I've been blessed to get to know Kendall Jones, the famed huntress who was thrust into the spotlight for her hunts in Africa. She recently broke one million followers on Facebook. I've been able to help her with some media needs, build a new website, photos, videos, etc. Through that relationship I've gotten to know her and I've realized she didn't ask for this fame, it just happened. If you follow her on social media you see the amount of hatred directed at her from anti hunters. Not just mild dislike but full blown death threats, wish of bodily harm, and other sickening comments. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and others have called her out by name bringing even more hate her direction.
it honestly seems like our rights as hunters are being infringed upon daily. As a God fearing hunter it's seems more and more like I'm in the minority in this country. So, how do we fight the good fight for our rights, conservation, and for our heritage?
Be Above Reproach: This is first and foremost. We are under a microscope more than ever and those who hate the idea of hunting are looking for anything to use against us. We must be conscious of how we portray our love for hunting. By doing this we can limit the ammunition of the other side.
Respect The Game: I saw a video a few months back of a young hunter riding on the back of a deer that he had spine shot and was still alive. Even in times where the scrutiny was less this wouldn't be remotely acceptable. We must depict hunting in a light that in no way gives anti hunters a reason to speak against us. From videos, pictures, and speech.
Choose Your Words Wisely: This is tough for me, ask my wife. It's tough to bite you tongue, especially on social media where we can be like them and hide behind a keyboard. We must choose our words wisely because our end goal is to educate and inform. I appreciate this about Kendall, despite all the hatred rarely if ever have I seen her lash out no matter how warranted it may be. The high road is tough, it's narrow and few today follow it, especially when those on the other side are spitting fury our direction.
Educate: Reading the anti hunters comments and even some of the emails and messages we have gotten over the years through our tv show Final Descent Outdoors. We have seen some comments that are just mind blowing. We received one from a lady wanting to know why we didn't just buy our meat from the store where they make it. As the poet Ted Nugent has said, every piece of meat you have eaten, somewhere along the way their was a gut pile. I've realized that because I've grown up in a hunting culture their are a lot of things I take for granted when it comes to understanding how this all works and that we are not a bunch of blood thirsty barbarians.
We have to do our best to tactfully educate those who didn't grow up in and around the things we did. For instance, how does killing an animal help save the species? If you don't understand where the money for tags go, how conservation groups work, then you might not be able to understand how killing an animal is actually saving it. We must take the high road and educate!
I realize it can be like beating your head against the wall but remember the best way to share our passion for the outdoors is not just through words but through actions. Let those we encounter in all areas of life see our passion, our heritage, as what it is, a God given right that should not be taken by those who don't understand it.
Author Brad Clay is the host of Final Descent Outdoors and a licensed and ordained minister in Oklahoma. Brad served for 12yrs in vocational ministry before stepping out to do full time outdoor ministry in 2013. Brad resides in Edmond, OK and is married with four children.