Bowhunting’s biggest enemy [179 Days]

A few days ago, I lost 100 followers on FB in about 20 minutes. A person in my industry made an emotional and public statement about hunters that was completely false, and completely tainted. I responded…

I am a hunter….

(The assumption was that people that I have worked with for the last 20 years, that I have given employment to, referred work for and helped build their careers would perhaps stop and think for a second… at least ask why? …. nope…)

The fact is that Perception is Truth, truth isn’t truth…

Facts really do not matter.

Now, I really do not care about the drop in “Facebook followers” but it did give me pause to think, because it touches on an issue that has been bothering me for years…

When I bought my first bow a few years ago, I quickly got into competitive archery and was promoting the crap out of the sport, inviting people left and right because finally I found a sport where nobody cares who you are, and everybody is helpful and supportive. I could not have been more wrong.

When I committed to a bow brand, all of a sudden, a certain group stopped talking to me, got a new set of arrows, and a different group would avoid you. Pick an archery club and boom, even less “friends”… it seems friendship is a distant second to recruitment

What a sad state of affairs…

Pick a post on an archery forum or Facebook group, and within a few minutes, someone will comment negatively, or with a snarky “… that doesn’t happen with my XYZ…” or “get yourself a real bow/arrow/broadhead!” – I can understand that sometimes there is a legitimate error (wrong setup, wrong shot placement, etc) but there is still a decent and mature way to assist and correct, instead of acting like its the primary school sandbox!

Off course you have a right to give your opinion. But are you required to be rude? Are you required to be offensive, or disrespectful?  Do you have such low self esteem and sense of self worth that you cannot be happy for your fellow archer, for your fellow hunter? That anyone that disagrees with your opinion, is the devil incarnate?

My bigger concern is that this used to happen in fair isolation. Not so anymore. Hunters will take each other on in public. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. The general public, which really didn’t care whether we hunt or not, do take notice, they do form an opinion (again, right or wrong does not matter) and all it takes is a moments hesitation and a few more negative posts, and you have turned an ambivalent public into an anti-hunt supporter. And if you think I am wrong, you may have not been paying attention. Hunting bans all over Africa is not driven by science. The recent BC bear hunting ban in Canada is not driven by environmental management. And for some strange reason, any hunter I talk to seems to think that “they” will never allow a hunting ban… who is this mythical “them” and “they”?

Do you notice the subtle hits we are taking? When president Trump announced the lifting of the ban on elephant tusks, the opposition immediately jumped on the opportunity to skew the reality. Turning the very limited importation into “a license to slaughter elephants” – nobody reads more or tries to find out more, their perception was solidified.

I was watching an animated movie with my son, “The Son of Bigfoot”. There is one scene where two hunters enter the forest, they are portrayed as dumb, incompetent, and arrogant. Taking selfies with the bear they think they just killed, saying things like “…we love destroying beautiful nature…” Are you kidding me?

We are under attack, subtle and direct, but instead of banding together, protecting and supporting each other, we are becoming a more and more fractured community…

Our ego’s will be our own downfall…

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About Sean Nel 51 Articles
Sean Nel is a staff shooter for Archer's Edge South Africa, Beestinger, GoldTip, Sureloc and Health Matrix as well as an accredited Archery Instructor with the South African National Archery Association (SANAA)