Tag Archives: PETA

My Thoughts on Hunters Criticizing Hunters: Do it

Image: http://www.prohuntersjournal.com/

Image: http://www.prohuntersjournal.com/

By Jack Kredell

When did hunters become so sensitive? Every other week some think piece comes out in one of the major outdoor publications warning hunters about the dangers of criticizing other hunters. In the big hunting forum I frequent, whenever somebody posts something critical of high fence operations or comes out in favor of wolves, they get called an anti-hunter. You’d think we were the most sensitive group in America. Most recently, “Outdoor Life” published an article by hunter and blogger Tyler Freel that faithfully repeats the dogma:

Worse than any anti-hunter’s criticism is friendly fire, attacks from within our community of hunters. The only thing anti-hunters would love more than to see us destroy hunting from within is to see all hunting gone. I don’t know if hunters attacking and belittling each other’s methods is more common now than in the past, but it is certainly more audible and visible. And it’s often reduced to a simple and damning phrase: “That’s not hunting.”

This appeal to self-censorship is a disturbing trend within the outdoor community. It’s disturbing for several reasons, the most obvious being the apparent inability of hunters to deal with criticism. Another disturbing pattern is the deep and self-righteous investment in what non-hunters think of their activities. So much so that hunting is often depicted for them as opposed to other hunters. This kind of extreme reactionary behavior is the real reason why hunters and anti-hunters have a problem with one another. It’s how we’ve arrived at the silliness of people posting bloody grip and grins on Facebook and then getting upset when they’re called a monster. The problem comes from within, not from without.

Within, not from without: Hunters are afraid to pass judgment on one another because the mainstream elements of our culture tend to promote the view that our way of life is under attack from the outside. The modern hunter lives more or less in a constant state of emergency. There isn’t a day that goes by where the modern hunter’s inbox isn’t bombarded with emails begging for attention and money about this or that politician and this or that company refusing to accommodate gun owners. It follows a logic that we should all be familiar with from this political cycle: Blame anything or anybody for our problems except ourselves. Not enough jobs? Build a wall. Elk are all gone? Kill the wolves.

The idea is that we have to band together to combat this external threat, a threat that never actually occurs (meanwhile the guns and ammo fly off the shelves, and it’s a victory for the NRA). It’s ironic how the prohibition on judgment reproduces the very political correctness that annoys conservatives.

Does PETA want to end hunting? Yes. Are there lots of groups that would like to see an end to hunting? Sure. Is the EPA part of a liberal conspiracy to weaken industry from within and close rivers and streams to fishing? No. Did the auto insurance industry, in cahoots with state fish and wildlife agencies, introduce wolf-hybrid coyotes to the eastern United States to reduce deer vehicle collisions (many hunters in my state believe this)? Doubtful. The only way we’re going to get out of this insane deadlock between hunter-conservationists and environmentalists and between hunters and anti-hunters is if we mutually disown the more irrational elements of our respective sides and really come to terms with what we both want. Because I really do believe that the majority of us want a similar thing: Land that belongs to everyone and no one simultaneously and that anybody can enjoy the way they see fit.

We Hunters

An armed hunter backlit by a sunset

Image: www.montcodfa.org

By Jack Kredell

The hunting community, to borrow Benedict Anderson’s term, is an imagined community; a community whose popular or mass identity doesn’t reflect the behaviors, values, and opinions of its individual members. Of course it doesn’t. No community can accommodate all of its members, right? As a community we’ve agreed to put aside differences in order to unite against a common enemy. Once that enemy goes away we can go back to being different. But the enemy never goes away, does it?

Hunters, who is your real enemy? Democrats who want to take away your guns? The “antis” who hide under your bed and unload your hi-cap magazines while you sleep? PETA? Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Arms manufacturers love a Democratic president. Why? Because we think Democrats are coming for our guns.

The real threats to hunting and fishing are from the many forms of habitat loss, industrial pesticides, and pollution. But as a hunter you can’t care about those things or else you’re thinkin’ like an “anti”.

Right now, unfortunately, the hunting community is defined by its relation to the gun and other non-issues. We’re made to believe the Second Amendment is a central issue to the hunter. It isn’t. Gun politics has nothing to do hunting. The only thing that has ever put an end to hunting in the past is loss of habitat. And it will again.

To be a hunter in today’s climate carries with it a whole set of political and cultural expectations and concerns that have little or nothing to do with actual hunting. We hunters need to wake up. Those of us who actually hunt know that hunting is being undermined from within not from without. It is being undermined by the mindset that our enemy wants to take away our ‘right’ to hunt.

You’re worried about PETA and Obama? You’re actually worried about what PETA and the Humane Society think of what you do?

The real question is this: will there be anything or anywhere to hunt in the end? The irony is that we hunters have more in common with the very hippies we like to make fun of.

We both just want green acres.