Editor’s Note: The following feature first appeared in our companion service, The Outfitter Wire (www.outfitterwire.com). If you’re not already a subscriber, simply visit the website and click “subscribe”.
The time has come to take the fight to the antis.
It happens with more frequency now. A hunter, most often a woman, is “shamed,” harassed, and sometimes threatened on social media in what in any other circumstance would be considered a terrorist act. An ensuing tsunami of haters pile on for a while until their bile-laden attention is diverted to another righteous “cause.” Because of a legal hunt in Africa, a member of one of America’s foremost families of conservation, Brittany Hosmer Longoria, was put through the grinder of the progressive hate machine, and as usual, the basis of the attacks defy logic on several levels.
Hunters try, and some of us have been trying for decades, to use logic to convince the antis that what we do is of benefit to both Man and beast. The benefits of sustainable use conservation in a 7.5B person world is settled science, which is logical to those who are open to new ideas, but therein lies the rub. The majority of anti-hunters have no interest in science, logic, or even the well-being of animal species. Most anti-hunters want to stop hunting because they do not like hunting, and animals be damned.
Don’t believe me? Then here is a quote from animal rights activists Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals from her interview on the CBS News program 60 minutes. When discussing the fate of three species of antelope that are virtually extinct in their native habitat in Africa but are thriving in Texas due to sustainable-use hunting, Ms. Feral stated emphatically, “I would prefer they all die rather than inhabit their non-natural habitat in Texas.” Reporter Lara Logan pressed for clarification asking if she (Ms. Feral) would rather see the animals go extinct than be hunted, the Friends of Animals president stated coyly, “They should not be hunted.”
Let that soak in for a minute. These so-called “friends” of wildlife are really no friend at all. Their true mission; nay their only mission is to ban hunting. Period. The welfare of wildlife is a secondary concern at best, yet useful cover for their calculated, deceitful social media smear campaigns to create a societal movement against hunters and hunting. We saw it again with Britt Longoria, but she is just the latest on a long list of hit-jobs on hunter-victims.
Melissa Bachman, Karl Malone, Olivia Opre, Walter Palmer, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Kendall Jones, Sarah Palin, Rebecca Francis, Tim Brent…even Steven Spielberg was called out by a genius troll for posting a photoshopped pic of the director in front of a fallen triceratops dinosaur that has been extinct for 60 million years. Despite the comic stupidity of some, this is where the hypocrisy of the antis rears its ugly head. In the name of protecting all life, many antis cry out publicly for all sorts of calamity to fall upon the offending hunter’s head. From the hopeful philosophical wish that “karma is a bitch,” to the mafia-like death threats of pain, torture, and death that should not only befall the hunter, but also his or her family, and even their friends in order to send a “message” to their hunting brethren. An eye for an eye is one thing, but when does a right-thinking person equate the life of a deer or a coyote to that of a human being? Intellectually, the anti’s arguments collapse under the weight of the illogical nature of their reasoning, but once again, antis have no interest in that which is logical. They are only interested in abolishing hunting. So how do we respond?
For too long, I have tried to persuade those who oppose hunting with logic and science. And after employing this tactic publicly for over twenty years, I can tell you without reservation the results are underwhelming. Less than five percent of my audience ever truly changes their mind about hunting. At best, I turn some negatives to neutrals, but that is not much of a return on investment. After twenty years of consistent failure in persuading antis that what we do is of scientific and societal benefit, I had an epiphany: stop trying to persuade and start fighting fire with fire.
Though my grades are indicative of how little I absorbed in law school, at least one important truth has stuck with me. A wise professor told me “It is pointless to argue with a person whose living depends on disagreeing with you.” And when it comes to anti-hunters, seldom have truer words been spoken.
From the Humane Society of the United States, to PETA, to all the “Friends” and “Save the (fill in the blank)” organizations, these businesses dedicated to the abolition of hunting can only stay in business if their “cause” remains in crisis. Think about it. What would happen to charities like Defenders of Wildlife if there were no wildlife “crisis?” Would their donor base of “wildlife guardians” continue to contribute their $9 per month if wildlife no longer needed defending? Would the Humane Society of the United States continue to receive their $19 monthly contributions if they were honest about the fact they operate NO pet shelters? My guess is not many.
Though there are indeed some organizations that do provide benefits to wildlife, they usually do not have six and seven-figure media campaigns to drum up contributions. These professional fund-raising organizations are much less concerned about wildlife than they are their bottom line, but one thing they almost all have in common is their universal disdain for hunters and hunting.
The reason for going off topic here for a bit is to demonstrate that these organizations that hate us are really charitable entities in name only; that their bottom line is really the bottom line. And as pecuniary motives are not the hallmark of a true philanthropic organization, it should become apparent that being “anti-hunter” is a money-making ploy that is part of the fraud they perpetrate upon the public to enhance their coffers. It is a fraud we as hunters should make public. If only there were some way we could, as individuals, communicate with the public at large; to some kind of network of people. If only…
The time has come for hunters to take the fight to the antis. For too long, we have allowed the antis to frame the issues, causing hunters to be reactionary and perpetually on the defensive. But as you hopefully know by now, most of these anti-hunting “charities” are in reality, money-making ventures disguised as philanthropies, and it is time the public knows this as well. Remember, we are in the majority here. 95% of all human beings are still carnivores.
The HSUS raises over $100,000,000 each year on the backs of sympathetic puppies and kittens, yet runs no pet shelters. According to their most recent tax return, Friends of Animals has $5.7M in the bank and pays their “I would rather see animals go extinct than have them hunted” president Priscilla Feral $116,000 per year. Defenders of Wildlife perpetually files lawsuits against federal and state governments to restrict or eliminate hunting and often seeks to recoup its legal fees from the very agencies tasked with actually defending wildlife. This is but a small subset of the kind of information these anti-hunting organizations would probably not want to be made common knowledge. But hunters can make that happen.
As I have mentioned before in previous writings, I will continue to make it a point to point out the shenanigans the anti-hunting industry tries to get away with. But let’s take it one step further. We as hunters should speak with a united voice on social media. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other platform of your choosing, we should coordinate our message and our hashtags. Together, we can move the needle against those organizations that are working to see our sport eliminated. By speaking with one voice sportsmen and women can make sure the truth about hunting is heard and that science-based wildlife management will be seen as the only logical way to insure the ongoing viability of species.
It is time to fight back. No holds barred.
— Steve Scott
Scott is a reformed attorney, TV host and producer, ice cream aficionado, and editor of The Outfitter Wire. @SteveScottTV