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 with Rob Miskosky

The World is Watching

The September 9 Globe and Mail headline screamed, “Graphic video fuels calls to end grizzly bear hunt in B.C.” 
The story then goes on to say, “Before long, the dying bear is rolling down the snow-covered hill, its paws flailing, leaving a trail of blood in its path. The men filming erupt with laughter and congratulatory hoots.”

The video was discovered on a hunter’s Facebook page by a group (with a large “Donate” button, of course) called the Wildlife Defence League out of Vancouver, a group “formed to provide resistance to overhunting and trophy hunting in Canada.”

Would this photo cause an uproar with the online anti's?

According to their campaign director, Tommy Knowles, the video is used by the group in internal presentations and was posted to their own Facebook page; which, of course, drew the ire of many of the 1.2 million viewers the video received over a two-day period.

Less than a week later, the National Post ran a story titled, “Video of Alberta boy’s birthday bear hunt draws online outrage in post-Cecil the Lion world.”

According to the National Post, Britain’s Daily Mirror dug up the five-year-old “shocking video” as part of an investigation. The Daily Mirror describes the children as “hiding in a “lair” above a group of black bears eating oats from bait traps set by the hunters.” The Daily Mirror then goes on to say, “The delighted lad and four pals then giggled at the grisly birthday party as they chatted about the killing.”

And, once again, millions of online anti-hunting activists are screaming bloody murder, demanding that governments put an end to hunting, especially trophy hunting.

It seems every few days now that a video or photo posted by a hunter garners international attention. In the case of the two stories noted here, the first was a video that never should have been posted by the hunters in question in the first place. It was done in poor taste and as a result, hunters around the world are now defending themselves and hunting because of it.

In the second instance, a questionable journalist looking for headlines took the low road and used kids as pawns against hunting in a so-called “investigative report”. The video depicted there was little more than kids legally hunting under the watchful eye of a professional outdoorsman, guide, and firearms instructor. Now, the boy’s father, Albertan Greg Sutley, is defending his family, business, hunting, and the legal practice of baiting bears.

It’s often been said that we, as outdoorsmen and women, are our own worst enemies. In light of recent public negativity towards hunting (negativity towards trapping has always been constant), one doesn’t have to wonder why. A quick visit to YouTube and you can find an array of poor hunting and trapping videos that put these pursuits in a bad light and hunters and trappers on the defensive.

In today’s world of “instant” everything, and where the world is watching, as hunters, trappers, and to a lesser extent, anglers, we must ensure that what we are posting online, be it a photo or video, is tasteful, and especially, respectful to the animal being killed. To do otherwise is merely a self-inflicted wound to the image of hunting and trapping, further bringing us under attack from the online anti’s.

Remember, the world is watching. ■

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