Hunting is Doomed, Exhibit B

Despite not being a hunter myself, I’ve “unliked” a lot of pages on Facebook this week over the outrage regarding Melissa Bachman’s South African safari. It’s not that I think people can’t have different opinions about hunting, but at least know what it is you’re really opposing before getting worked up and outraged. I’ve also just hit my limit for people who preach tolerance and understanding, but who then turn around and display the opposite out of ignorance. My patience for it has worn out. Continuing on my assertion that hunting is in a lot of trouble, I bring you this from the comments of George Takei’s post joining in the Bachman hate:


This is the old “I’m a gun owner, but ….” just in another context. This kind of attitude is what’s going to kill hunting, because hunters still think it’s OK to argue about what hunting is and isn’t. This guy has just giving close to 6000 people, on a page “liked” by millions, moral cover for their outrage at a fellow hunter.├é┬áHunters will sell the animal rights movement the rope they will use to hang them. If you want to understand why in the shooting community, we’re so quick to knife traitors, this is why. Hunting has to develop the same kind of message discipline if they want their pastime to survive.

Hunting pays for the vast majority of wildlife conservation in this world, and hunters have been at the forefront of preserving nature and the environment. It was the famous hunter and president, Teddy Roosevelt, who helped establish the North American model for wildlife conservation. Hunting has a great story to tell. More importantly, it has a great green story to tell. It’s story has great appeal across a broad spectrum of non-hunters. But how can hunting tell its story when hunters are busier throwing other hunters under the bus than they are fighting for hunting’s future?

UPDATE: Why, for instance, did it take a non-hunter to put out a spectacular defense like this?

19 thoughts on “Hunting is Doomed, Exhibit B”

  1. Wait! Hunters selling someone out? Good thing I was sitting. That shock would have knocked me over.

    I seem to recall them being A-OK about banning semi-autos that looked scary as long as their type of gun for their style of shooting was safe.

    I don’t think they as a whole understand this politics thing.

  2. Part of the problem is the way we have defended hunting in the US. Instead of emphasizing hunting as moral if it does not harm a species, ehich would include trophy hunting, as in -all- properly managed hunting is morally acceptable; we allowed ourselves to adopt the pseudo-hippy “moral” position that only the mythical “Native American” model of “using every piece of what we kill” is moral and trophy hunting is a mere ego exercise for privileged, inherently environmentally destructive, white people.

    As noted above, because this claptrap has formed the narrative even hunters in the US who should know better fail to distinguish the difference in wildlife management reality between the US and other countries. Or even the difference between today’s need to control deer as pests and the modern American fair-chase ethic created when those species were threatened

    1. Nothing goes to waste in nature, unless you bury it deep enough, burn it, or otherwise destroy it, and even then it’s really not entirely wasted. If you took your trophy, even if you wasted everything else, it’s a boon for carrion feeders. I agree that any hunting that is not inherently damaging to the species is moral.

  3. I’m not a hunter, but…

    I could care less how offensive hunting is, since it’s the same people and mentality that feeds anti-gun hysterics. There is no conversation there, only emotion. Try to point out facts about conservation and you get memes hurled back at you.

    And, yeah, hunters don’t get politics, at least the ones we call FUDDS for good reason. I think we’ve found the root of the problem on our side… If you can even call some of them on our side.

  4. It is pretty hard to get into hunting if your family didn’t do it.

    I took it up when I moved to Alaska. I only started because hunter’s ed isn’t mandatory up there, so I could go small game hunting basically on a whim.

    I understand why hunter’s ed is required in more densely populated areas, but it is a big barrier to entry. There are lots of other barriers to entry… in many places the regulations are obscure and complicated, there can be a lot of gear, etc. Some states have some “apprentice” type laws that let people go out with a friend or family member who is trained which helps lower the barrier somewhat.

    Most damningly, I’ve found that many hunters are not accepting of new people in the hobby. They don’t want to share their honey hole, technique, or whatever. Too many hunters think that their hobby would be better off if there were fewer hunters. I don’t think they realize that their hobby will be politically extinguished.

    Frankly I think it is great for gun rights that the majority of gun owners now own guns for personal protection or targets as opposed to hunting. I’ve found the general shooting “gun culture 2.0” (and even gun culture 1.0 stuff like High Power competition) to be very welcoming and open, which bodes well for the future compared to an exclusionary mindset.

    1. Boom.

      Nailed it. As Senastian and I’ve discussed Hunter Ed us a MASSIVE barrier to entry. And should be exhibit A of Hubters trying to cut a deal to look reasonable and responsive to bigoted anti gun and anti hunting (but I repeate myself) politicians and activists but in fact creating a system that becomes the rope we hang ourselves with.

      Just like with guns, I’ll take anyone out anywhere who hasn’t hunted before. In Virginia you can get an apprentice license cheap. In Maryland, unfortunately, without Hunter Safety you can only get a 3 day waterfowl/small game license.

      If anyone wants to hunt deer, duck, moose, bear, hogs let me know. ( I’ve never shot a bear, but . . .)

  5. Whenever I run into a Fudd, I remind them of one really ugly fact: most of us “extremists” are trying to defend gun rights because of self-defense. If the right to protect yourself from a murderer, rapist, or robber isn’t sufficient reason to own a gun, what makes you think that having a gun for entertainment is going to be a good enough reason?

    We all hang together, or we will most assuredly all hang separately.

    1. Agreed. I also want to make it clear I don’t lump all hunters into the FUDD category, just the narrow few (hopefully narrow) who care not a luck about any gun right unless it applies specifically to them. I personally don’t know any FUDD types as I have been blessed to come across hunters who are gun 2.0ers themselves.

  6. It’s not like Bachman shot a young breeding age lion in the wild or in a national park. Hunting in South Africa is almost entirely private fenced ranch hunting. Now, these ranches are 30+ sq. mi. It’s not like they are tiny. You can hunt any animal you like on these ranches. If the ranch doesn’t have one they’ll get you one. They will find a half blind near death lion for you to hunt. The conservation model in Africa works very well. Hunting is for profit and the profit is what keeps heard healthy and growing. The is no incentive for ranch owners to decimate a heard or to kill the young breeding aged animals. If you want, you can check out the ranch my friends family runs. HV Safaris. While I’m not a trophy hunter, I most certainly do support it. The story that’s not being told is the the lion was butchered and enjoyed by the families of the ranch hands. It did not go to waste.

  7. I hunt and all my friends hunt. In our very wide range of acquaintances, no person is even remotely a holder of the “Fudd” ideas summarized in this post and the comment thread.

    The blowhards who spout off on social media, like Peter Herbert (whoever that was) are just attention hos. They may think their own notion of “correct hunting principles” is superior (I’ve never even heard of his “three rules”) but they are just speaking to hear themselves speak.

    Don’t misinterpret drivel as representing hunters just because the internet has given idiots a free pulpit.

  8. I just dont understand why people don’t get that Africa isn’t made up of a bunch of bleeding heart hippies who would gladly get eaten to save a lion.

    The only reason the lion in the pictures lived long enough to have a mane that huge is because the locals around it didn’t shoot it first. The only reason they didn’t shoot it is because they new rich westerners would come and pay a metric crapload of money to shoot it.

    Either way the lion gets shot, one way it’s shot in a nice manageable way that won’t decimate the population, in the other the population will be decimated. Add in the fact the metric crapload of money goes to the villagers and people where the hunting lodge is based means they have even less reason to shoot a lion that might eat their animals.

    It’s the same thing with giant white tail deer with bigass antlers. That deer probably dipped its dick in every female deer in his range for years. Including his daughters, granddaughters, great-grand daughters, and probably his mother once or twice too. That much in breeding can’t be good. So shoot the old big giant antlered deer so a bunch of younger deer take over his land and breed with his daughters and grand daughters making the genetics better.

    I mean come on do you want deer to end up like the British Royal Family?

    1. Have you been to Africa? They way you’re describing it is nothing like the way it is there. I’ve been there and hunted there. It’s and annual trip but not always for hunting. The game ranches are almost exclusively owned by whites. These are 5 star lodges. Shooting a lion costs upwards of $40,000. There are few lions in the wild, outside of protected national parks. Kudu and the various forms of boks are the predominate mammals (think jumbo sized deer, and miniature sized deer.) The poor black population show little interest in hunting, they do seem to be more into fishing due to the low cost of supplies.

      1. Way too rich for my bank acct but I certainly wouldn’t try to stop someone from enjoying it.

        The comments about Hunter Education courses is curious.
        In AZ it’s only for kids under 14 that want to hunt big game.
        Are you folks saying that HE is required for adults too?

        1. In most of the country, yes. I can’t get a hunting license in PA, or any nearby state, without first taking hunter’s ed.

          1. I’ve only hunted in WI, SD, MN and AZ, so having to get a class to do what comes natural is amazing to me.
            This stuff definitely falls in the “Petty Tyrants & Nannies” category that Bitter talked about.

            1. KM,

              To be fair, Hunter’s Ed has correlated with a dramatic reduction in injuries and accidents. In more populated areas there can be significant risks; a .22 fired in a 10 acre wood lot in an unsafe manner can easily land in the subdivision right next door. Hunting out west is way different from in the East.

              Even some of the states you mention have hunter’s ed requirements now.

              “Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have completed a hunter education course and show the certificate to purchase any hunting license in Wisconsin.”

              I think the happy medium in the more populated areas is some sort of more flexible program that lets newcomers participate without the class under certain conditions. For example, if accompanied by someone who is trained, if they have a reasonable substitute qualification (any NRA “Basic” class or CWP should suffice for basic gun safety), if they’re using a lower-risk hunting tool like archery or a shotgun, etc.

            2. In all those states, in fact in every state, there is a hunter ed requirement. Basically its some form of the following:

              In order to purchase a hunting license, you must complete hunter education. If you were born before _____ date, or held a license before ____ date, you are not required to complete hunter ed.

              You don’t need to attend a class in every state. I’ve hunted in VT, PA, NJ, VA, MD, WV, NC, TN, GA, Fl, TX, OK, SD, MN, IA. I’m sure there’s some other places too. In all of them it was sufficient to have shown I had taken hunter ed somewhere.

              The problem becomes a timing one. Someone decideds fall has arrived, their friends are going hunting, maybe they will give it a try. Ooops, you can’t. You need to take hunter ed. And there may only be one class held within an hour of your home. Perhaps at 5pm a couple nights in a row. And, it was booked up 6 months in advanced. Guess what, you have to wait till the next year to remember, 6 monhts, that you wanted to take hunter ed.

              That’s basicaly the situation my son is in. He’s 11. Decided he wanted to go hunting on the Youth Hunting day in maryland, where we have a beautiful hunting lease. ooops, he can’t. Maybe he will get to go next year. An adult, will likely not return next year to get a license.

              Virginia has introduced an “apprentice” hunting program that gets around some of this. I can take someone hunting who has never hunted before, regardless of age. Their apprentice license is much cheaper than a regular hunting license, but they can only hunt If I am in their immediate presence.

              Some states let you get a short term (ie: 3 day small game) license without the hunter ed requirement.

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