By Mark Kenyon

“They only killed those bucks because they hunt all managed properties.”

“He probably hunts high fence properties, there’s no way he actually killed that buck legit.”

“Well, they could never kill a buck like that in my state, it’s just because they’re in Iowa.”

“If I had that kind of money, I could kill big bucks too.”

Have you ever heard another hunter make these kind of claims after seeing another hunter’s success story in a magazine or seeing pictures of someone grinning next to a big buck? Have you ever said something like this yourself after seeing someone kill a deer on TV or heard someone’s story over drinks?

I’m willing to bet my last dollar that you have. And you know why? Because this kind of talk is absolutely rampant in the hunting community. And whether we want to believe it or not, we’re all guilty of it (myself included). Often times we hunters describe our partnership with other hunters as a brotherhood or as a family bond. But there is a serious elephant in this family’s living room. And it’s jealousy and negativity.

Jealous Hunters

Now of course it’s ok to have opinions. And I certainly think it’s ok to recognize the differences between one hunter’s circumstances and yours.

But what I don’t think is ok is the obsession with putting down others. I don’t think it’s ok to try and poke holes in everyone’s success. And I don’t think it’s ok for us to constantly make excuses for ourselves (ie. “the reason I don’t kill bucks like that is because … “).

If you go on any deer hunting message board these days, you’ll come across tens, if not hundreds of different threads just tearing into other hunters. Whether it’s a hunter on TV, a hunter who shot a big buck currently being talked about in the media, or just a guy down the street. Everywhere I turn these days, I’m seeing negativity. So what’s at the root of this? I think a little bit of it might be jealousy.

I think it’s fair to say that underneath our smiling exterior, there’s probably a touch of jealousy present in all of us when we see or hear about another hunter’s success (I know we don’t want to admit it). It’s human nature, and if we’re honest about it with ourselves and work on it, it’s ok. But what I don’t think is ok is letting this jealously (or whatever you’re feeling) manifest itself in negativity shown to others. And I truly think that this is a root cause of much of the trash being talked these days in the hunting world. Guess what guys, this isn’t healthy! This isn’t helping anyone become a better hunter. This isn’t helping expand hunting to wider audiences. This isn’t accomplishing anything positive at all.

If we’re really the great big hunting family that so many of us like to gush about, we need to start putting aside a few of our differences, try being happy for each other and get our acts together.

Stop The Negativity

If you’re irritated with hunters on TV because you don’t think the tactics they show are realistic, that’s fine. Feel free not to follow their lead or watch their show. If you feel like your chances of success are different in Michigan than in Iowa, that’s fine and it’s a realization that can help you better set personal goals – but don’t hate on the guy that does hunt in that state. If you feel like a certain hunter is getting more credit than is due to them, that’s just fine and you’re obviously entitled to that opinion – but don’t rain on their parade.

What I’d encourage us all to do (I myself need to do this too), is to try to better use the metaphorical “negativity filter.” I hate to have to quote our mothers, but there is certainly a little truth to the famous line – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I know we as hunters are never all going to agree on everything, and I certainly don’t expect us all to get along all the time. But, in a world that is drawing more away from the hunting tradition every day, our unity is needed more than ever.

Sure, we’re all going to throw rocks now and then. I’m sure I still will too. But maybe if we all take this message to heart, just a little bit, we can make the hunting community a little more welcoming place.

Lets try being happy for others rather than jealous. Lets try not be so quick to judge. And lets stop the tendency to accuse or cut down others when they achieve success and instead celebrate with them.

I know this may not be the kind of thing you want to hear, and maybe you think I’m way off base. But at least hear me out on this…We don’t always need to agree with eachother. We don’t always need to even like eachother. But as fellow hunters, lets all try to at least respect each other.

– Mark Kenyon

PLEASE: Let me know what you think in the comments section. I think this is an important topic for us to have a dialogue about. Does this message resonate with you or do you think I’m off base? I’m all for hearing other sides of the coin and I don’t claim to always have the right answer, so feel free to share any opposing (or affirming) views!