If you scroll through popular photos on Facebook or Instagram, it won’t take you long to find a photo with a long comments section jam packed with argumentative tones. People somehow turn a proud hunter’s hero shot into an online keyboard battle that gets off-topic quickly. We need to stop. Those who are not in support of our hunting and outdoor lifestyle take note and see how we treat one another. They must be thinking, “If the hunting community treats each other that way, imagine how they treat non-hunters.” Hunters need to protect our tradition and outdoor lifestyle. It’s time we start playing on the same team.
Division Among Us
It’s easy to turn on the news today and see great division being highlighted each night throughout our country. However, it shouldn’t be just as easy to log into Instagram and see hunters doing the exact same thing. Of course, 90% of keyboard arguments would never take place in person. Social media is an easy place to spew your thoughts without thinking twice about the repercussions. Since they travel the country and meet a variety of different people on land throughout the U.S, I asked The Hunting Public’s, Aaron Warbritton, what he thought of division among hunters and those in the outdoor space. Aaron told me, “If we focus on the core reasons why folks hunt, you’ll notice there is very little division among us. Most people hunt for food, thrill of the chase, and to spend quality time with friends and family.”
Aaron is stressing the fact we all need to find common ground. This isn’t an unbeatable battle between us hunters. Let’s solve it by playing on the same team and understand that most of us heading to the field have common goals.
As with many other facets of life, things are never quite as bad as they seem. Why is that? I venture to guess it has a lot to do with human psychology. Our brains trigger thoughts and actions that are exaggerated and make things out to be worse than they are. If the hunting community was as bad as things sometimes appear to be—the next industry trade show or consumer show would have fistfights breaking out on the floor. But that won’t happen.
Are Things as Bad as They Seem?
Warbritton agreed with my sentiments and said, “Things are almost never as bad as they seem on social media. I think about it this way. Look at the time you spend arguing with folks on social media. How much time did it take out of your day? What else could you have done with that time? It’s not hard to think of something more productive to do.”
Aaron admits to being in his fair share of keyboard battles throughout the years and claims, “Most of them ended the same way, with me angry and in a bad mood. I’m speaking from experience here, friends, learn to walk away.”
Ditch Your Qualifying Checklist
You’ve no doubt heard the qualifiers that some social media police like to lay down when they encounter a trophy photo – You didn’t shoot that buck from a saddle? You still wear that camo? You hunt from a ladder stand? Why on earth would you shoot that buck with a crossbow from a box blind? Must be nice to have food plot implements.
If you scroll through social media, it can sometimes appear that you are completely removed from the popularity contests that are taking place among the hunting community. We need to get rid of our mental checklist that makes one hunter’s kill more qualified than another.
Sure, it’s impressive if someone kills a 170” deer from the ground on highly pressured public land after hiking a mile through swamps and bedding areas. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cheer for the guy or gal shooting solid deer on private land from a box blind over a manicured food plot on prime ground in the Midwest.
I get it. Sometimes comparing people’s success stories is like comparing strength of schedule in college football between a team from the SEC and a team from the MAC conference. Last I checked, we’re not competing against one another in the hunting community. We’re on the same team, and we should start thinking like it.
Not that outdoor marketing is the only contributing factor, but the commercialization of hunting has in some ways taken away from the original purpose we seek the outdoors. “There are plenty of issues in the hunting community, but we see hunters helping each other all the time when we meet folks on public land,” says Warbritton. “Hunters are a resilient group. If anyone can come together, it’s us.”
We Need Collaboration Now More Than Ever
Few things garner positive attention more than the collaboration of people or brands. The 2020 year destroyed a lot of economies, but it didn’t destroy the hunting industry—at least in terms of numbers. More and more people are buying hunting licenses and getting outdoors to find release from the everyday world we live in. Let’s all take advantage of this surge and grow the sport with a friend or family member, and find a non-hunter to spark conversation with.
We need to find common ground and share our outdoor lifestyle with hunters and non-hunters alike. There is an increased demand for people to know where their food came from. What an opportunity for us hunters to show people the way in a positive light.
Aaron finished by telling me, “Keep hunting and sharing those genuine experiences in a responsible fashion. Negative stuff in life gets way more attention than the positive. We’re inclined to search for differences nowadays.” His message is loud and clear – rise above the chatter and bickering and find common ground with fellow hunters and outdoorsman.
What large issues or challenges do you see the hunting community facing?
Comment below and let us know what you think.