Byline by Kirstie Pike- CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women
Let’s face it, we have all seen it. A post or photo goes up on social media that is hunting related. Likes and positive comments follow soon after. We all love to see each others successes and experiences.
Until that one hunter chimes in with unsolicited advice or demeaning comments.
I pen this blog out of disappointment and frustration. I, as well as many of you, have personally experienced this. It may be a “fellow” hunter making disparaging comments about weapon choice, choice in game hunted and consumed, choices in gear, etc… I have seen this similarly occur on blogs and forums. Each time I see it, I am left thinking how disappointing this is for the entire hunting community.
As hunters, we all have felt the scorn of anti-hunters and non-hunters at one time or another. We can expect this as surely as we can expect the sun to rise. We have watched as peoples lives are completely destroyed by international scorn for hunting and hunting tactics. This is not at all something any of us take lightly nor is it something any of us wish on each other.
So, if this is the case, why is it that hunters attack other hunters? It can at times be dog eat dog out there. What is it that spurs a hunter to attack another hunter’s choices as long as that hunter is acting in a legal and ethical manner? What does it matter? While I agree, as hunters we ALL have ideas about what we want to hunt, when we want to hunt it and how we want to hunt it. We all have a small list of game we would opt out of hunting for any variety of reasons. But for another hunter to scorn, ridicule and insult another hunter is completely unsportsmanlike. What I find incredulous is that this occurs at all. As hunters, it is of utmost importance that we unite rather than fragment. We face enough opposition with anti-hunters, anti-gun legislation and non-hunters vying for use and space in public lands. Breaking the ranks among the hunting community only serves to disrupt our common messages.
I suppose the question is this- how do we stop hunters from engaging in this behavior? Has social media and the internet made us all so anonymous that anything goes? Can the hunting community come together to help minimize this?
I think the answer is yes.
1. When a fellow hunter makes disparaging remarks about you on social media, the best thing to do is not engage. I tend to delete that persons comments (which is funny because I will NOT delete comments from anti-hunters) as leaving it will invariably result in other hunters creating a bit of a fight. While it feels great to have the cavalry ride in, the fight just gets worse and no one wins. All of that said, I can neither confirm nor deny that when this happens to me…I have a very strongly worded rant at the computer!
2. If the fellow hunter is a friend (and I mean a REAL friend, not just a social media friend) I tend to take it extremely personally. However, the only real way to approach it is to make some sort of educational reference as to why you make the choices you make without fueling the fire. If this doesn’t work, I may private message that person or remove his/her comments. Again, this is strange to me because I will not remove anti-hunter comments.
3. When you see this occur in someone else’s feed, stay away from it. While our first instinct is to jump in and defend, we all know this typically winds up in a cat fight on social media. We should save that stuff for the anti-hunters. I had, in the past, jumped in on the defense of fellow hunters who are coming under scrutiny from other hunters. I have recently taken to just providing positive comments for the hunter who made the original post…opting to ignore the poor manners and sportsmanship of the offender.
4. Awareness. While we ALL should know how to play in the proverbial sandbox together, there are unfortunately those out there with no sense of a larger picture. Should we all pull together, hopefully those attention hungry souls that need to discourage and insult fellow hunters will drop out of the social media threads, forums and blogs. Well…maybe a little!
At the end of the day, we are all in this together. This community takes scrutiny and faces challenges from so many opposing forces and issues, the last thing we should do is bicker among ourselves. Be a good example, disengage and move on. Bless their hearts.