(4 Minute Read)
The primary purpose of this article is to spur discussion on an important topic in today’s world. We are hoping that responses cover the entire spectrum; ranging from individuals saying that they belong nowhere on social media, to your favorite (or least favorite) hunter who will argue that anything and everything deserves the media spotlight. We want to hear these differing perspectives. We can use this feedback in a collective effort to increase our positive outreach, and improve upon the negative stigmas attached to hunters.
Our goal is to help the hunting community outline and highlight the purpose and direction behind their social media sharing in an effort to positively impact as many people as possible. I do not believe the perfect solution is attainable with this discussion, but it will hopefully help our community find balance. Being mindful of the viewpoints others may have and willing to share your success with others has the potential to not only help us grow as hunters, but people. This responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of the hunter, but it is one that I believe we will gladly accept in an effort to showcase the beauty and meaningful purpose hunting brings to our lives.
As an outdoor company that designs and manufactures outdoor products for men and women who are serious about optimizing their performance in the field, we spend a lot of time around these dedicated individuals. Deep into conversations, we find ourselves hanging on every detail they tell us when describing both their successes and failures on hunting adventures. More often than not, a lot of these discussions circle back around to pictures they took with trophy animals that they harvested this season, or in years past. Almost everyone in our community can think about a conversation they have had with a fellow hunter or huntress that started out with “take a look at this Big Tom, Massive Herd Bull, or Monster Buck...” We love the emotion we see from the individuals pulling up pictures on their phones. It feels as though we were there with them as they relive the moment captured on the screen. Their ability to tell us the ins and outs of an entire hunt, down to the smallest of details, allows us to connect easily with the experience they had. We love it; and that is because we live it.
If you have had the great fortune to harvest an animal during hunting season, you can look at a social media post and immediately connect with the individual who enjoyed success in the picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I truly believe that. However, the 1000 word dialogue that runs through the mind of a hunter or huntress can differ greatly from the one running through the mind of someone who has never shared a similar experience. The ultimate result: two viewpoints clashing over the representation of a downed animal in a particular image. The debate becomes so emotionally charged that both parties cannot set aside their personal views in an attempt to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. After the long walk, they may find out that both paths don’t appear as far apart from each other as they initially thought.
From a hunter’s or huntress’s perspective, it may be second nature to post a picture of their harvest. They know they will share their story with close friends and family as soon as they get back to camp. Some local newspapers may print the picture and circulate it through town. On the surface, those images depict beautiful, wild animals that took their last breath at the expense of a hunter or huntress also featured in the picture. Embedded deep within those images is hours of hard work hanging stands, setting trail cameras, honing skills of marksmanship, and preparing physically and mentally for long, grueling hunts.
We as a hunting community have the responsibility for telling the whole story embedded in that image. It is easy to do it conversationally with friends and family at camp. It will most likely be told over and over as you sit around the table to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Challenge yourself and continue the hard work by respectfully portraying that story from your perspective in a picture that, in today’s society, becomes immortalized as soon as you click post. We work tirelessly to master our crafts and put ourselves in the perfect position to ethically harvest animals during the season. This process will provide the best nutrition possible for our families and friends, and teach many lessons along the way. The result of this hard work can be messy, but the entire process should be understood before any trigger is pulled or arrow released. The behind the scenes work that follows an ethical shot may be best reserved for those who knew what they were in for as soon as they stepped foot in the stand.
Understand the consequences of your actions and respect the life of the animal you just took. If you feel the need to share your success with others, tell the whole story. Technology has armed individuals with the ability to create a permanent footprint on society by simply clicking a button. Keep in mind the image on your account is free to be interpreted as others see fit. Understand without a doubt that there are perspectives that differ from your own, and take personal responsibility for doing your best to understand how others will be impacted by what you show them. It is not a perfect process, but prioritizing respectful presentation of your harvest in a picture with unlimited reach online is 100% within the hunter’s control. We have ownership of this process, and showing others our respect and care will go a long way.
What are your thoughts? We would love to hear everyone’s opinion on the subject matter. What can we do better as hunters and huntresses looking to share our success with others?
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