The shooting world is one that rarely seems to be free from controversy thanks to an overenthusiastic mainstream media and a cult of perpetually offended activists determined to paint all with a penchant for firearms as evil. I say cult purposefully as my interaction with the more extreme tree hugger always reminds me of conversing with a religious fundamentalist rather than a rational member of society. The conversation more often than not turns violent or threatening on their part and an indoctrinated cult member will not listen to reason or engage in debate.

One of the biggest triggers for these people are when a hunter poses for a picture with an animal they have shot and it always confuses me as to why this is seen as such a devisive issue worthy of dramatic disdain. Surely a photograph is something that can be used to remember a moment, a definitive or defining instant of your life that you can look back on and remember?

Well then why is it when you have successfully hunted an animal, took a perfect shot and caused no suffering and cleanly took its life is it not ok to take a picture of your achievement?

Is it the fact an animal died that makes it unsettling for the average internet offense taker?

What if I posed with pre packed meat instead……..would that be ok or is it only when you’re reminded of where the meat comes from that you take issue?

Or is it when a hunter looks happy that makes it unacceptable? Should the hunter make a purposefully sad face instead?

For me I take pictures of any rabbits I shoot so I can show the farmer I’m actually doing what he asked of me in the first place. If I’ve made a particularly impressive shot then I like to take a pic of me, my quarry, the firearm and the casing with a little note of distance and wind speed.

Why?

Because I achieved something that’s why. Same way if you take part in a race and win you keep the medal, or for the less athletically inclined when you take a photo of your meal and post it online – because that’s the closest thing you will ever get to hunting for your own food, and you have a subconcious need to show others you can find a good meal for yourself you great hunter gatherer you………well gatherer anyway.

Now while I understand a picture of a huntress posing beside a dead giraffe can be upsetting to some, so upsetting in fact those same people threaten the life of the huntress while simultaneously being upset about the giraffes life (no it’s ok, it doesn’t make sense don’t try to make it so).

A giraffe is a lovely animal to look at, it seems slow and an easy target for want of a better word so I truly understand why some people out there would get instantly upset at the thought of one being shot by someone paying for the opportunity to pull the trigger.

The thing is and it’s an uncomfortable truth for those complaining I know, is that these hunts pay for the very conservation for the animals upkeep and well being. Take the picture above for example, this was festooned all over the tabloid press, people couldn’t wait to condemn the huntress, call for her head on a spike, demand a ban on all “trophy hunting”.

The animal however was an old male, it was attacking the younger males and jeopardising the herd so the animal was marked for cull by keepers. As such the job was offered to any hunter willing to pay the quite ridiculous price to do it so as the money can go back into the system. The meat was used by locals, the huntress gets to say she took care of the problem and has an experience few can claim to talk about for years to come.

Did an animal die?

Of course, but is it really that bad a thing as to attract death threats over when a lot of good came from it?

But let’s be honest, the cult doesn’t stop at “trophy hunting”, the more feverish disciples can be found lamenting mature cheddar in the dairy aisle.

While I agree the display of a dead animal can be unsettling to those that aren’t used to the sight it should be a reminder of reality to anyone that eats meat or indeed animal products. Death is a part of that process as it is a part of life, ignoring that fact won’t make it untrue. Likewise controlling animal numbers and pest control is part of the cycle of the countryside, it’s time to accept that.

Perhaps more people should look at what actually goes on instead of viewing the world through rose tinted glasses while getting high off their own eminations of smug self assurance and self perceived moral high ground.

On the other hand winding people up based on the harsh realities of the countryside can be highly lucrative if you say the right things and frame the narrative.

Food for thought.

-Mike

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