Hunters: What Do We Embody?

AJ Gall

While photos and videos of the royal couple meeting with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Lebron James are garnering all the attention across thenational media circuits, WILDLIFE was the real reason why the royal couple visited the United States.  Yep, wildlife.  As puzzling as that may sound, lawfully protecting wildlife has been a passion of Prince William’s since he was a little boy, so much so that he, along with his bride (Kate Middleton) and brother (Prince Harry) created United for Wildlife.  This past week, the NBA Cares program partnered with United for Wildlife, which is why the royal couple made a trip to America earlier this week.

Now, before you disregard this article because you think it’s going to be all about wildlife on a different continent, let me tell you why this article should concern you.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose for a picture with Lebron James after a game in which the NBA announced it would join forces with United for Wildlife. Credit: Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images

First off, if you are still reading this you are likely and hopefully an ethical hunter and/or enjoy whatever it may be that wildlife provides you with.  Whether you like fresh, organic meat for the table or any of the simple pleasures wildlife provides you with on a daily basis, we all have our reasons we love wildlife.  Thus, we should be actively involved in promoting our sport and protecting ALL wildlife, just as Prince William is doing.

No, I obviously do not know the Prince personally, but he has actively participated in hunting multiple game species over the years.  Most notably, the Princes (William and Harry) caught a lot of flak for hunting deer and wild boar days prior to a large summit for endangered wildlife.  Immediately, animal activists jumped on this and called them hypocrites and participators of endangering wildlife.  After reading some of the related headlines, I could not wait to read what people would have to say in the “comment” section of these articles.

Hunters, as a whole, are directly responsible for contributions exceeding $1.6 billion worth of funding conservation efforts to preserve the sport and the wildlife on an annual basis.

Of course, I read the articles in their entirety before glancing over the entertaining, but troubling “comments” section.  As I read the comments from one article to the next, I could not believe what was happening to me…I was actually getting worked up inside… furious at these ill-thought comments!    “Ignorant” is the only word to describe such posts.  Does the animal welfare activist truly not understand the hunters’ role?  Surely some do, but, based on comments that circulate Facebook and are posted beneath articles on a continual basis, many are severely uneducated.

We choke ourselves out, as hunters, anytime we engage in verbal warfare, no matter what the platform.

Recently, threats were made towards hunting celebrity Eva Shockey on her Facebook Page when she posted a harvest photo of a bear she took legally in North Carolina. This story made national headlines.  Spoken like a true sportswoman, she did not stoop down to the anti-hunter’s level and retaliate with degrading comments of her own, but rather fought back with education.

In her recent comments posted by The Blaze, she stated:

“I know as a hunter that what I’m doing is the right thing, I’m doing good, I’m positively benefiting wildlife populations and adding to conservation.  Anti-hunters don’t realize how much [money] hunters actually put toward conservation.”

As a fellow hunter and frequent viewer of online harvest success photos, I understand this will not be the last time outrageous remarks spark a cyber war amongst those who choose to participate.  But before those ignorant comments strike a raging inferno inside you causing you to fight back with your own sharp and ignorant retaliations, take a moment to stop and think about what you are about to write.

Just like a released arrow, once words fly out of our mouth or our fingertips, the damage is done and there is no taking them back.

On a recent radio show, I heard Aaron Rodgers give some of the simplest, yet impactful advice when he was asked about how he refrains from making irrevocable comments on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. He said, “I write what I am about to say down on paper first, then read it and think about it.”

That is the problem in today’s society, people see and react, rather than see, think, and then react.  So when people wonder how Prince William can be both a hunter and a supporter of wildlife conservation, the answer is easy for those who think about it.  As hunters, we should be striving for unity no matter what game we chase, weapon we use, or the size of animal we choose to shoot.   We are the driving force behind conservation, not the anti-hunters, so let’s represent ourselves and the sport in a positive manner that reflects that.

Today, more than ever, hunters must stand tall and unite as one, rather than engage in a civil war amongst each other.

Eva put it very well, “As hunters, we need to stand strong, unite as one and NEVER apologize for being who we are! We should focus our energy on being the best hunters we can be by challenging ourselves to be ethical, respectful and responsible so as to humbly uphold our proud heritage. Now, let’s get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!”

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About The Author
From Woods to Table

AJ Gall

AJ Gall's prior hunting and wildlife experiences began long ago and make him the perfect contributing deer hunting guru.  As a habitat consultant under Dr. Grant Woods, AJ has worked on properties in 13 different states, amassing over 25,000 acres of quality deer management. He now uses that knowledge to help clients find their dream hunting properties as a licensed real estate agent in Wisconsin.  


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