From the Instagram video post on September 25, 2019, I smile after I have shot a Cape Buffalo with a crossbow and one bolt arrow. Take a screenshot or pause the video and there is the classic "grip-and-grin" trophy photo the non-hunting public cannot relate. Press play on the video again. You hear my voice quivering full of emotion, eyes tearing up, and my smile is more of an authentic processing reaction versus a show of lightheartedness. Hunting and harvesting is something we should never take lightly. However, sometimes, still, photographs are not worth a thousand words we intend them to mean.
The leopard photo that went viral is a perfect example of a classic pose seen throughout the hunting community but completely misunderstood by good folks who have no hunting experience.
Classic grip-and-grin photo
Hunters are under fire, but not from trusted professional wildlife biologists and land managers (both groups unanimously support ethically managed and regulated hunting worldwide), but from a violent minority of Animal Right Extremists. We cannot try and change their views. We can do a better job communicating our passion to those middle-of-the-road on the topic.
Times have changed since our ancestors could tell a story around a fire, as have our methods of communication. Where once story reigned supreme, now it is technology and all his ADHD offspring: texting, Twitter, Instagram, email, Facebook, et al. What we have gained in efficiency, we have lost in effectiveness.
As modern hunters, our cave wall is digital platforms, and our images have to tell a story to those who have not learned to listen to our words. What are your pictures saying to the non-hunting public?