The following stereotypes are sometimes true about some hunters, and we need to change them soon.
Stereotypes are difficult things. They’re not universally true or false. They get their start from some kind of pattern, but that pattern is difficult to apply to others within that group.
The following hunting stereotypes are commonly used by anti-hunting groups, often against us. They are not true about all hunters, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed some of these in person, or maybe you’ve even been guilty of a few.
As a community of sportsmen and women, I think we do a pretty good job of being ethical and responsible individuals. But there’s still an element of truth to these that needs to change. Let’s work together to reverse the trends.
1. Hunters Drink
It seems many deer camps have at least one person who uses hunting season as an excuse to disappear in the woods and party for a few weeks. Rarely do they sit in a treestand (certainly not morning hunts), but often sit around the fire having a few too many beverages and getting obnoxious.
“The Second Week of Deer Camp” by Da Yoopers is a playful spoof of this.
I’m not saying you can’t tie one on and let loose a bit, as hunting seasons can be one of the year’s larger family or friend get-togethers at the shack.
Let’s just not lose the focus of deer season, namely harvesting a wild animal to provide for our families. And never, even on private property, combine alcohol and hunting.
2. Hunters Trespass and Poach
This one is very serious and really angers the ethical hunters among us, because it has such high profile negative ramifications.
Some people just have no respect for other people’s property, and still sneak onto their neighbor’s land to hunt or steal equipment (e.g., trail cameras, treestands, etc.).
Poaching a deer on someone else’s property is not only disrespectful, it’s downright lazy and inexcusable. In fact, a poacher should not even be called a hunter.
If someone is stupid enough to do these things, there’s really nothing that can be said here to change their ways. But we can still do our part. If you catch someone trespassing, stealing, and certainly poaching on your property, don’t try to be the friendly neighbor; report them and seek charges against them.
The more legal ramifications there are, the more hesitant unethical hunters will be to do so again, on your property or someone else’s.
3. Hunters Use Bait
In states where baiting is illegal, the practice forces deer to abandon natural food sources (like the oak grove next door or the food plot your neighbor worked all summer to produce), and seek them out. This alters natural deer movement patterns and is an unfair advantage over neighboring legal hunters.
That’s not to mention areas where chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an issue; baiting causes deer to interact in closer quarters, exposing them to disease transmission concerns.
If you don’t have the property to plant a small food plot, seek out a neighbor who might allow you to plant their land and hunt it. If you do have land, try planting food plots and fruit orchards for deer, which will both be magnets in the fall without having to bait.
4. Hunters are Wasteful
Another stereotype that’s spread about hunters is that they are wasteful. Although very rare, there are sadly some hunting groups that don’t treat harvested deer with enough respect.
Some very lazy hunters may only take the prime cuts and drop the rest of the carcass in the woods. Occasionally, you can even still hear stories about deer with heads missing, from which we can only assume a lazy and unethical person (not a real hunter) shot a large buck and only took the rack.
Most states have laws against wanton waste.
Do your part to show respect for the animal at every stage, including ethical shot placement, field dressing, and butchering. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to preserve the most amount of meat and then take everything you can from it.
Even if you don’t want the hide or scrap meat yourself, donate them to organizations or people that would be thrilled to have it.
5. Hunters and Their Predator Bias
You commonly hear about hunters who want to rid the woods and fields of all predators.
Coyotes, wolves, bobcats, you name it, they all compete with us as hunters on some level, in that they need adult deer and fawns to survive themselves. Some hunters are less tolerant of this fact, and seek to eliminate them from their properties, given every chance they get.
Predators are not all bad. They have an important role to play, too. However, like most animals in today’s world, their populations need management.
There’s nothing wrong with responsible predator hunting. Let’s just not take it to the opposite extreme.
6. Hunters Rely on Technology
While technology is amazing and has helped us tremendously in the woods, some hunters rely too much on it. On public land hunts, you can still see some hunters driving an ATV directly up to their stands (though they’re only 200 yards in from the road), using a GPS to find it, and then throwing every deer grunt and doe bleat call they’ve got at the woods.
Most would agree they are lazy and lack basic knowledge about woodsmanship and deer behavior.
Most hunters care deeply for this sport, and learn as much as they can about it. Many pursue it because they like the opportunity to experience the ruggedness of nature, and enjoy “roughing it” without technology.
Challenge yourself to learn something new about the woods or animal you pursue every time you go on a hunt. Oh, and ditch the sub-meter GPS units unless you’re on a backcountry hiking trip. Burn some boot leather instead and get to know your hunting land.
7. They’re a Bunch of City Hunters
Sometimes stereotypes are even perpetuated by hunters themselves. There’s a hidden notion among some public land hunters that people who live in the city (but come to hunt a rural area) shouldn’t be in the woods. Common complaints include rudeness, lack of hunting knowledge, laziness, etc.
They view them as intruding on their true outdoor experience. And in many cases, this is unfortunately true.
Instead of just complaining about it, let’s do our part to get more people involved in hunting. In many cases, “city hunters” may not know the ropes, but are respectful, eager learners if shown.. They may not have as much experience in the woods. Or they could be just as home in the outdoors as you, and you don’t want to admit it.
Let’s be patient with one another. We’re all in this together.
These stereotypes represent serious issues. But they can be overcome.
If we all do our part, we can improve the sport we love.