As hunters, we are members of a small group of Americans who represent the idea of harvesting our own food from the wild. Once seen by almost everyone as a necessary part of our existence, hunting is now relegated to just 5% of the US population who still practices the tradition. As the remaining practitioners of this ancient art, we are often expected to act as ambassadors for all hunters. Every interaction we have with non-hunters or even anti-hunters affects the way that our group is perceived. While most of us never asked for this responsibility, it exists all the same. I don’t believe that hunting will be eliminated altogether any time soon, but the way we conduct ourselves and discuss our sport with the public will directly affect its long-term existence. It is therefore more important than ever that when speaking about our way of life we are being factual and accurate in everything we say.
I was speaking with a fellow hunter recently, we’ll call him Bill, and the subject of President Biden came up. Bill went on to tell me how Biden had already signed 17 executive actions that would restrict hunting and would be eliminating it altogether soon. This was of course inaccurate. You can read more about the actions of the new administration in regards to hunting here. The truth was that the Biden administration had only issued 2 agency directives to reexamine some earlier directives. After some back and forth, it came out that Bill had watched a youtube video where someone had proclaimed the inaccurate information as gospel. Now, Bill’s heart was in the right place. He was trying to stand up for hunting and defend our way of life. However, by the further spreading of inaccurate information, he had undermined the serious efforts to defend hunting and cheapened our position on actual issues.
The bottom line is facts matter. In a rapidly moving world of social media “news” and internet personalities, it is more important than ever to ensure that the information we are disseminating is factual. By spreading bad information we are wasting our time, emboldening the anti-hunting community, and dividing our resources on imaginary fronts. Make no mistake, the world of hunting is under attack. Organizations like the Humane Society and PETA are investing millions of dollars every year on lobbyists and courting politicians to try and eliminate the ethical harvest of natural protein. As a group, it is our responsibility to police each other and make sure that we are fighting against the very real threats that we face and not getting bogged down in misinformation.