Social Media A Great Tool For Hunters?

There are several ways one could hit the ground and run with this. Anti-hunting advocates vs hunters are one aspect of social media online to dive into. You might win the hearts and minds of non-hunters with principled ideas, rational behavior, any and all of the great things we love about our impassioned time honored way of life. As to the anti-hunting crowd, you might find other more constructive things to do. Rational, sound logical reasoning falls on deaf ears of those unable to think beyond the propaganda, the over hyped irrational emotional responses. It is a telling picture to see such unhinged individuals crying and screaming in the streets. As a hunter you can be assured of outbursts of pure rage against a legal activity, an instinctive natural way of eating and surviving as further back than biblical scholars can find as well as scientists who chronicle the story of evolution.

My thoughts for today’s wanderings lead me to social media vs hunters. A recent post concerning ‘real’ women hunters vs camo bikini clad wanna-be female pro staffers gave me pause as to why with all the great attributes of instant communications do some within our hunting community subscribe to the worse attributes of social media that are typically displayed by our anti-hunting foes?

To those of us that lay claim to bearing some semblance of adult like behavior, enjoy the company of fellow hunters, and not suffering sociopathic tendencies there is much to enjoy and take advantage of Facebook, Instagram, and any other of the choices of online communities to connect with each other.

I’ll lay claim that I barely squeak by in fitting it with the ‘normal, socially adjusted group.’ In doing so I will list what I think are the main positives associated with the online experience.

• With a little effort and time, online one can quickly seek and find like minded hunters to any level of specialty that you want to hook up with. My passions are turkey hunting, and deer hunting, archery, rifle/shotgun/pistol shooting. Easy to find folks that share my interests. Many friends and friendly acquaintances can be made. If you singularly focus on hunting with 1800’s era flint lock firearms wearing only period correct clothing you are in luck as you will find your tribe.
• As with news in general, anything outdoor related, happening in the world down to your hometown can be learned that week, much of it the day that it occurs. New products, records broken, Changes in seasons and regulations, weather conditions.
• Sharing of stories, sharing or pictures afield soon after returning home or in the field as it happens. Facebook a post that you sunk your 4×4 to the axles while getting your elk out will rally the troops to your rescue. You can blame your truck and swear profusely on live Facebook for additional effect.
• Social media can be a great tool for researching your future hunts, outfitters, things to see and do on your next adventure. Personal contacts give you a much better insight.

Personally, I love having such great friends online (whom I have spent time with in hunt camp), to learn their stories, to share mine. Same with pics from successful hunts or the scenes so breathtaking you just have to capture it. Facebook has been great to meet up on hunts, meet up while traveling. I try to learn from what other successful hunters do and share amongst us. I enjoy seeing the pics, especially those that took the time to make a great pic in respect of their quarry. As much as I like the efficiency of the online experience and at any hour. It does not replace what you get from a phone call or time shared together. I view social media as a useful tool to embellish my experiences that I have with those I have had the privilege to spend time with but do not live close enough to see frequently.

What is it with some of our ranks that are compelled to eat our own? The downside of the social media experience is the embolden behavior of keyboard trolls that lack social graces that help us all get along. I’m not going to distract with a lengthy discussion on sociopaths or anti-social behavior. Is it reasonable to put up with such ill-mannered, fragile ego’s or those bent on tearing other fellow hunters down? It takes only a single picture of a record book deer or a monster gobbler to attract the worse responses. Even pictures of kids after a successful hunt will gain uncivil responses. I expect that from the anti-hunting zealots, not fellow hunters.

I’ve been accused of “eating our own” by opposing turkey hunters for not hunting like I do over my position on reaping or fanning methods despite clear reasoning on safety issues and what I regard as unreasonable risks in many (not all) turkey hunting scenarios. Even after consistently acknowledging how exciting the method is, I am labeled an elitist for my opposition. There are many forms or styles of hunting that I do not participate in or find alluring. As such I read those stories and enjoy the after hunt pictures like I do others. On matters of safety I am not one to compromise. As to what bow you use, or what specific caliber bullet you shoot, whether you sit in a blind all day or hunt ridges as I may do, I don’t have the urge to criticize you because it may not be my preferred choice. Let’s skip that nonsense and tell me of your epic story.

With the prior blog posting I saw this morning concerning female hunters or huntresses as mentioned, it causes me to comment on where this comes from, the source if you will. The frustration that is becoming more visible within our ranks does come from the over marketing, the overzealous behavior of prostaff, huntresses, TV hunting shows, game call companies and the list goes on at the irritation of the hunting community, a market segment they are hoping to gain an audience with.

As to huntresses, I have only a few brief observations. I know many women who hunt, have been for many years, and as hardcore as any male hunter I have shared camp with. I find that female hunters in general to be more conscientious, more deliberate in their shooting, less likely to take risks. In that they show the concept of huntress in a very good light. I am pleased to see more moms and their kids join our ranks as well as single women. Always welcomed in any camp I may attend. The whole thing with sex’d up camo pinup models that appear to be pampered, fully catered huntresses is to be expected in the old marketing model that sex sells just about anything. In my opinion, I think that once you take away all the pampering, the glamor shots you are left with little if the experience of being self-sufficient, immersed in the turkey woods is lost in favor of a thong. Some of the same mentality applies to male celebrity hunters who are known to be lost themselves without a fully catered hunt.

It is nearly impossible to watch a thirty-minute hunting show without it being saturated with commercials and the storyline constantly pulled back at every turn to hawk a product. As a medium for hunters to learn from, to enjoy, it fails miserably as a nonstop infomercial in the guise of a hunting show. It is a business model that compromises the viewer’s enjoyment over ad space sold.

As with the over marketing that is rampant with TV shows it is just as much a part of the dialog that occurs on Facebook, Instagram and others. With that comes the emphasis of who has the most likes, the most Facebook friends. It has become so absurd, to the point it was posted on Facebook that a hunter made the claim that they were a better hunter because they had more likes? Difficult to wrap any logic around that. Having reached the 5K limit on Facebook, I have yet to enjoy that arousal of “better than thou hunter” that I am told about. I worked at it over a long period of time to broaden my base of possible readers of books I have published and will publish in the future. Efforts with my keyboard help make that happen, what abilities or skills I do have in the turkey woods are from lessons learned from time afield, from hunting with others and for me it has been many hours over many seasons.

The competitive nature of some of us produces an unhealthy interaction, focused on numbers, not people. I am concerned with being a ‘good hunter’ as I believe you are. I am also concerned with being a ‘better hunter’ when compared to myself five years ago. Whatever measure you wish. If we all strive to be good hunters then may our freezers be full. Is it not fair, a good thought that we all try each day to be better as people, as hunters?

What I see occurring in the realm of social media is the parallel, the concept of TV ratings becoming a parameter in which we measure ourselves on Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other social media offerings. Would I lose the love of family if my friends list shrunk or likes on my posts dwindled away?

There is the danger in that should you make a mistake, honest or deliberate, it is known in such a short time by all that is nearly unmeasurable. Bad news travels fast. Commit a game violation and your hunting buds will know more about your case than you do before you return home from your trip. Poach a record book elk and by tomorrow you may be a Facebook featured post!

For those that believe a picture is worth a thousand words, it is, for the most part, a truism until one pulls it up in photoshop, and modifies it to suit ego or other less than admirable purpose. A game contest is useful for exposing such less noble attributes in hunters that sport overblown egos. Posting in social media has taken these lesser ideals and supersized them as you might expect. I’ve seen lots of turkey hunters holding up their gobblers with a bent elbow and claim 25-28lbs all day long. I have witnessed far too many gobblers that weigh no more than the average 18-19 pounds to know what the girth of the bird appears as, and span of the wing butts to know that in only a few cases does the bird actually match the claimed weight. Only in a few select areas of the country, is the average weight much higher. Such heavy weights appear as if another subspecies in the turkey woods when accurate. Deer are often posed and angles chosen to appear much larger. Photoshopping antlers is not uncommon.

Other ill social media acts include ‘borrowing’ other hunter photos for product ads or photoshopping to appear taken by another hunter. Unless the deed is executed by a skilled person excelling in photography and lighting theory as a background it is all too easy to spot where edits were done. For the more sophisticated edits, a few applied filters and exposure adjustments reveal the modified pixels.

The sins of boasting, false story telling (ok for fisherman though) hoax photo’s are an offering of the dark side of the social media. In of itself, it is not new, but the modern day equivalent is much faster in producing it. The false perceived pressure of having to achieve more friends, more likes, more hits, more web traffic comes at the expense of impressing profiles of people you have never hunted with, shared a beer with or even met on the street. In the end to fall into that trap side steps real friendships, and causes one to miss the sheer joy of time spent in the hunting grounds of their choice.

My opinion is that social media is a great tool for hunters, especially for myself as an outdoor writer/author, as with all things it is neither perfect or the end of all things in communicating with one another. To understand it and to use it at face value is a very useful way to keep track of and share with all those that you care to include. As we refute those with less than good intentions we make it a better space to share these bits and pieces of our daily lives.

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media

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