Unless you’ve had your head in the sand these last few years, there’s no denying that hunting is under attack. Every day, we see more and more hunting content being censored online, hunters being bullied not just on social media but by celebrities, and emotionally charged news headlines designed to get people worked up about the ‘evils’ of hunting.
Now those attacks have entered politics, with campaigns being launched in governments all over the world to ban trophy hunting, ban duck hunting, ban trapping for fur, ban bowhunting, ban fox hunting, ban culling, ban the importation of trophies…
PETA even came out recently with a petition to ban recreational fishing!
Blind Freddy can see their goal is a complete ban on all recreational hunting and fishing, despite the fact that none of their requests are grounded in scientific evidence. That’s why 133 of the world’s leading environmental scientists just penned an open letter to these same governments urging them not to ban hunting, saying it would have the opposite effect on wildlife populations.
Unfortunately, the hunting community is not naturally inclined to be vocal or controversial. By our very nature, we prefer to be outdoors – often alone.
There’s just one problem with that approach. All of those people who oppose what we do, who want to shut us down, and who have no problems shouting their disgust from the rooftops, have no problems being vocal or political. In fact, they are so vocal about their beliefs that, at times, it’s easy to imagine they are in the majority instead of being the vocal (and noisy) minority.
So what can hunters do to fight back against this onslaught against our way of life, without resorting to the same dirty tricks and bullying tactics that the anti-hunters employ?
Here are six things we think will help combat the negativity:
- United we stand, divided we fall. For far too long, the hunting fraternity have been so busy fighting each other rather than focusing our attention on the real problem – those who want to shut us down! As a community, we need to stop talking about our differences and start looking at the things that unite us. It really doesn’t matter whether you prefer to hunt with a rifle or a bow, hunt for meat or trophy, hunt mammals or birds, hunt predators or prey, hunt public or private land, or hunt free range or high fenced. If the hunt is legal and ethical, we should not care how another person chooses to hunt. Every single time we attack our own, we do the anti-hunters work for them. They know that they can’t go after all hunting at once – together, we far outnumber those who oppose hunting. That’s why they attack niches and pockets of the hunting community separately – and often from opposite ends of the spectrum so as to distract us. Now is definitely a time for us to stand together.
- Focus on education rather than emotion. Antis love to use emotive language to try to label hunters as sadistic, sick killers butchering wildlife. While it’s easy to get drawn into these emotionally charged arguments or name calling, particularly on social media, the best way to counteract their arguments is with solid evidence and factual information. Even if the anti-hunter themselves doesn’t believe what you share, there are others who will read and may learn the truth about conservation and hunting. There is plenty of factual evidence out there that backs up what we do, and more importantly, why it is still a vital role to play for society.
- Choose your vote carefully. The only way for us to get support in government is to get supportive voices in parliament. That means voting for politicians and parties that support recreational hunting and fishing, and voting against those who don’t support us. This is important not just during Federal elections but also during state and local elections. Here in Australia, the Greens understand this, which is why their numbers are growing in local councils.
- Put your hand up. If there are no politicians in your local area that support hunting and fishing, consider standing yourself, either as an Independent, or with a pro-hunting and fishing party. In Australia, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) is pretty upfront about their support of hunters and the outdoor lifestyle, though by no means are they a one-trick party. They have policies that cover a broad spectrum of community issues.
- The pen is mightier than the sword. There is definitely power in taking the time to contact politicians rather than just add a signature to a petition. At the end of the day, they are public servants, which means they work for you. You are their boss. They actually have an obligation to listen to the concerns raised by their electorate. Hold them to account for the decisions that they make that negatively affect us, as a community. Send a letter or email, or better yet, call or ask for an appointment to meet your local member of parliament.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Support the organisations that are out there fighting on your behalf to educate the public and lobby governments for change.
What is I Am Hunter?
I Am Hunter wants to change the way hunting is perceived and to change the conversation from a negative one driven by anti-hunters to a positive one led by hunters.
Our goal is to help hunters become positive role models and ambassadors for hunting, while simultaneously helping non-hunters understand why hunting is important.
You can become a supporter and help us achieve our goal and spread a positive message about hunting with the wider community.