Reaping may be legal where you hunt, but don’t expect a pat on the back if you promote the act.
Now that we’re squarely in the middle of turkey season, that tired, old narrative about hunters being required to stay on the same sheet of music has resurfaced. And oh, how I hate it.
HEY MAN! HUNTERS GOTS TO STICK TOGETHER AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER ‘CAUSE WE’RE BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND WHATNOT. ALLS OUR RIGHTS IS GONNA GET TAKEN AWAY IF WE DON’T GET ON-BOARD WITH REAPING TURKEYS. ROCK, FLAG AND EAGLE!
Here’s the problem with that line of thinking: we now live in the age of social media and the internet, and hunting celebrities are in a constant battle for relevancy. Calling in a bird the traditional way used to be enough, but apparently that method doesn’t “cut the mustard” any longer. The only way to drive audience engagement today is to wave a turkey fan around in an open field and blast one at three feet. THAT’LL GET US A FEW MORE VIEWS, RICKY!
And, it’s amazing just how many of the hunting industry’s most popular figures still believe they should be absolved from any criticism for the content they create. I genuinely don’t care what one does on their own land, but the second they put it online all bets are off. Is there any consideration for how this content might affect other hunters? Or is it only about promoting one’s brand?
Turkey numbers are declining in many parts of the country. At the same time, wildlife agencies are going behind residents’ backs and paying influencers to promote public land hunting opportunities for non-residents. Private land access is becoming increasingly more difficult. Naturally, this makes hunting a little more difficult, too. More hunters, fewer birds and places to hunt them – is the picture getting clearer? SO WHY WOULD YOU GO AROUND PROMOTING A METHOD THAT MAKES TURKEY HUNTING SO MUCH EASIER!? I just don’t see how popularizing this tactic serves us well in the long run.
ARE WE LIVING IN THE F**KING MATRIX? IS THIS THE LOGIC WE’RE USING? LET’S ALL GO DRIVE HERDS OF BISON OFF OF CLIFFS WHILE WE’RE AT IT!
Alright, alright, I’ll settle down. And, I don’t want to single out Michael Waddell – there are plenty of others who maintain his position on the matter. He seems like a nice enough guy who’s been a good friend to T-Bone, which is more than admirable. But he’s wrong here, and I’m also not buying into the notion that disagreeing with reaping is going to give the anti-hunting community more ammunition against us.
Anti-hunters are ignorant and emotionally-driven. They don’t know their ass from third base when it comes to conservation and wildlife management. What anti-hunters care about are things that trigger an emotional response, such as videos of reaping turkeys or spine-shooting an elk and letting it drown in a wallow. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s admirable. And, just because you have a YouTube channel, that doesn’t mean everything needs to be put on the internet.
I maintain a very distinct line in the sand: Does ______ make hunting better? If yes, it’s a good thing. If no, it’s a bad thing. Who am I to say what’s good or bad, you ask? To be honest, I’m a nobody, but this is my website and my opinion. Luckily, there seem to be a few people who agree with me.
At the end of the day, we live in a free country and if you want strap a fan to your head and act like a jackass, be my guest. Just don’t expect me, or anyone else, to “celebrate” your decision.
Your life won’t end if the bird wins. Food for thought.