VOHRINGER: United we stand, divided we fall

By on March 28, 2017
Hunters would be best not to be at each other's throats — especially on contentious issues like the grizzly bear hunt. (Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages/Thinkstock).

Following several social media groups dedicated to hunting and fishing I am continually surprised by how many comments I encounter with one common theme: ridiculing and accusing others of wrong-doing. It seems that no one can post an image or comment in support of various hunting methods without being attacked by fellow hunters.

One of the most recent examples of hunters attacking hunters is related to the upcoming provincial election in B.C. The NDP, vying for the big city votes, has partnered with the anti-hunting segment by promising to ban grizzly bear hunting. A grizzly bear hunting ban is not based in reality nor in conservation concerns. There are more grizzly bears in BC now then there have been in recorded history. Any hunter standing up against this promised ban on social media will become the target of ridicule and internet bullying for supporting “trophy hunting”. One has to ask if those criticizing grizzly bear hunting supporters are familiar with the actual facts of grizzly bear conservation/management or are simply trying, in vain, to appease anti-hunters.

Another, and to me more serious, incident I remember is a picture on Facebook from a father who proudly shows off his 12-year-old son’s first deer. In the caption the father mentions that his son shot the deer with a 22-250 caliber rifle. This was enough for some hunters to unleash a barrage of ridiculing comments about the choice of caliber used to take the deer and the age of the hunter. That caliber is a fine choice for any young hunter and has plenty of power to take any deer at close range humanly.

As for the age of the hunter, it is perfectly legal in many American and Canadian jurisdictions for 12 year olds to go hunting in the company of an adult hunter.  But that fact did not seem to enter the minds of those commenting nonsense about “unethical hunting methods” or teaching a child “unethical” behaviour. It got so bad with comments that the father decided to take the picture down.

As hunters we’re constantly under attack from animal rights groups and anti-hunters that take offence at killing an animal, but most often seem to be perfectly content with killing people. In fact, many animal rights supporters I’ve encountered actually put words like “compassion” and “respect for all life” in the same sentence as words like “hunters should be killed.”

With that said, I find that the most asinine behaviour comes from hunters against other hunters; namely hunters who verbally attack other hunters because they do not hunt the same way they do. Not hunting according to an assumed “standard” is enough reason for them to belittle and berate others. Often a simple choice can unleash hatred and disapproval. Bowhunters will gang up on a hunter choosing to hunt with a crossbow. It can get really silly when hunters engage in such mundane subjects as the choice of rifle caliber.

A conversation I followed concerned a hunter asking the simple question if a .270 caliber would be sufficient to hunt deer. Right on cue came the parade of the cyber bullies, telling the hunter that he “must be out of his mind” to choose this caliber when the .300 magnum caliber is a far more “ethical” caliber. The fact is that the .270 caliber is indeed a very good caliber to hunt deer with, but alas, .300 magnums are all the latest hype that has a large following. There is nothing wrong with that but where it gets silly is when words like “hunting ethics” enter the discussion and hunters are called “stupid” for their choice of caliber.

The bottom line is that we’re all hunters and as long as a hunter adheres to the hunting laws it really doesn’t matter what method of hunting he or she chooses. A little more respect towards each other would go a very long way to unite our divided ranks.

My real concern is for the young people we try to recruit to our hunting heritage. What should they think if adults behave in such a childish manner against each other? My message to you is this: hunt the way you want and let others do the same. If you do not like what another hunter does, but is still within the law, move on. You are not the measure of what hunting is, the law regulates that, and that is all that matters.            

A closing note to an article I wrote several years ago still seems to hold true today: “Wouldn’t it be wise for hunters to be more tolerant of each other and pick our battles with the ones that really threaten our way of life?”

Othmar Vohringer lives in the Nicola Valley. He is an animal behaviourist and outdoor writer for hunting magazines in Canada and the U.S.


  1. Troy

    March 31, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Good point with the article, however your statement about the NDP banning the hunt is incorrect. Their beef is with the “trophy” hunt and they are set to ban that. The science based LEH management hunt will continue.

    • Othmar

      March 31, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      @ Troy. The NDP states very clearly that they will end grizzly bear hunting. Just as they did the last time the NDP was in government.

  2. Tom & Alice

    March 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Thank You, and bang on.

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