Everyone has their own ideas and opinions. Hunters also have a variety of experiences, perspectives, and skill levels. Human nature is that your individual success is the only measure of the right way to do things.
Recently I enjoyed seeing a picture of a hunters first antelope buck, in one of my hunting group websites. The hunter was proud of his trophy. Due to his excitement, he posted a picture displaying an abundance of blood. I congratulated him on his harvest and suggested that ne move the critter a few feet away from the blood and create a more tasteful and respectful portrait. I then took his picture and cropped and enhanced it to improve the quality.
Hunting groups are a place where learning can occur. These private groups are a place where other hunters can celebrate, educate, and inspire other hunters. Sadly, some “hunters” feel a need to shame anyone and everything.
In this case a few hunters posted the bloodiest pictures that they had. Name calling and shaming were part of their comments. The sport of hunting already has too many anti hunters complaining. We certainly do not need fellow hunters shaming each other.
How are new hunters supposed to learn? Hunting used to be about hunting camps. There was a group of veteran sportsmen that shared knowledge and experience. Everything from how to sharpen a knife, dress a critter, to how to give thanks for the harvest were part of every camp. Today most new hunters struggle to find mentors and groups of hunters that want to share information.
Hunting is also a Blood Sport. The fact that blood, guts, and death are a part of the process is not tasteful to all audiences. Tasteful and respectful pictures reflect on all hunters. Like it or not, not everyone supports hunting or guns. A bloody picture with the critters tongue hanging out does not reinforce positive attitudes about hunting and hunters. Take time to present your pictures in a tasteful and respectful way.
We have all heard other shaming comments like, “You should have waited another year and wait until the buck was a real trophy”. “That buck is way too big, you will never shoot another like it in your lifetime”. “Why shoot a doe, aren’t you a good enough hunter to shoot a buck?”
Any legal and ethically harvested critter is a trophy. Many of us must hunt public land. We take what God sends our way. Over the course of a lifetime, we harvest great stories and critters. The meat nourishes our families, and our lives are enriched by the sportsmen we hunted and camped with.
Naysayers, shamers, and negative people need to think before they speak or shut up. Maybe if they listened more, they might learn something. If you cross trails with these negative, and unhappy excuses for hunters, unfriend them, ignore them, and focus on the positive experience and outcomes.
Be proud of your harvest, sport, and fellow hunters!