Story and photos by: Lindsay Christensen
Our reputation as hunters is a fragile one, especially in today’s world.
Gone are the days when missing school for opening day of deer season was a normal and somewhat expected activity. What is “in” seems to be a society full of cyber trolls and internet bullies who are not held accountable for verbal attacks and harassing behaviors toward individuals who believe differently than they do. Even some legislative officials seem to be trying to take away our hunting rights. The result: a need to take every measure possible to prevent turning non-hunters into anti-hunters and educate anyone willing to listen about the importance of hunting in wildlife conservation. Many steps to educate and shed positive light on the hunting industry can be easily done through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. The following are some tips to make your next social media post a positive one for all hunters.
Choose Your Words Wisely
First, avoid using words such as, "killed, smoked, dusted, and destroyed." These words can symbolize violence, which many people translate into inhumane or cruel activities toward animals. Instead, talk about executing a perfect and ethical shot or harvesting the animal to feed your family. Soften the narrative to show appreciation for the experience or gratefulness.
Clean Up Before Picture Time
Make sure to clean up excess blood before snapping any photos. Sometimes, this is as simple as rotating the animal a bit or sprinkling dirt over any bloody rocks or vegetation in the area. Other times, it may take a little more work. You may need to use water and toilet paper from your pack to clean excess blood away. Bloodless photos help to portray a more peaceful ending to the animal’s life.
It's Not Just the Animal That Needs Cleaned Up
It is often a good idea to steer away from using images that include things like feeders, salt blocks, and fences. While hunting over a feeder or in a fenced area may be perfectly legal in some areas, it may look as if you are hunting pets or zoo animals to someone who doesn’t understand. Try to avoid creating this misperception.
Tell the Entire Story, not Just the Ending
Try making your social media post about something more positive than simply pulling the trigger. Talk about preparation leading up to the hunt, memories made and highs and lows experienced. Most people don’t realize the amount of time and dedication that go into a successful hunt. Success doesn’t always equate to having a dead animal at the end of a blood trail. Maybe you found a new waterhole, saw something you never have seen before or grew as an individual. There is so much that happens on a hunt beyond the kill.
Be Humble, Grateful and Honored
It is always a good idea to display gratitude to the animal for giving its life or to a higher power for allowing you to have an amazing opportunity at something that is truly incredible. Capture a few candid photos of the emotion of the hunt and not just “grip and grins.” Grip and grin photos can often be misconstrued as a representation of enjoyment or pleasure in taking a life when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Respond to Criticism with Education in Mind
Finally, be tactful in your responses to anti- or nonhunters. Please don’t attack them for their viewpoint or in some cases ignorance. Rather, thank them for their questions or comments and offer to educate them on the topic that you are so passionate about. Changing the views or perception of even one person may have a domino effect that could benefit hunters around the world.