The Social Media and Hunting Conundrum
This past weekend marked the opening of eastern NC’s deer season for rifles and shotguns. I am a follower of numerous hunting pages on social media and it took only an hour or two after sunrise Saturday for the celebratory deer photos to begin popping up. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long before the comments started and hunters who were once proud of their harvests, were soon being bashed for pulling the trigger on “inferior” bucks. Just a few of the things I saw on the deer hunting social media sites included:
“Would you shoot or pass?”
“Why did you shoot him?”
“You can’t eat antlers!”
“If I saw that deer, I’d kill him!”
“Why did you pass that buck up?”
“You can’t grow big bucks in NC anyway!”
“So, you used a crossbow? I would never do that!”
My personal favorites were the backhanded compliments such as:
“Not a bad little buck”
“My five year old’s first buck was about that size”
“Congrats! He would have been nice next year…”
However, the most disappointing were hunters who harvested deer and took the on the role of undermining their success before others could. These included:
“Not my largest, but I don’t get to hunt much”
“Normally wouldn’t have shot him, but I only hunt a small farm”
“My freezer is empty so I took the shot”
Why would you make up a reason to harvest a deer or try to justify your decision? You saw a deer, got excited, then you shot it. No explanation is needed whatsoever. As long as it is legal and ethical, you have no one to answer to. You harvested a whitetail deer, which is no easy feat. Not to mention you took the life of one of God’s creatures. Honor that animal and be proud of it. No matter what.
One hunter even got bashed for proposing that hunters place the deer’s tongue back in its mouth and take photos with as little blood showing as possible. I agree with this, by the way. In other words, everyone who posted a photo opened themselves up to being insulted for doing what others most likely would have done if given half a chance. Unfortunately, hunters love to talk about banding together, but a touch of jealously can send a photo of a proud hunter into a whirlwind of insults from their fellow hunters who wished them luck just the week before.
This year, think before you post a photo of your deer on social media. Some sort of comments are likely to be made. This is especially true if it is on a public forum with thousands of members. I once received three death threats for shooting an albino buck when the photos were published on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Facebook page. From that moment on, I have avoided posting deer photos to these social media pages. Your hunt needs to be remembered how you experienced it. Don’t let someone who is jealous or foolish ruin it for you. Besides, my bucks look much better on my trophy wall than a Facebook wall.