Opinion: A Bright Future for Predator Hunting

Some folks might consider me daft for suggesting that predator hunting has a bright future, given all the anti-hunting, anti-business, anti-human hoopla around the world. It could be easy to think that the antis are winning if one merely followed the lies being circulated on social media and in the mainstream media.

Opinion: A Bright Future for Predator Hunting

If the antis had their way, predator hunters would go the way of the passenger pigeon and scenes like this would also be extinct.

Yet, by studying how the antis are doing what they are doing, it is not difficult to see how — by taking some pages out of their playbook — we hunters can win in the end. We’re talking the long game here. It is one of those situations where counting individual victories is meaningless because the only thing that really counts is winning the war itself. And this is not a war we, as hunters, waged. It was forced upon us by those who want us gone. It is that simple. Losing is not an option for any hunters and especially predator hunters. 

This past summer, the antis gloated over what they perceived to be a major win when clothier Canada Goose announced that it no longer would use real coyote fur in its parkas. A blog on the PETA United Kingdom site stated: “The great news comes after years of campaigning by PETA, our international affiliates and dedicated activists around the globe — including eye-catching protests, hard-hitting exposés, celebrity actions and boardroom and legal battles. Over 500,000 of you helped the company see the writing on the wall by participating in our online actions and store protests, and together, we’ve ensured that sensitive, intelligent coyotes will no longer be caught and killed in barbaric steel traps for Canada Goose’s parkas!”           

The antis are celebrating a singular victory here. But in the greater war, it is not terribly significant. It is, nonetheless, a setback for sanity. In their gloat, the antis note that it took years of public protests to get to where they are today in this matter. I don’t know if anyone has noticed lately, but public protests are beginning to wear thin among normal folks around the land. This is because those who would cancel the culture of freedom have gone overboard enough that patience among the non-hunters isn’t what it was even a year ago.           

One thing is certain: The antis, because of their emotional imperative, will always go too far — push things beyond sane limits. That is precisely what is happening in the greater society these days. There is no question that we hunt because we’re hunters. It literally is in our DNA. Hence, there is no question that, as hunters, we will continue regardless of what is thrown at us or what roadblocks are strewn along the trail from now until forever.           

But there is one element that, to date, has either been missing or at least lacking: solidarity among hunters in the greater public consciousness. Because we are individualists, we do not instinctively herd-up in the face of adversity. That’s what hay burners do and not what carnivores do. Yet lacking the social and political coalescence it takes to win in today’s world is enough to see us wrest defeat from the jaws of victory downstream if we don’t get fully engaged. Our collective indifference coupled with ignoring attacks on us and our way of life have done nothing but allowed the antis to win battle after battle by default because their lies have gone pretty much unchallenged. 

Even worse, we have not crammed our truths down the throats of the antis in the process. We haven’t even told our truths to the benign non-hunters who represent most of the human population. Our voice has not been just weak, for the most part it has been AWOL. It is time for us to be brutally truthful to ourselves and admit that in the overall picture, we have dropped the ball bigtime. 

Don’t misunderstand. There are hunter/activists and there are organizations fighting for our freedoms every day. For example, Safari Club International, with which I am associated, has as its mission the protection of the freedom to hunt — and SCI fights tirelessly, both in legislative bodies and in courts, to protect hunting all around the world. The NRA also is on the frontlines in the fight against the antis (in the interest of full disclosure, I have been a member of the NRA for more than 65 years). Those are two voices in the wilderness, however. Both organizations can use the support of all hunters. 

Institutional efforts are both nice and necessary but there is more needed to take us from where we are now to the victory circle in the by and by. It’s time to get personal. The basic fighting unit in any war numbers but one. Organizations are aggregates of the single warfighter. Each of us is duty-bound to tell our truths to all who will listen, as well as to those who don’t or won’t. Leaders lead by example and followers follow by example. Be an example in your own families, among your groups of friends and around your local communities. This kind of activity limits the lengths to which the antis’ lies will be swallowed by those who are unaware or gullible. Concurrently, such character building boosts the relevancy of what we do among those who don’t hunt, but who don’t have anything against hunting either. 

While we are shoring up our base, we need to cause the antis to spend time, money and effort to counteract us. All the time, effort and money they have to spend fighting us are resources they can’t use in other ways. That is how we assure a bright future for predator hunting. We don’t wait for someone else to save us or to win the war. We engage, we fight, we win. But each one of us must do all of the things required for victory. It can’t be farmed out to someone else. 

It is not difficult nor prohibitively expensive to do the right things. Rather, it is a matter of taking a little time and contributing a little money. Think of it as paying into an insurance policy that will guarantee the freedom to hunt forever. Or look at it from the other angle: Do nothing now and the antis will kill all hunting forever. That is certain if they are left unchecked. The future is in our hands. Do the right thing. 

So, what will it be? I choose victory for all hunters. Join me. It’s a great ride.

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