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National Hunting Debate: Why We Need to Win, Why We Will Win

Next week a lot of people who normally give no thought to hunting will hear reasoned arguments for all the good it does. A nationwide audience including representatives from the media, academia and public-policy institutions will be paying attention on Wednesday, May 4, from 6:45–8 p.m., when the syndicated radio program Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) hosts a live debate titled “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” at New York City’s Kaufman Center.

Of course the audience will also hear why hunting is bad and should be stopped.

For those of us who have something genuine to lose if the anti-hunters succeed, such a forum may seem like so much intellectual circus. You and I know the truth of it, and yet for years we’ve endured the anti’s bigotry and twisted logic. So what’s the point?

Here it is: We can’t ignore away our enemies. Their bullhorn via big media is way disproportionate to their actual traction in American life, but increasingly the latter is influenced by the former. And so we need to speak out whenever and wherever there’s an opportunity. The more visibility the better.

Pro-hunt debaters Anthony Licata, Editor in Chief of Field & Stream, and Catherine Semcer, COO of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants, will present the facts of science-based wildlife management and explain why hunting’s consequences and values are desperately relevant to a drifting society. The opposition, namely Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the United States, and Adam M. Roberts of Born Free USA, will no doubt tout a Bambi-esque worldview where all wild creatures thrive in harmony if hunters would just butt out.

However, in the formalized debate spotlight, tear-jerk fantasies can’t run from actual brainpower and reason. Fortunately there are many tangible reasons why we have right on our side, and regardless of one’s preconceived beliefs or denials, truth is like water—it’ll find a way in.    

Last week we asked Anthony for a sense of how he intends to be our advocate, and his down-to-earth response was perfectly fitting coming from a lifelong Pennsylvania deer hunter who now heads up an iconic magazine that’s shaped hunting and hunters for nearly six generations. (Watch here)

Go get ’em, Anthony and Catherine! We can’t afford to give any quarter.

The live audience actually judges this contest, based on before vs. after electronic scoring. The side that changes the most opinions wins. Every one of us needs to take part in the pre-event poll, and you can either attend “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” at the Kaufman Center (129 W. 67th Street, New York, NY 10023—purchase tickets here) or tune in for a compelling head-to-head opportunity to set the record straight. The live debate will air on 200 public radio stations as well as webcast and podcast, or you can click here to watch it live.