To hunt or not to hunt

Why do people who don't know or care anything about hunting, feel indebted to express their opinions and to pass judgment on hunting?





By Dwight Schuh, Senior Editor


Why do people who don't know or care anything about hunting, feel indebted to express their opinions and to pass judgment on hunting? I can understand attacks from animal rights fanatics, whose motives are clear enough. But many writers and "journalists" who attack hunting aren't really animal rightists. They simply seem compelled to express their views and opinions on any and all topics. Why? I've come up with three reasons.

Pure Ignorance


In his commentary on 60 Minutes on November 26, 2002, Andy Rooney started out talking about newspapers. "Newspapers are better than they used to be," he starts out innocuously enough.

But two paragraphs down he digresses into this: "The Burlington Free Press has a story about shooting deer with a bow and arrow. Hunting deer with a rifle is one thing but shooting at anything with a bow and arrow is barbaric. Imagine all the places you could hit a deer with an arrow and not kill it."

The only possible explanation for that statement is pure ignorance. Apparently, as he reads through the newspaper, Rooney discovers something called bowhunting. He obviously knows nothing about it, but what difference does that make? Andy, being Andy, is qualified to form a judgment on any topic, and since he has a forum for spewing that judgment to the world, why not?

If Andy comments from a point of such ignorance on the topic of bowhunting, how do we know he doesn't do the same in all of his commentaries? Heck, Mickey Rooney could do better than that, and he's dead. Actually, Mickey Mouse could do better. (If you want to tell CBS what you think of Mickey and his commentaries, go to www.cbsnews.com.)

Orchestrated Bias

In the spring of 2001, ABC Primetime (www.abcnews.com) presented a report on the Safari Club. Now, we can all form our own opinions on SCI, and not even all hunters would agree here. But that's not the point. The point is that ABC presented a one-sided view of SCI without ever looking at all the good things the organization does (SCI has probably put more money into wildlife conservation than all animal rights groups combined). Even more to the point, by extension, Primetime vilified SCI in order to orchestrate a statement about hunting in general  — that a few bad apples mean the whole barrel is bad.

Now you would think a news medium like ABC would take an objective, unbiased view, wouldn't you? Fat chance. Who was their expert witness on the Safari Club and trophy hunting? Wayne Pacelle, of the Humane Society of the United States. Do you think Wayne Pacelle presented a favorable view? Or even an objective view? Fat chance.

Oh, ABC did quote a couple of SCI guys, but only to make them look like buffoons. The network certainly didn't interview any respected hunters or professional biologists who could have shed a positive light on - and the truth about - hunting. Again, when a network airs such orchestrated bias in relation to one topic, can we believe any of their presentations? You decide.

Personal Feelings

On December 6, 2002, National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com) ran an essay called "To Hunt or Not to Hunt," by Rod Dreher. It was subtitled, "Confessions of a one-time deer slayer."

The story begins: "I was a successful deer hunter exactly once. And it was the last day I ever hunted deer. Killing that big, beautiful animal for no good reason left me disgusted with myself."

He goes on to describe the events of that horrid day in graphic detail. To punctuate the trauma he suffered from hunting, he later tells how he shot a squirrel, which did not die immediately. "What, for God's sake, was the point of this?" he agonizes.

In essence, his essay makes a broad statement about hunting based on his personal feelings and observations. He was hunting "for no good reason," because "I didn't want to hunt deer for sport (I didn't eat venison)" And, of course, he takes the obligatory pot shot at SCI and its "rich men who pay tens of thousands of dollars for the dubious privilege of shooting rare animals, many of them virtually caged" Finally, he concludes by telling how his dad, who was a good hunter and had "over 30 whitetail bucks- on his tally sheet" gave up hunting because he got tired of killing, as if this was the moral high ground.

Far be it from me or Bowhunter magazine to try to convince anyone they should hunt. That's a personal decision, and hunting is not for everyone. But to suggest that because hunting is wrong for one person (Dreher), or that because some people ostensibly hunt for the wrong reasons (rich SCI guys), or because one man (his dad) got tired of killing animals, means hunting is fundamentally wrong is absurd.

If guys like Dreher want to contemplate their bellybuttons, fine. But why do they feel indebted to share the contents of their bellybuttons with the rest of the world? The fact that an individual was hunting "for no good reason," doesn't mean the rest of us do. Some of us hunt for very good reasons, and we get tired of the attacks by ignorant people who don't understand that.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Bowhunter TV's Derek Mleynek and Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson head to Texas for a late-season mixed bag hunt that promises plenty of action.

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson spot-and-stalks hogs and whitetails in Texas.

Daytime Bighead Carp Bowfishing

Daytime Bighead Carp Bowfishing

Curt Wells is with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team as they set their sights on bighead carp during the day in Kentucky.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

Team Bowhunter makes its annual pilgrimage to the elk-rich high country of Colorado's Cross Mountain Ranch.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting. How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely. Scouting Tools

Advancements in Rangefinder Technology Through the Years

Chuck Adams

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely.

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant. Other Game

Massive Alaskan Brown Bear is the New World Record

Lynn Burkhead - October 18, 2018

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't the ethical choice. Conservation

Is it Ethical to Take Long-Distance Bowhunting Shots?

Curt Wells

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't...

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall. How-To

Late-Summer Scouting Mistakes to Avoid

Tony J. Peterson

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall.

New tech has made hunting more efficient, but it also raises several questions about ethics and tradition. How-To

No Secrets with Modern Hunting Technology

Dwight Schuh

New tech has made hunting more efficient, but it also raises several questions about ethics...

Map out killer stand locations using map-based tools. How-To

How to Find Public Land Hunting Spots with Apps

Darron McDougal - October 30, 2019

Map out killer stand locations using map-based tools.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now