As an outdoor writer and avid hunter since my childhood, I’ve had more than my fair share of anti-hunters approach me and say…weird things. Here are a few examples, followed by my usual response.
5. Anti-Hunter: “Do you eat it after you kill it?” My Usual Response: “Nope, I usually just kill it, spend hours butchering it only to store it in my freezer indefinitely because I thought the poor thing looked hot!
"In all seriousness: I, like most hunters, eat what I kill. While hunting has evolved from a basic necessity to more of a hobby over the past 100 years thanks to large-scale farming, food-storage technology, ranching and America’s economic prosperity in general, the bounty that hunting produces is more than a mere bonus to hunters. Hunting produces some of the leanest, most pure meat available.
"But don’t get me wrong: While we try to eat what we kill for moralistic reasons, we’d be lying if we said all meat harvested by hunters is always eaten. Some species—prairie dogs, for example—are not really safe to eat (they carry the virus that causes bubonic plague). In some cases, hunters perform a service—much like exterminators getting rid of termites or mice—but unlike an exterminator who charges for his service, hunters pay the government. And I’m curious: Do you eat the mice you trap your home? Do you throw them away? Or do you just let them run rampant through your pantry? Fact is, sometimes wildlife management is not glamorous, but it’s necessary for the benefit of animal and human populations as a whole. Now help me eat the rest of this deer jerky.”
4. Anti-Hunter: “Hey look! There’s a little deer! It’s starving because its mother abandoned it. Let’s take it home and raise it so it will be happy.”
My Usual Response: “That’s a healthy whitetail fawn, and it’ll be fine—if you leave it alone. Its mother was obviously frightened by the smell of your tested-on-animals perfume, and it has neither a Mercedes SUV nor a car seat to jettison its baby out of harm’s way, so the doe left the fawn here to hide until danger passes. See those spots? That’s its camouflage. And do you know that it gives off no scent so predators can’t easily find it? No, Disney didn’t draw that up; it’s by design. It’s a wild animal, and its home is in the woods, so don’t take it to yours.”
3. Anti-Hunter: “Why would you kill an endangered animal?” My Usual Response: “I’ve never killed an endangered animal, never would. In fact, we fight for endangered animals with our actions and money.
“Hunters do more for wild species than anyone. Wild turkeys in America? It was hunters who helped trap them in Missouri and relocate them elsewhere so that now they are numerous. And, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson act that places self-imposed taxes on hunters whenever they buy hunting licenses and gear, animal conservation programs remain perpetually funded. (Over $7 billion in taxes...that's billion with a "b"...to date.) It’s a win-win for everyone…even tree-huggers.”
2. Anti-Hunter: “Well, I can understand all that [above], but I still just don’t like the thought of killing something.”
My Usual Response: “That’s OK. If you don’t want to hunt, nobody is making you do it. Just respect the rights of others to do so in a safe, legal way.”
1. Anti-Hunter: “I hope you and your family die a slow, painful death.”
My Usual Response: Nothing. This behavior isn’t worthy of a reply.
Recently after a professional African hunter in Zimbabwe, Theunis Botha, was killed by an elephant, vocal anti-hunters came out of the woodwork to spew their vitriol on social media. The comments left in response to the tragic news were appalling. While some of them said things about “karma,” and about the hunter “getting what he deserved,” others were much nastier. And so it makes me wonder. Whose team are these people really on? They seem to hate humans—or at least those who disagree with them. They don’t have a clue about real-world conservation, animal biology or how lucky they are to be living in America where they don’t need to harvest their own food for survival.
What weird things have you been told or asked about hunting? Tell us in the comments!