I once laughed when Barbara Baird suggested that animal-rights activists attack female hunters more viciously than they do male hunters. In addition to being Realtree’s news blogger, Barb is publisher of Women’s Outdoor News, and is a staunch advocate of female empowerment. Heck, I could even see her burning a bra, provided she could find a way to make it into a double-sided combustible pistol target.
Anyway, I honestly didn’t see the anti-hunting crowd attacking one hunter over another because of gender. But Barb was right. The current situation with Kendall Jones, the cheerleader and African big game hunter, and Melissa Bachman before her, both prove that.
But really, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman or what type of hunting you do. You should familiarize yourself with these situations and the tactics these crazy people use. Know your enemy. They have no interest in playing fair or telling the truth or listening to your reason. But they do have the remarkable ability to garner mass support for some very awful ideas.
Kill Kendall Jones
The controversy surrounding Kendall Jones was born on social media. Anti-hunters saw her numerous photos from her African hunts and reported them to Facebook as offensive.
Facebook quickly removed some of those photos. But the lies about Kendall Jones spread faster than southern kudzu. Among the most pervasive of them were that she was poaching endangered species. Countless media outlets – we’re talking mainstream news sources that are staffed by people with journalism degrees – picked up on these lies and reported them as fact.
Facebook defended its removal of those photos by claiming they violated one of their “standards.” A standard related to violence. Yet, as the online controversy raged, numerous pages opposing Kendall Jones and even directly calling for violence against her began appearing on Facebook. Among them was a page called “Kill Kendall Jones” which, as of this morning, had more than 300 followers. I saw it after several of my personal Facebook friends mentioned it, said they reported it to Facebook, and that Facebook refused to remove the page.
So I reported the page myself. I had to select a reason for the report. When you create a page called, “Kill Someone” and incite more than 300 followers … well, I’d think that’s a credible threat of violence. Tarantino made two movies called “Kill Bill” and sure enough, Bill died.
But Facebook didn’t see any harm in a page called “Kill Kendall Jones.” At least, not like the problem they saw with a collection of legal hunting photos. They sent me an e-mail back saying they reviewed the page and determined it does not violate their Community Standards.
As of right now, “Kill Kendall Jones” is still an active page.
The Enemy Defined
If there is a group more prone to infighting than hunters, I don’t know of it. I know of bowhunters who would shut gun seasons down if they could. I’ve seen duck hunters fist-fight over blinds. Anyone who owns their own property and, God forbid, puts up a posted sign, is a target of resentment. Kill a Booner buck? Expect some high-fence accusations. Do you enjoy outdoor television? Well, you’re part of the problem because the only thing hunting shows do is “whore out product and cause out-of-staters to come in and lease up the good spots.”
I’m not being self-righteous here. I dread seeing the orange army march into the deer woods come November (as if having the woods all to myself for three straight months isn’t enough time). And Lord help us, there are a pile of really cringe-worthy outdoor TV shows on too many channels to count right now. I mean, who the heck is Razor Dobbs anyhow?
But a Kendall Jones type situation is a reminder that we have genuine enemies out there. These are people who don’t just disagree with the fact that you hunt over bait or use a crossbow or wear a camo pattern that’s not Realtree. They’re people who are so hateful and intolerant of your entire way of life that, given the opportunity, they will personally harass and bully you. They will spread lies about you.
They will publicly wish harm and death to you and your family. And they’ll do all of this not only without repercussion, but with support from the culturally enlightened crowd, including many of the heavy-hitter media outlets. Media doesn’t get much bigger than Facebook.
No, their tactics are not fair. Counter them with facts and logic all you want. Craig Boddington ripped the Kendall Jones detractors a new proverbial butthole with his interview on Fox News. But they don’t care about Boddington. Nor do they care about Pittman-Robertson or Dingell-Johnson or the Duck Stamp or DU or Delta or RMEF or NWTF or The North American Model of Conservation. They do not care how the National Wildlife Refuge system works or about the thriving wildlife in areas of Africa that allow regulated hunting vs. the poached-over wastelands of areas that don’t. They don’t care that the average hunter does more in a year’s time for the benefit of wildlife than the average “activist” will in a lifetime. They don’t care that more women are enjoying the hunting and shooting sports now than ever before. They don’t care that humans have canine teeth and have killed animals and eaten their meat since the dawn of time.
Remember, these are people that call for the death of a teenage girl because they so vehemently oppose her hunting. So read it again. They don’t. Freaking. Care.
This controversy will simmer eventually, making room for the next one. But in the meantime, our best course of action is to to never forget it. Instead, remember who our real enemies are, and understand that while we will never change their minds, we might sway those who are on the fence by being informed ourselves and speaking up when we have the chance. And we can support people like Kendall Jones and Melissa Bachman when they need our help.
We do have the advantage of not being crazy, after all.
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