Protecting Our Image in the Digital Age

Protecting Our Image in the Digital Age

What is the biggest driver of anti-hunting propaganda in recent years? HSUS? PETA? WWF? All good answers, but I would suggest looking a little closer

to home.

In the social networking era, hunters are driving far more fence-sitters and non-hunters to the other side than all of the anti-hunting groups combined.

Thousands of regular folks have been motivated to hate the sport of hunting.Photo via Star Tribune.

What do Kendall Jones, the Trump brothers, Bob Parson (CEO of GoDaddy), and Rebecca Francis all have in common?

All hunters, yes, but more importantly by sharing their trophy photos online they motivated hundreds of thousands of regular folks to hate the sport of hunting.

Rights vs. Common Sense

We have every right to post our photos on Facebook and other social websites, but we need to stop and ask the question why do we want to do so on a platform that has a proven track record of hurting our cause?

The easy answer is because we want an easy way to share our passion and success with likeminded people. Fair enough. But at what cost? If antis grab on to the photo (which they often do) and use it to drive attention and money to stop hunting, is it really worth it?

"Try to remember that and post an image that captures the experience and not just the end result."

I have little hope of changing the ill-informed, misguided beliefs of anti-hunters. The group I do try to sway is the 80 percent of the public that really don't care one way or the other. They aren't writing checks to support anti-hunting groups, or petitioning lawmakers to stop hunting, or emailing airlines to stop carrying animal trophies as cargo — until trophy photos are shoved in their face and tick them off. Then they organize en masse and turn anti-hunting with a vengeance.

And to make matters worse, it is not just antis using Facebook to push their agenda. In many cases Facebook is helping them with their goals.

Law of Unintended Consequences

How else can one explain shutting down and blocking hunters' photos of trophy animals while allowing the same photos to appear on pages raising money and awareness for anti-hunting groups? Make no mistake about it: Facebook is not our friend and has done us no favors.

As for me, going forward when I kill an animal I want my friends to see, I'll email it to them. If I want to get back into the social networking game, there are other places that are hunter friendly, such as GSN Campfire.

How do we want to showcase hunting? Photo by Kali Parmley

I understand that Facebook is such an integral part of life today, stopping hunters from posting is not going to happen, but please think about how we want to showcase hunting.

How about a group shot of buddies in front of a wall tent on an elk hunt? Or a selfie from your tree-stand with a doe walking by? Or the sun rising over a spread of decoys? What we do is beautiful and the dead animal at the end is just a small part of the experience. Try to remember that and post an image that captures the experience and not just the end result.

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