A hunting blogger recently opened debate about supposed “high-fenced hunting” and preserve hunting. He has since added to it and I haven’t fully caught up. However, based on the opening of the post, I had to say something. My comments focus on the hunting community given the context. But, I think it easily translates into discussions we have about the shooting sports and gun ownership in general. So, without further delay, here it is:
If we, the hunting population start to define what hunting is, where will it stop?
In the spirit of Fark, THIS!
This right here, in my opinion is the biggest threat to hunting. Yes, there are huge legal and cultural threats, too. But, ultimately, when I see the community dividing over really stupid issues (the most divisive and common I see is related to access), that’s where I see the downfall of hunting.
Yes, I recognize that my use of the term “stupid issues” isn’t making the conversation any easier. I realize there are valuable opinions on many sides of any given issue. On the other hand, I want to grab many I have had to deal with by the shoulders and shake them violently while screaming, “Do you want your sport to die, you freakin’ idiot?” But, if it helps, I think the same thing about many sport shooters I encounter, too. :)
In PA, the latest debate was over expanding crossbow use. I kid you not, I met several guys who were more outraged over that decision than they would have been if the had cut all hunting seasons in half. Sebastian was talking to one outdoor writer here who was just laughing about the entire thing. He pointed out that these very same people and groups screamed as loudly about compound bows years ago – and now they would scream bloody murder if you tried to restrict compound bows. Meanwhile, as non-hunters who care about the issue, Sebastian & I are wondering why, if it has the possibility of opening up hunting to a slightly broader audience, bow hunters are seeking to shut it down.
Hunters have got to start getting on the same page if they hope to keep the sport alive for their kids and grandkids. That doesn’t mean that every hunter has to agree on every issue. It means that the first question asked should be whether the subject at hand (property access, apprentice hunting, license changes, rifle/bow/whathever use, preserves, etc.) has an opportunity to open up the sport to new or no longer active participants. If the answer is yes (and it will be most of the time), then the discussion should really just be a matter of weighing the costs and benefits. I think even changing how those issues are debated will get more hunters closer to the same page.
Sorry for such a long comment that doesn’t directly address the issue at hand. But, I think the point you made is particularly relevant to many of the debates in the community.
Before any shooters jump on the bandwagon with the idea that we’re superior to hunting in that we don’t have these same divides, that’s simply not true. In fact, the perceived divide between shooting and hunting interests is a key example. I say perceived because I meet very few hunters who are willing or ready to throw shooters under the bus. But, I talk to an awful lot of shooters who make the accusation about hunters and therefore justify throwing hunting issues under the bus in the name of revenge. No movement is perfect, and we have divisions within the shooting community, just like they have divisions in the hunting community. It’s time to find ways to reshape some of our conversations about internal issues.
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