I just returned from perhaps my most enjoyable deer hunt ever. Eight Jeub family members descended into Nebraska for three days, harvesting four deer out of six tags. Fantastic success, great outdoors, wonderful memories.
I promote hunting with enthusiasm, but I sometimes have to sit through an occasional dissenter’s arguments against the sport. Briefly: The environmentalist considers hunting an immoral chase of weak animals, a profit-racketeering scheme for state governments, and an unnecessarily cruel practice that ultimately fails the environment.
But when weighed against the tremendously persuasive conservationist arguments that justify hunting, the bellyaching of the anti-hunter falls flat. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President and avid sportsman, said it well:
The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.
Briefly: The conservationist believes hunting helps manage the habitat and conserve the environment — good for both the animal population and cohabitating humans. Government agencies manage the wildlife in all sorts of ways, and hunting is one of its most efficient tools. Areas that do not allow hunting have an overabundance of certain species. With big game in Colorado, places like Estes Park inevitably hire snipers to come in and slaughter entire herds, something a regulated hunting program would have managed in the first place.
For me and my family, we have settled the conservation vs. environmental debate and have embraced hunting. I respect those who disagree with me, but they can stay home while I enter the woods and go hunting.
But this isn’t enough for the opposition. Once the debate is over, they turn to our social media world and smear their opponents, making their hunting lives a living hell. Here are some examples:
- How social shaming puts the bull’s-eye on trophy hunters
- Hunter Shaming is a Real Thing
- Keith Olbermann vs. white-turkey hunter: ‘Make his life a living hell’
- The shaming of Walter Palmer for killing Cecil the Lion
Do you see how social smearing works? Rather than accept the truth of the matter — or even respectively disagree — anti-hunters turn to smearing. In other words, rather than debate being a tool used to get us closer to better policy and truth in our world, they override debate and attempt to publicly shame the other side.
One of the strongest points I make in my book Facing Hate: Overcoming Social Smearing, Recovering Relationships, and Rebuilding Your Reputation is the tremendous loss in dialogue and discussion. “Arguing is good; it is exercising the muscles of the mind, honoring and exploring the opposition and engaging in the outcomes in unison with so-called enemies” (from Chapter 9: Silence). The smearing of hunters makes our policies worse, which is such a loss to conservationism and our environment.
Ultimately, the mob of smearers want to silence the opposition, and the only dignified response is the refusal to do so. Dialogue and discussion and debate must prevail, and shame on the shamers who play dirty with unfair smears. Refusal to play by their chaotic rules is, actually, a most spiritual walk in truth and love, and I expand on this in my book:
The mob wants you to “shut up,” to run away or curl up into a fetal position and lie on the floor, alone and ashamed. No! Whatever the attack that comes at you from the hateful mob, you must, with love, debate that attack! “Fight the good fight,” Paul encouraged his pupil in 1 Timothy 6:12. “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”
As you can imagine, since I have gone through the fire of social smearing in my personal life, I’m somewhat of a hawk when it comes to those who use social media to smear others. Which is why I wrote Facing Hate. And I will continue to hunt and promote its most noble reasoning.
And, if you’re a hunter, you’ll appreciate a few more pictures of the Jeub’s Nebraska hunt:
Previous articles I’ve written on hunting: