Too many hunters are sending the wrong message when they get overly excited on camera after a kill. Act like you’ve been there before.
Ed. Note: Tom Cappell is a veteran shooter, hunter, and writer from Missouri whose views on the outdoors and the outdoors industry are thought-provoking and always responsible. We’ve published his columns previously on Press Pros, and filling in this week for Jim Morris we thought you’d enjoy his latest submission on a subject about which he’s bold to address.
By Tom Cappell
With increased scrutiny on guns, shooting, and the recreation of the shooting sports, attitudes with hunting must change to preserve and justify one of our most treasured traditions.
Before another deer season gets here; before another season of hunting shows on the Outdoor, Pursuit, and Sportsman channels is produced and broadcast, there must be some consideration for what’s being viewed, and how the tradition of harvesting wild game is being processed by those in our culture intent on making guns and hunting a thing of the past.
I write this as one who’s hunted wild game for nearly half a century – as one who’s taken more deer than I can actually remember. Some say they can recall every detail of every animal they’ve ever shot, as well as the excitement. And I, too, recall the rush of being 11 years old and taking my first buck while my dad watched. But now the manner in which we share that story with the both the hunting public and the uninitiated must change.
What I’m talking about is an over-saturation of outdoors shows with big game hunting, and big game hunters, who like me have shot plenty of deer over the years, but probably get a little too excited over shooting one more.
I’m talking about those who fist-pump, high-five, dance around like teenage boys after their first backseat conquest, and literally hyperventilate on camera over the fact of having shot their latest, and biggest deer. I cringe now when I see it because it’s become almost embarrassing to watch knowing the majority of non-hunters watching must be thinking … “BARBARIC!”
Over course, hunting is not barbaric, and I can make any number of arguments of how thinning the herd is actually good for conservation and the future of wildlife. If for no better reason, you cannot have more animals on a range than there is food to sustain them.
I can certainly justify those, like me, who enjoy harvesting an animal for the meat which is absolutely healthier than the steak you buy in the grocery, for there is no consideration of how it was raised, fed, and butchered. In different words, you know exactly what you’re eating when you take the time to scout, harvest, and process the meat yourself.
But I’ve had enough of the over-glorification of killing a animal simply because it’s bigger than the one you shot last year. It sends the wrong message about hunting, as does the modern technology of hunting.
I understand that trail cameras make hunting easier, and more efficient. But it really isn’t hunting; it’s stalking, like peering in someone’s window after dark, almost voyeurism. The advantage is decidedly one-way, all hunter, and people who don’t hunt understand that, apparently, better than hunters. I can assure you. I’ve killed more than 50 deer in my life and I’ve never used a trail camera!
My point is to raise concern. In this day of concern over guns, gun ownership, and the ethical use of guns, hunters and the “hunting industry” owe it to themselves to ratchet down the act for television. Act with a bit more respect, not like Wild Bill Cody.
We all get excited. I understand that.
But there’s no justification to the argument that I’ve heard from some that their latest buck was just as exciting as the one they took when they were fifteen. That might be true. But in this day, and for the sake of our hunting future, we all need to express it differently.
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