Anti-hunting sentiment is a legitimate threat to many of our lifestyles. But getting into anonymous online fights with PETA members isn't the best way to bring about change.
There are a good number of people out there with anti-hunting sentiments and feelings. There are also animal rights groups and activists that, misguidedly, feel that not only should you and I not be allowed to hunt, but we should actually be interfered with while engaged in a legal hunt.
Then, there are the more noxious among the vegetarians, and what Anthony Bourdain termed "their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans" to contend with.
What to do about them? Playing "Spot the Vegan" on Tumblr won't necessarily help, no matter how easy (or funny) it is. However, here are some tips for dealing with anti-hunting impacts in various areas.
First off, realize that car hunting makes you an easy target for harassment.
If you ever watch hunter harassment videos, you'll occasionally find anti-hunting activists harassing hunters. Know what the hunters are often doing? Car hunting.
Thing about car hunting is, it puts you on a road. Thing about roads is, other cars can drive on them. Local PETA evangelists can therefore find you and make things more difficult, especially if you're hunting just off the road. Mister or Miss Hemp Toe Loop Sandal isn't going to hike into the backcountry to make things difficult for you.
Also, car hunters suck.
Get people prosecuted for harassing hunters.
Hunter harassment is a crime in many jurisdictions. Granted, it's often not much worse than a parking ticket; however, it is a crime nevertheless!
If you experience hunter harassment while engaged in a legal hunt, do everything you can to get the perpetrator prosecuted, whether it's an anti-hunting loon or a delusional landowner near public lands. If you're hunting on private property with permission, you may be able to get trespassing added to the charge against whoever is harassing you. Get video; put them on blast.
More people need to do this, too. The more it becomes known that hunters aren't going to take it lying down, and that consequences can be brought to bear... the better.
Appeal to foodies through reason.
The fact is that venison, fish and fowl obtained in the wild are the same meats that foodies pay hand over fist for. Ever hear of someone raving about organic, free-range beef? That's what elk, deer and other game species essentially are.
A trend in recent years is people taking up hunting because they want more control over their food supply. If you care about the meat you ingest, there are few ways to control it better than harvesting as much of it as humanly possible yourself.
There's also no requirement to have a stupid mustache.
Appeal to foodies with the economics.
You have any idea what organic, free-range beef loin goes for? A shocking amount of money. Know how much backstrap or osso bucco of venison goes for? The cost of a tag. Even out-of-state tags pay for themselves in the course of a few meals.
Appeal to animal lovers with humane hunting aspects.
What adults who watch too much Disney don't realize is that nature is a harsh mistress. The life of animals, to borrow from Hobbes, is often solitary, nasty, cruel, brutish and short. Life in nature is not bucolic, ideal, or even very picturesque. Animals die of old age, disease, starvation, and accidents, and not always quickly. A bullet or arrow, on the other hand, can be very quick indeed.
Educate people about how wildlife actually lives. Show them studies of managed populations of wildlife and how the populations improve. Mention the fact that the wild turkey has gone from almost extinct to becoming a nuisance, thanks to population management.
Be the bigger person.
If a PETA activist is an asshole to you, and you're an asshole to them, then you're just as bad as they are. Granted, the odd game of "Spot the Vegan" can be fun.
Get out and vote.
It's difficult to not be massively, thoroughly, ardently, vociferously, vituperatively and indeed intractably cynical about the political process in the United States. This great nation has, and there's no arguing it, an incredibly dysfunctional government. That's part of why voter turnout is so low.
That's also why it's so very, very important that hunters and outdoorsmen get out and vote. Vote for candidates that want to preserve the rights and ability for hunters to be able to hunt. Vote for candidates that want to preserve public lands and hunting access on them. Donate to groups that lobby on behalf of hunters.
Yes, this means getting out of the woods and into a voting booth. But please do it. For you, for me, for all of us.