Most people would agree that there is no problem with hunting, especially when we use the meat from the animal. I would even argue there is nothing wrong with predator control hunting when not used for meat, but we’ll save that topic for another article. We can at times, though have a problem with the way we are marketing ourselves.
Let me explain. Everyone has been at work or the bar and ran into an annoying person who just has to talk over you to say “how could you kill those cute innocent animals.” If it hasn’t happened to you yet—it will. The fact is that somewhere between 20-25% of the US population is opposed to hunting, even when the meat from the animal is consumed! Our gut reaction may be to tell them where to stick that viewpoint or to post a ‘grip and grin’ to Facebook with the PETA “I Love Animals” frame around it.
You would not be unjustified in your response. However, I argue that there may be a more productive way to handle it. With only 5% of the US population as hunters we are a minority and it is important that as individuals we do everything we can to promote ourselves in a positive light. We are not just trophy hunters, but conservation-minded individuals who hunt for food and as a way to connect to our past. Instead of publicly discussing how to field dress an animal, mention the connection you have shared with family members while hunting.
Mention the deep connection you feel to the land and animals in it. The painstaking steps you take to harvest the meat, get it out of the woods, butcher it, and prepare it for your family. Talk about the sustainable aspect of harvesting meat from wild animals instead of buying factory-farmed meat from the grocery store. The animals we are hunting have been free of animal welfare concerns for their entire lives. We kill them ethically with good shot placement.
You could also discuss how the idea of trophy hunting for meat is conservation at its finest. It is the backbone of North American conservation to harvest older males from the population. They have already passed on their genetics. When a hunter is targeting a buck with large antlers they are practicing good conservation.
Like I said, it may not be how we would like to react to people opposed to hunting. However, if we can reframe what they view as an inhumane practice, we may be one step closer to ensuring that the way of life we have come to love is around for a long time.