By Jason Reid
Rochester, New York – -(Ammoland.com)- We are at a pivotal point in our existence as a hunting and shooting sports culture.
Constantly under attack by anti hunting individuals, anti hunting groups and legislators, our communication is key to the success of defending hunting.
Melissa Simpson, the Director of Government Affairs and Science Based Conversation for Safari Club International, and Taylor Gross, a partner with the Herald Group, from Washington D.C., took a few minutes to discuss communicating the positive side of hunting at the legislative level.
What I found was a much larger scope, purpose and reach of information that even the everyday hunter can use. Look, we have a variety of different organizations which represent different facets of the outdoors and hunting sports industry. Both were adamant, Safari Club International (SCI) truly represents the hunter. Other organizations represent the interests of different sections of hunting community, but SCI directly represents the interests and defends the ability to hunt, all over the world. They are our collective voice, even when we don’t realize it.
Gross told me, “Anti hunters, are wolves in sheep's clothing [taking advantage of misinformation], we need to educate every hunter and show the impact of hunting around the world, in order to let cooler heads prevail.”
But communicating the heritage and common sense of hunters is not always easy and both Gross and Simpson agreed the challenge in communicating about hunting is to not allow emotion and misinformation influence decision making. The best way both Simpson and Gross found to be effective is to communicate with science based facts.
“The bottom line is, it is hard to debate the science of how hunting not only benefits wildlife but peoples lives as well. Conservation is easily understandable when communicated clearly and crosses lines from law makers to soccer moms.”
The key is to not let our own emotions get in the way of speaking clearly and with a purpose.
During a recent public opinion research project, with a mixed group of hunters and non-hunters, concerning lion hunting in Africa, Gross and Simpson found the tipping point. Gross and Simpson realized when value messages showing hunting economically improved lives were presented, attitudes changed. The non hunters in the project would agree with hunting when presented, directly benefiting people around the world.
It was also interesting to note how when people and their economy become threatened by predators such as, lions, bear and wolves, the opinions of hunting changed.
Our job as hunters and conservationists is to know the information, know the facts and don’t just say, someone else will take care of it. When you bring in the economic value of hunting, people tend to “get it.”
Gross told me, “Even African villagers understand the value of the animals around them and work to protect them. They realize if they can sustain their herds and people pay to come hunt, the money generated directly impacts local communities, improving their economies.”
While this happens all over the world, being able to show lawmakers how hunting improves lives, quickly changes the tune of even the most stubborn person.
But we also know this, hunting isn’t all about money. Animals are not just a dollar sign walking around. Presenting the heritage and connection to our roots also helps in the communication with people from all walks of life. The economics and the heritage must go hand in hand. We know hunting impacts our personal relationships. It binds us, and draws us together as a unified body and on the most simple level, say a father and daughter duo sitting in a duck blind. We just need to remember to communicate the backstory and the heart of the content of what we do.
Communicating about hunting is fast becoming one of the most pertinent issues facing hunters today. It is no longer reserved for just the organizations and advocacy groups, it reaches down to even the weekend hunter. If you need to learn more, factual research is at your finger tips. Don’t be afraid to ask question. Have open discussion with your hunting partners to push each other on your knowledge and dialogue.
Because when the day comes and you need to stand up to defend our heritage, you will be adequately prepared to present our lifestyle in the best light possible.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com