Being an Ambassador for Hunting
By Will Bowen | PUBLISHED July 11th, 2023
As I scroll through my various social media accounts it’s becoming more apparent that an appreciation for the outdoor lifestyle is diminishing among the general public. It’s quite scary honestly. Hunting is not seen for what it is anymore, a key to conservation and an avenue for a subsistence lifestyle. It has taken a dark image amongst the uneducated anti-hunting crowd. It’s been quoted as being barbaric, unnecessary, and evil. But those who are familiar with hunting know this to be the farthest thing from the truth.
Hunting is fun. Hunting is challenging. Hunting is one of the keys to a self-sufficient lifestyle. Hunting isn’t about bringing pain to animals, it’s quite the opposite. Hunting is about being ethical and resourceful. This isn’t what the anti-hunters see or want to see. I can promise you there is no malice in my heart when I harvest an animal. There is a feeling of thankfulness and fulfilment. I don’t want this sport to go away. I want it to stay in its entirety for generations to come.
How do we fight this ever-growing crowd of hunting haters? I don’t have all the answers but the answer has to be a multifaceted approach. It also has to begin with the efforts of individuals. Big corporations and hunting media companies are great and most are doing a good job at portraying ethical and responsible hunting, but if the front line isn’t strong, we can’t expect to last forever.
All hunters need to act as ambassadors for the lifestyle. You might ask how do I do this? Here are some things you can do to be a good ambassador for hunting:
Stop the Senseless Arguing
The hunting community has a lot of internal strife that needs to be addressed before we take on anyone else. So many senseless arguments exist in the sport like archery vs firearm, public land vs private land, and bow vs crossbow. Does any of this really matter? As long as what you are doing is legal and ethical, nobody has the right to tell you that what you are doing is illegitimate. Hunters are some of the worst at eating their own. We have to stop this.
Don’t Apologize, Educate
If you are a passionate hunter who likes to share your passion with others, you are destined to eventually encounter someone who disagrees with you. And when this happens you will have the perfect opportunity to state your case. Don’t present your argument angrily or with an apologetic tone. In this case, try to educate. Lay out the tenants of conservative harvest, the use of wild meat, and the amount of money raised for wildlife conservation by America’s hunters. Be warned though, even if you lay out the best presentation possible you could still be met with opposition or hate. Take it with grace and move on.
Give to a Conservation Organization
Hunters need to be challenged to put their money where their mouth is. I know money is tight nowadays but if you have the available funds to donate I promise it’ll be worth it. If you don’t have much, start by just joining a conservation organization! Many organizations charge a $25-$50 annual fee and offer free gifts or magazine subscriptions. And your money goes straight towards aiding conservation. There are so many good groups out there to join or donate money to but a few of my personal favorites include the National Wild Turkey Federation, the National Deer Association, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
Offer to Mentor a New Hunter
There are so many people out there who aren’t opposed to hunting but don’t know anything about it. There are also many out there who would be willing to try it but have no known ways to enter the sport or know of anybody that can help them along the way. This is where established hunters should step in. Know anybody in your circle that has a genuine interest in hunting? Offer to take them! It doesn’t have to be a hardcore, public-land whitetail hunt, it could be a simple as a squirrel hunt or rabbit hunt. If you want to build the hunting community, we have to ensure that new hunters’ first experiences are fun and easily repeatable. Be a hunting mentor, you could possibly change somebody’s life.
Being an ambassador for hunting is more than buying your tags every year and changing your social media profile pictures to your latest kill. It’s about representing the lifestyle and aiding in building its defense. It’s about being generous and helping the next generation. It’s ensuring that hunting will be around way longer than we will. I love this life and know you do to, lets fight for it. Let’s all be ambassadors for hunting.