comment on how you took one sentence (actually one word "ego") from Hunter's review and acted as if that was his main point. We all have ego. Your response is weak and avoided the truth. To all readers out there, read hunters last paragraph. That's what is boils down to. He was reaching out to people who hire guides and those who don't. I don't think he cares a great deal about your personal ego. He never said anything personal about you or the author.
AND Craig S. - Resorting to using the F bomb in your message tells me a little about you. You manage peoples perception of you. way to go.
I don't think Gohunt will appreciate your use of vulgar language. Read their rules here:
SECTION 9
RULE OF CONDUCT
- Transmit or facilitate distribution of Content that is abusive, ethnically offensive or vulgar,

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Craig S. - posted 1 year ago on 07-29-2018 09:02:03 am
Kingman, Arizona
goHUNT INSIDER

Hunter, I guide for money & because I love the hunting process. I DIY hunt because my own ego wants to accomplish the challenge without help. Ego in hunting isn't just held to one's title or name, it floats across all genres of hunters.

As a guide & diy hunter, your points are valid but many are filled with excuses as to why you can't accomplish your own goals. I get your feeling but perhaps you should adjust your mindset & do some self reflecting as to "why you hunt?"

Truthfully, there is a very small market of hunters being guided as compared to guys going DIY. There is an increasing number of guides, but that market of hunters who value time & don't look at hunting exactly like you are a very small percentage. It only appears as though everyone is being guided because you see more guided content vs diy hunters because they are trying to market (although some do a poor job) their services.

Look in the mirror & truly ask yourself why you hunt? Be fucking honest... EGO is there, even in DIY.

Hunter H. - posted 3 years ago on 12-06-2016 04:38:09 pm

We will never avoid mean people and their opinions. The ONLINE world has changed many things for the worse... Even within our own ranks. The "quick hit" online frenzy of easy gratification has creeped into many hunters too. Get it fast and brag about it instantly with your smartphone!
The issue that many of my friends and acquaintances see in Arizona is: an extremely limited resource (180"+ class bucks) that are being prostituted heavily (by guides) fueled-on by the new online phenomenon. Guides do it for the money and ego, but its often said they do it because they love helping others. A test case would be to remove the big money and see if the hunting guides would fade away. They would.
Here in Arizona, we see the impact of guides greater than most states. Arizona's famous big mule deer bucks are located in a small percentage of the state north of the grand canyon. In comparison to other states, AZ's area is much flatter and easy to hunt and very small when compared to other states. In Colorado you can find monster bucks from the very north edge of the state to the south of the state. Far east to far west. Not so in AZ. Guides have saturated our 'much smaller area' with hundreds of paid helpers and trail cams.
The pressure on the monster muleys has become excessive in recent times. Making it harder and harder for the DIY guys (majority of hunters) to locate a 190+ buck. Simi-local guides with very local helpers live on-top of the deer year round. They are like the paparazzi taking thousands of pics and giving them names. The bigger bucks can't stand this pressure forever and our hunt QUALITY is worse now than ever. Every tank/trick/pond has 15 cams and two ground blinds. This wasn't the case a few years ago. Its TRUE. The catalyst has been the 'online world' that can stoke a flame. There's a hire-a-guide frenzy that we see now with internet/social media. If you draw a coveted tag in AZ, people will say that 'you better hire a guide' as if your hunt and LIFE depended on it. Its an eye roller to see this phenomena.
We applaud the tag holders who made a decision to earn their buck no matter the outcome. Not thinking 100% success on a 190" buck was something to be purchased, but rather 'earned'.
Res & non-res hunters who woke up on their own without some guide slapping the tent door. Who made their own breakfast. Who jumped into the driver seat of the truck, not the backseat... and who set out to do something significant each day...and left the outcome to GOD. We in AZ applaud you and respect you for your effort. Its 'YOUR' hunting storied we want to hear.
This message is mostly meant for those who pay someone else to do their hunting for them (not counting anyone with physical needs). For the rest of us there is an assumed 'EFFORT' required of earning the title of "hunter". What un-hunters don't think about is an unspoken truth of how friends and associates will examine your 'effort' to gauge the respect you may deserve. Its a respect thing that dad, granddad and great granddad understood. If you can't do what it takes to earn that 190" buck on your own... then wait til you can. I know a lot of Guides and they won't openly admit it but to them you are just the guy who pulled the trigger at best (they put in all the effort) and that's how others (deep down) will think of you too.
Go DIY next time. The inner you will thank you... and we will applaud you. AND who cares what the anti-hunters post on this new online world.

macmission2010
Harley M. - posted 3 years ago on 11-01-2016 09:09:55 pm
Spokane, WA

Studies show that about 80% of the general public support hunting when it is done for food. We all know that we eat the 'trophies' too, but a lot of people don't. So I would humbly suggest that when you post photos from a successful hunt, be sure to include additional photos and comments about food and other aspects of the hunt - like scenery, camp, non game wildlife, etc. Make it about the whole experience to help the non-hunters understand.

Jeffrey H. - posted 3 years ago on 10-30-2016 06:21:03 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Good points. I'm shocked by the crap my boys get from their peers on social media about hunting. It's like we're losing a generation of sportsmen. It's hard for them to articulate all the things they love about hunting to someone who has never spent a day in the field, or worse, a hater who thinks hunting is just killing. We need to be smart and careful with social media.

Eli T. - posted 3 years ago on 10-26-2016 08:36:06 pm

Well said. I'm not a hunter, but I'm not against it either. This pushes me more towards getting into hunting. Great article.

Brian S. - posted 3 years ago on 10-20-2016 11:32:53 am

Great article. Just recently saw that the Drury family is receiving death threats over a recent harvest. I can only hope the people antagonizing are vegan......