Hunters Don’t Understand that We Actually Do “Get It”—but Reject It

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative


All together now, I want everyone, collectively, to say out loud with doleful sorrowfulness: “Aw, you poor thing!”

That’s for the besieged trophy hunters out there who are feeling distressed lately over a series of events that have tarnished their image. In this YouTube era of widespread communications, they can publicly share their exploits—like throwing a spear into a bear as he ate, or shooting a curious lion, or showing scenes of a young girl overjoyed by ending the life of a giraffe.

They want to think that the problem is us: the vast majority of people who don’t do those things, and who don’t want to do them. They think that we just don’t get it.

Oh, but we do.

We are not perfect; but, we don’t go out of our way to kill big, magnificent creatures who are minding their own business, and we don’t display their body parts in our homes.

It’s called empathy: the ability to think in terms of what others might feel, and a desire not to be the source of their suffering.

I have the ability to “connect with nature” and feel more like a part of the ecological whole by observing and by taking an active role in defending—not ending—the lives of our “fellow travelers” through life. My camera, sketch pad, and paints give me far more insights into nature and other species than any gun ever could. I aim to save, not kill; to protect, not kill; to help, not kill.

Killing is all too easy for humans. Each day, via my computer screen, I see the accumulating evidence of us triggering the next great extinction event.

Hunters have “regulations” to curb the killing in order to have more to kill later on—but killing is increasingly difficult to rationalize as various populations of “game” species decrease.

We get that hunters want to kill. But, we don’t.


7 thoughts on “Hunters Don’t Understand that We Actually Do “Get It”—but Reject It

  1. The hunters also forget that YouTube can work both ways. They can tout their killing, but we can see what they’ve done too.

    I always read the comments sections on stories like Aryanna Gourdin’s trophy hunting. The pro-hunters, of course, think she is wonderful. The anti-hunters complained about her delight in destroying magnificent animals. However, the hunters then turned her killing spree into a charitable event–they noted that the giraffe would feed 800 orphans! Another old excuse for trophy hunting. You would think the poor villagers and orphans would be undergoing an obesity epidemic from all that good will and generosity.

  2. I cannot ever understand why anyone wants to kill another living thing – and for fun, sport and family bonding! I always think it is some perverse holdover from our hunter/gatherer days, where we needed (?) to hunt for food, so the violent behavior had some sort of purpose. Now, with agriculture and more food and wasted food than can be comprehended, we don’t have the need to hunt for food, but as our biology hasn’t kept up, we or some of us anyway) are still left with the violent behavior – a ‘all amped up with nowhere for the violence to go’ sort of thing. Poor animals who cannot talk back, fight back, and who have no murder laws to protect them are society’s answer, I guess.

    • Absolutely. Gun groups are trying to sell hunting as good family fun. The family that slays together stays together? There is a belief that somehow fathers and sons bond on hunting trips. Pretty sorry way to do it.

  3. The other thing is I just can’t understand the ‘the killing part is actually the least important thing about hunting, and we do feel bad about it’ blather. Then why do it at all?

  4. Excellent post. I wish I could bang these words into the skulls of a few hunters and rid the world of their worthless existence while making them understand my point.

  5. Hunters or aka “exterminators” in the suburbs just won’t allow anyone to tell them not to kill deer. They feel they’re protected under the 2nd amendment and have the right to go and legally kill another live being during prescribed seasons. Some even go out on New Year’s Day because they’d rather kill than do something other like see people. They’re really sick.

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