I have listened to the debates on fighting anti-hunters and would like to interject some of my own experience. This might get a bit long but bear with me. I have hunted since I was about 10 years old with my dad. I grew up with it and all of the men in my family hunt as well. It was just part of Thanksgiving for everyone to go out deer hunting while the dinner was being prepared. The opening day of deer season in Alabama used to be on Friday and when that day rolled around most of the boys in my high school were out.
The point is I grew up around it and it didn’t seem strange. I lived in rural Alabama until last October when a better job brought me to a small community just north of Houston, TX. Here most of the people grew up in an urban setting and haven’t been exposed to hunting. I am the only person in the office that hunts at all. What I have come to realize in talking with non-hunting co-workers and neighbors is that most people are not opposed to hunting, they are just ignorant of the facts about hunting and the role it plays in conservation and game management.
They did not grow up around hunters and it does seem strange. Being ignorant about hunting they are easily swayed by emotional arguments against hunting. The best strategy (In my opinion) is not to argue with the anti hunters. They are such hardcore believers in their cause that they can’t be swayed, and the harder we fight the harder their resolve is to eliminate hunting. Please don’t take this to mean that I don’t support boycotts of companies who to contribute to anti-hunting causes Boycotts have a place as well. Instead pick friends and neighbors who haven’t been hunting and take them with you.
Educate them by experience. The past two weekends I have taken a co-worker quail hunting and a boy from church on his first goose hunt. The co-worker is not a hunter but he does love dogs so I took him on a quail hunt with my Brittanies. He left the field enthusiastic about the way the dogs worked the birds and the training that goes into making a good bird dog. I used opportunities in the field to show him how hunting is a part of proper game management and how hunters support outdoor activities through license fees and taxes on guns and ammo.
The boy from church is very enthusiastic about hunting and wants to go, however his parents do not hunt. They are not opposed to their son’s hunting they just don’t know how to teach him. They even let him play hooky from church to go with me. I can say that he thoroughly enjoyed the morning goose hunt because, he helped set up and takedown a rag spread, endured a 30 degree morning with a 4am wake up call, used his own allowance to buy a set of boots, and stood up and cheered when I killed the first specklebelly of the morning.
This summer we will go to a shooting range so that he can work on basic gun safety and marksmanship. He is also planning on attending a hunter safety workshop so that next year he can carry his own gun afield. My point in bringing all this up is that the most effective way to fight the anti hunting measures and game management by ballot is to educate people about hunting rather than trying to fight the anti-hunters. And the way to educate people is through logical discussions about hunting combined with some trips afield. Take a neighbor or co-worker hunting with you, if your children have friends who do not hunt discuss it with their parents and take them with you if possible.