Freedom of Expression or Are We Poking a Giant

*OPINION- Many of you will disagree with what you’re about to read. That’s ok. I’m not telling you to change the way you’ve been doing things. I’m only asking you to think about  what long-term consequences our actions on social media can have.

The freedom to express ourselves, as individuals, as Americans, as hunters, is something we enjoy in this country. We can get away with saying almost anything these days. That’s especially true when hidden behind a keyboard. You have undoubtedly seen arguments over personal opinion that the owner expressed as a fact, starting an opinion war in forums, blogs, or social media. The great thing about being a human is we are all different, with different opinions and ideas. I see things a little differently; however, when it comes to expressing opinions and gallivanting our hunting heritage for the world full of “antis” to see. Let me explain:

Hunters are less than 6% of the population. Keep that number in your head. Are you aware of what minority opinion groups in this country are doing right now to monuments, outside rallies, and on the lawn of the white house? People have taken freedom to express themselves to a new limit in 2017. “I can do whatever I want, and say whatever I want”, is the current definition to most. If it offends them, they want it gone. What worries me most is when I see hunters have this attitude.

I’ve seen hoards of hunters since the dawn of social media defend their photos and videos that the majority of the remaining 94% of the country may find despicable. “I’m not changing for anyone”. Or, “If they don’t like it they don’t have to look.”  No one is getting politically correct here. I too could not care less what an “anti” thinks about my kill photos. I don’t say harvest, I say kill. I don’t hide the real reason I hunt behind the excuse that, “I only want to provide clean meat for my family.” That’s not why most of us started hunting and its only a nice perk to why I hunt. Let’s just be honest with ourselves. We do it because we love the chase. We love the feeling it gives us. We love being outdoors and we love sharing the experience with our friends. There is nothing wrong with any of that. Continue to be proud of the title ” Bowhunter”. Don’t hide that!

However, what needs to change with hunters, and fisherman alike (PETA doesn’t like fishing either… FYI) is the blatant poking of the majority GIANT, and the neglect of animals in our kill photos that we choose to post online. Remember how many hunters there are? 6% of Americans! We are a tiny percentage of the total population. That alone is what makes our opposition a giant. Not their scare factor or ability to threaten. If they really got fired up enough, lets be honest, there’s not much we could do to stop them. With that being said, I don’t find the PETA profile picture trend cute… at all. It puts our way of life in a light we don’t want it to be in. While I too found it hilarious at first, I am reminded that both they and Facebook are on the same side, which happens to be the opposite of ours. Doing something because you can, and it’s funny doesn’t make it right.

The other instance is being more respectful in our kill photos. Why give the opposition more fuel? Why not be proud of the animal we worked so hard to outsmart, and why not make a lasting memory and nice looking photo? If we didn’t respect the animal we hunt we would not go to such great lengths to chase and ultimately kill them. It’s no secret that they successfully outsmart us most of the time. Why downgrade the instincts, intelligence and beauty of our quarry by leaving them a bloody mess in photos?  Cut the tongue off or tuck it in. Take the photo on the ground, not in the back of your truck. Clean the excessive blood off. This is a blood sport indeed, but there’s just no need to have the animal covered in blood when you take a photo for all the world to see.

I have probably upset some of you with this opinion. That’s ok. I’m not telling you to change the way you’ve been doing things. I’m only asking you to reflect; to think about who sees your photos and what long-term consequences poking the “majority giant” will have on the sport, passion, and way of life we all enjoy and love so dearly. While being a proud hunter, protect and defend hunting. Don’t plaster it in what will surely be taken as negative light for the “antis” to see. The actions of a Louisiana Bowhunter should be a reflection of the evolution we’ve experienced as hunters. We have grown up! We have accepted a tougher challenge, welcomed the handicap of a bow and pursue an animal much more familiar with the turf in which we pursue it. Let our actions reflect the level of hunting we take part in.

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