5 Ways PETA and Anti-Hunters are Winning

5 Ways PETA and Anti-Hunters are Winning

OK, so you just read the title of this article. You might be thinking, "What the hell is this guy talking about? Anti-hunters aren't winning."

By some figures, you'd be right. According to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Study, the number of Americans purchasing hunting licenses is trending upward for the first time in 25 years, as 13.7 million hunters drove $33 billion in revenue. The sale of guns and ammunition for hunting continues to roll along, and the economic engine fueled by those dollars funds over 600,000 jobs annually. Not to mention there's more hunting-oriented content in the media marketplace than ever before — a show about a crew of redneck hunters beat out American Idol in cable TV's ratings battle.

But that's not the whole story.

Behind groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Center for Biological Diversity, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and In Defense of Animals (IDA), the anti-hunting movement is strong'¦real strong. PETA's efforts to coerce, threaten and downright harass hunters is at an all-time high, and their sadistic misinformation campaigns continue to persuade independents that ethical hunting is the enemy.


We need to fight back harder and with a smarter tone. Resting on our laurels is not an option, and neither is ignoring the ways antis are winning. Here are five examples of anti-hunting successes that can't be ignored and how we can fight back.


Pop Culture Presence

Let's face it, PETA has more high-profile celebrity dollars rolling in these days than the collection plate at the Church of Scientology. It's been the organization's calling card for years.

While we take pride in stars like Justin Tuck, Shaq, Tom Brokaw and Bo Jackson publicly enjoying hunting pursuits, it's just not the same as stripping down for a buck-naked photo shoot. PETA's celebrities go all out for the cause, including the famous shot of a bikini-clad Pam Anderson labeled and ready to head to the butcher's table.

Take, for instance, PETA's annual Sexiest Vegetarian Contest. They line up and trot out dozens of celeb carrot eaters for an online vote and advertise the heck out of the promotion. Almost every celebrity entered tweets or posts to Facebook in support of the effort, further widening PETA's pop culture reach. It's that reach and committed advocacy that sets this anti-hunting group apart from their opponents. While many high-profile athletes, politicians and country singers kill animals and eat meat, few take their passions to the airwaves with as much tenacity as PETA's Tinseltown followers. Those that do — including former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan — are often met with public pushback. That needs to change.

Reaching Independents

What better way to get someone's attention than a banned Super Bowl ad featuring a hot chick in lingerie humping asparagus? That's just what PETA did during this year's big game with a promotion that got national play — mostly negative, but there's no bad press as far as PETA's concerned. Suddenly, PETA was trending on Twitter and even the most disinterested parties were talking about the outlandish stunt.

That's how PETA gets the job done. They bake their message into a non-endemic, lowest common denominator message that everyone can't help but watch. Then, as if almost by osmosis, non-hunters are thinking about veggies.

That's where I fault the outdoor industry's media contingent (myself included). We preach to the choir way too much.

Of course, I understand that the Petersen's Hunting brand has always been catered to the hardcore hunter, and that's how it should stay, but I think we often miss the chance to reach independent folks. These are non-hunters who have never tried, but probably would if presented with a logical cost-benefit analysis. Our continued efforts here at HUNTING will be to reach the folks in the middle. And as far as PETA's concerned, sometimes you've got to fight fire with fire.

Public Protests

Here's the problem with the anti-hunting contingent's propensity to protest: The screaming idiot with the sign often becomes the news story.

New Jersey's annual bear hunt is one stark example. The headlines in the local and regional newspapers led not with the hunters' efforts of conservation or the economic impact that the third annual black bear hunt provides, but with the fact a few dozen individuals were protesting outside the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area office in Fredon. The antis had a permit granted by the Department of Environmental Protection that allowed them to begin at 10 a.m., and came right on time holding 'œPeace on Earth' signs and shouting at passers by.

Same thing happened in Las Cruses, N.M., in February at the 2013 Predator Masters Annual Hunt & Convention. No news stories about how well the convention went or how many ethical and conservation-minded hunters were able to enjoy the day; instead we have to read about 65 folks who disagreed with the reason for the event. This protest also further promoted House Bill 316, state representative Nate Cote's bill aimed at banning mislabeled 'œanimal-killing contests,' in reference to some coyote hunting contests held in the state.

Peddling Stereotypes

The antis favorite stereotype for us is the blood thirsty 'œtrophy hunter.' They peddle it whenever and wherever possible and use these easy entry points to coerce others into believing their flawed rationale.

HUNTING favorite Melissa Bachman saw the full muscle of these attacks last year when over 14,000 people signed a petition started on Change.org to prevent her from taking part in the National Geographic show on Alaskan adventure and survival. Nat Geo eventually gave in to the pressure from groups labeling Bachman — a lifelong hunter who has found great success in recent years as a outdoor TV producer, writer, personality and advocate for women in the field — as a blood thirsty trophy hunter who kills for sport.

These same social media extremists started the Facebook page 'œCorey Cogdell Is Not Welcome In Africa,' in which some less-than-civil criticism was levied against the Olympic shooter for posting a grip-and-grin with a kudu (pictured here). They also attacked the Trump Brothers in the media for a completely legal and ethical hunt in Africa.

These stereotypes are what antis thrive on, and when all the public sees in controversy, the heart of the hunting issue is drowned out for good.

Hunter vs. Hunter

While PETA's 3 million reported members and supporters are rallying against hunting, we often focus our efforts on infighting.

The list of debates in hunting is as long as our history and, for sure, everyone has a right to his or her own opinion. But I've had more debates about high fences, fair chase, crossbows, long range shooting and Sunday hunting with other hunters than I've had about how we should best go up against PETA.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good debate about the ethics and reasoning behind our pursuits, and I don't think that should go away. I do think we should table those ideas sometimes for a larger debate, like how we combat Pam Anderson's naked rear-end and a chick rubbing up on some asparagus. We need to defend our own and maybe next time we can help Melissa Bachman keep her spot on cable TV — just some food for thought.

Recommended for You

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results. Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right track. North America

Big-Game Adventure Beckons in Quebec

Lynn Burkhead

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right...

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great fishing and plenty of bears. North America

Bear Hunting Makes Quebec the Ultimate Springtime Destination

Lynn Burkhead - February 01, 2019

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 14: Swamp Bulls

With his Mozambique forest bull in the salt, Craig Boddington sets his sights on the Marromeu grasslands in pursuit of a swamp buffalo.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Stories

More News

A magnificent male specimen of charismatic megafauna is shot and killed and the public erupts in News

Hunting Without Apology

Thomas McIntyre - October 03, 2016

A magnificent male specimen of charismatic megafauna is shot and killed and the public erupts...

Get the full story behind the late KUIU founder's record-book California ram. News

Goliath: Jason Hairston's Record-Book Ram

Andrew McKean - September 11, 2018

Get the full story behind the late KUIU founder's record-book California ram.

Mike Fies was home getting ready for Christmas when his boss called. A woman not far from Fies' News

Ghost Cats: Eastern Cougars Don't Exist!

David Hart - October 24, 2016

Mike Fies was home getting ready for Christmas when his boss called. A woman not far from...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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