Article by Dr. Dave Samuel
Edited by Stanley Holtsclaw – April 2, 2017
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Back in 1999 I wrote a book titled “Know Hunting: Truths, Lies, and Myths” and it went on Amazon for sale. The book utilized a lot of scientific literature with data about the anti-hunting and animal rights movements. Once it was on Amazon, people could write reviews about the book.
One such review was obviously written by a person who never hunted, knew little about it, and obviously was against it. The other day I googled my book and sure enough, Amazon was selling used copies (it’s been out of print for quite a few years), and that review was still posted. Here is what it said, typos included.
If an anti-hunter ever needed a primer as to what is wrong with hunting this would be it. The book is filled with misinformation and confusion concerning game management versus wildlife management. It is more lies and myths than truth. There is a huge difference betwen game management and wildlife management though the author uese the term interchangably. The former is about sport hunting and producing as many trophies and live targets for “sportsmen” as possible. The latter is about working hand in hand with, not against nature to maintain the natural order in a world dominated by humans. This book is meant to be a propagandist handbook for hunters which will work so long as the audience is either fellow hunters or an ignorant, gullible, brain dead non hunting public. To anyone with even a psssing understanding of the differenecs between game and wildlife managemnt it is a great tool for making the case against trophy hunting and the common practice of allowing hunters to own and operate our public agencies which are entrusted to manage our wildlife with our tax dollars.
There were other positive reviews there that noted the large amount of data cited in the book, but obviously the above reader had a different view, even if his typing or spelling was dubious at best. Apparently this reader had a perception of game management versus wildlife management that, even today, I find a bit puzzling to say the least. I’ve asked several wildlife professor friends who teach wildlife management to assess this, and they feel like I do. We manage some wildlife species in part, utilizing hunting (apparently the reviewer calls this “game” management), and other species we manage in other ways. I would add that for those other species, hunters via license fees and the federal excise tax on hunting equipment, pays the bills for not only “game” management, but most “wildlife” management.
I cover the data on excise taxes and license fees in the book in detail, but the reader must have felt that this was “misinformation.” No matter. My point is that when you put things out there, even if just selling a book on Amazon, you expose yourself to everyone with all kind of opinions on everything. Hey, it’s America.
Today, we’ve added a huge element to that and it is called social media. And women seem to be taking the brunt of the exposure. Enter Kendall Jones. She is a 19-year-old cheerleader from Texas Tech University who hunts. We are seeing a huge growth is women shooting and women hunting in recent years, and some of these women have posted photos on Facebook with animals they’ve harvested while hunting. But posting hunting photos on your Facebook page, especially if you are a woman, elicits hate mail response and some of it is vicious. Kendall Jones is an experienced hunter, including hunting for the big 5 in Africa.
In this situation, as in many similar incidents on Facebook, much misinformation spreads rapidly, and that misinformation triggers even more ugly attacks. That happened to Ms. Jones. The negative posts were in the thousands. In the old days, we’d call it “hate” mail. Some of the posts wished that she were dead. In a recent interview in Safari Times, Ms. Jones said, “I believe in hunting and I believe in conservation, the death threats and cruel people won’t sway me.”
One petition on the Internet had over 100,000 signatures to remove Jones from Facebook. But Jones hung in there. An article in USA Today, had a headline that read “Texas cheerleader, big game hunter shrugs off critics.” There were other media reports that her Facebook page was edited by Facebook. And a page titled “Kendall Jones Hate Page” was allowed for a while, with Facebook stating that “It did not violate our Community Standards.” However, the page was later removed after sportsmen deluged Facebook with complaints. Facebook said it was removed for violating their standards on bullying or harassment.
Though the Jones example is the extreme, even mentioning a hunting kill or posting a hunting picture will elicit on line negative responses. In Kendell Jones case, she did not back down one inch. When Facebook removed the kill shots, stating that they did so because they glorified violence, and included extreme acts of animal abuse. Hmmm. In response Ms. Jones posted pictures of live animals and pro hunting text.
We have not seen the last of such social media criticism of a person’s values, no matter what the subject. But relative to hunting, the separation between the realities of the conservation movement and hunting and those opposed will continue to grow. As we’ve moved many generations from rural living, from the farm, from the realities that all people, no matter what their diet, are responsible for the death of animals, social media postings grow. No wonder. How can we expect people who have never been exposed to rural life, and never exposed to hunting, and never exposed to the realities of the conservation movement . . . how can we expect them to understand? Won’t happen, no matter what is done.
And it won’t slow down the rapid growth of women taking up the shooting sports, where they excel. It won’t slow down the extremely rapid growth of women shooting bows, and women going bowhunting. It just is what it is. When you put it out there, you have to stand tall and defend that posting, or be quiet and watch the criticism take place.
In July a 17-year-old model with a great future posted a twitter photo of her with a gemsbok taken with a rifle. Now her career is in jeopardy. Expect more of that in the future. A sign of the times.