Take a Stand against the Virtual Lynch Mob

Take a Stand against the Virtual Lynch Mob

It happens with more frequency now. A hunter, most often a woman, is “shamed,” harassed and sometimes threatened on social media in what in any other circumstance would be considered a terrorist act. An ensuing tsunami of haters pile on for a while until their bile-laden attention is diverted to another righteous “cause.” Because of a legal hunt in Africa, a member of one of America’s foremost families of conservation, Brittany Hosmer Longoria, has been going through the grinder of the progressive hate machine for some time now as reported, and as usual, the basis of the attacks defy logic on several levels. 

Hunters try, and some of us have been trying for decades, to use logic to convince anti-hunting, animal rights extremists that what we do is of benefit to both man and beast. The benefits of sustainable use conservation in a 7.5-billion-person world is settled science, which is logical to those who are open to new ideas, but therein lies the rub. The majority of anti-hunters have no interest in science, logic or even the well-being of animal species they profess to protect. Most anti-hunters want to stop hunting because they do not like hunting, and animals be damned.

Don’t believe me? Then here is a quote from animal rights activists Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, from her interview on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.” When discussing the fate of three species of antelope that are virtually extinct in their native habitat in Africa but are thriving in Texas due to sustainable-use hunting, Ms. Feral stated emphatically, “I would prefer they all die rather than inhabit their non-natural habitat in Texas.” When reporter Lara Logan pressed for clarification, asking if Ms. Feral would rather see the animals go extinct than be hunted, the Friends of Animals president stated coyly, “They should not be hunted.”

Let that soak in for a minute. These so-called “friends” of wildlife are really no friends at all. Their true mission—nay, their only mission—is to ban hunting. Period. The welfare of wildlife is a secondary concern at best, yet useful cover for their calculated, deceitful social-media smear campaigns to create a societal movement against hunters and hunting. We are seeing it again with Brittany Longoria, but she is just the latest on a long list of hit-jobs on hunter-victims.

Melissa Bachman, Karl Malone, Walter Palmer, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Kendall Jones, Sarah Palin, Olivia Opre, Rebecca Francis, Tim Brent …even Steven Spielberg was called out by a genius troll for posting a photoshopped pic of the director in front of a fallen Triceratops dinosaur. Despite the comic stupidity of some, this is where the hypocrisy of the antis rears its ugly head. In the name of protecting all life, many antis cry out publicly for all sorts of calamity to fall upon the offending hunter’s head. From the hopeful philosophical wish that “karma is a bitch” to the mafia-like death threats of pain, torture and death that should not only befall the hunter, but also his or her family and friends to send a “message” to their hunting brethren. An eye for an eye is one thing, but when does a right-thinking person equate the life of a deer or a coyote to that of a human being? Intellectually, the antis’ arguments collapse under the weight of the illogical nature of their reasoning. But once again, antis have no interest in that which is logical. They are only interested in abolishing hunting. So how do we respond?

For too long, I have tried to persuade those who oppose hunting with logic and science. And after employing this tactic publicly for over 20 years, I can tell you without reservation the results are underwhelming. Less than five percent of my audience ever truly changes its mind about hunting. At best, I turn some negatives to neutrals, but that is not much of a return on investment. After 20 years of consistent failure in persuading antis that what we do is of scientific and societal benefit, I had an epiphany: Stop trying to persuade, focus on those in the middle who are on the fence, and start fighting fire with fire.

Though my grades were indicative of how little I absorbed in law school, at least one important truth has stuck with me. A wise professor told me, “It is pointless to argue with a person whose living depends on disagreeing with you.” And when it comes to anti-hunters, seldom have truer words been spoken.

From the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to all the “Friends” and “Save the (fill in the blank)” organizations, these businesses dedicated to the abolition of hunting can only stay in business if their “cause” remains in crisis. Think about it. What would happen to animal rights extremist groups like Defenders of Wildlife if there were no wildlife “crisis?” Would their donor base of “wildlife guardians” continue to contribute $9 per month if wildlife no longer needed defending? Would the HSUS continue to receive its $19 monthly contributions if they were honest about the fact they operate no pet shelters? My guess is not many. 

Though there are indeed some organizations that do provide benefits to wildlife, they usually do not have six- and seven-figure media campaigns to drum up contributions. These professional animal rights fundraising organizations are much less concerned about wildlife than they are their bottom line, but one thing they almost all have in common is their universal disdain for hunters and hunting.

The reason for going off topic here for a bit is to demonstrate that these organizations that hate us are really charitable entities in name only—that their bottom line is really the bottom line. And as pecuniary motives are not the hallmark of a true philanthropic organization, it should become apparent that being “anti-hunter” is a money-making ploy that is part of the fraud they perpetrate upon the public to enhance their coffers. It is a fraud we as hunters should make public. If only there were some way we could, as individuals, communicate with the public at large to some kind of network of people to expose them. If only…

The time has come for hunters to take the fight to the antis. For too long, we have allowed the antis to frame the issues, causing hunters to be reactionary and perpetually on the defensive. But as you hopefully know by now, most of these anti-hunting “charities” are, in reality, money-making ventures disguised as philanthropies, and it is time the public knows this as well. Remember, we are in the majority here as 95 percent or more of all human beings are still carnivores.

The HSUS raises more than a million dollars each year on the backs of sympathetic puppies and kittens, yet runs no pet shelters. According to its most recent tax return, Friends of Animals has $5.7 million in the bank and pays its “I would rather see animals go extinct than have them hunted” president, Priscilla Feral, $116,000 a year. As covered by this website, groups such as Defenders of Wildlife perpetually file lawsuits against federal and state governments to restrict or eliminate hunting and then seek to recoup their legal fees from the very agencies tasked with actually defending wildlife. This is but a small subset of the kind of information anti-hunting, animal rights extremists would probably not want to have known by the general public. But the collective hunting community can make that happen.

As I have mentioned in previous writings for this website, I will continue to make it a point to expose the shenanigans and misinformation that those seeking to end all hunting put forth. But let’s take it one step farther. We as hunters should speak with a united voice on social media. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other platform of your choosing, we should coordinate our message and our hashtags. Together, we can move the needle against those organizations that are working to see hunting and, therefore, wildlife conservation eliminated. By speaking with one voice, sportsmen and women can make sure the truth about hunting is heard and that science-based wildlife management is the only logical way to secure the ongoing viability of species. 

I started this piece because of what the social media lynch mob was trying to do to Brittany Longoria, but Britt is a fighter. Let’s help show our hunting sister she is not fighting alone. Please share this powerful post from Britt and use the hashtag #standwithbrittany. 

It is time to fight back. No holds barred.

About the Author: Steve Scott is a reformed attorney, long-time university instructor, and producer and host of the “Safari Hunter’s Journal” and “Outdoor Guide” television series on air and online. www.SteveScott.TV