Perhaps it's time for a change in the hunting culture.
Why doesn't society recognize the good that hunters do? Could it be partly our own fault? What do we, as hunters, primarily focus on? Are our priorities in line with hunting ethics? Hunters care, deeply, about wildlife.
Anti-hunters find it difficult to believe that hunters care about wildlife. Perhaps we shouldn't care about what anti-hunters think. They are, after all, a mixed bag of extremists given to emotional and vulgar outbursts that have little connection to logical or rational thought. It is highly unlikely that any reasoned argument will ever change their tunnel-vision minds.
But what about the non-hunter? The person who simply doesn't hunt but has no clearly defined position on the activity. These folks' opinions do matter, because they can and do affect public policy related to hunting.
Non-hunters are often on the fence, so to speak, when it comes to hunting. Their opinions can be swayed and solidified in either direction, depending on what information they receive.
It might be wise to make sure that we are giving these folks - as well as those in our own ranks - the best possible picture of hunting that we can.
When the focus is seemingly overwhelmingly on the hunter, and on antler or rug size, it's easy to see why some people believe that hunters don't truly care about the wildlife they pursue. It seems to be all about them, the hunters.
But if we changed the focus in more of our facebook posts, more of our television shows, more of our advertisements, more of our media presence... If we changed that focus to one that is more wildlife-centric, more about respect for the animal, that could do a lot to cement the opinion in non-hunters that hunters really are concerned about the animals we hunt and occasionally kill.
It would also, I believe, help alter some of the attitudes of many hunters. And that would be a very good thing.
"We care for animals in a fundamental way. Yes we may take the life. And thereby take possession of one wild creature during our hunt. But that does not mean that we do not admire them in life, and wish to see their future secured. Even if that future does not include hunting. Let's diminish the focus on our achievements and on us. Let's start honoring what truly matters."
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.