There are some topics in this world that divide people so strongly that it’s hard for people on opposite sides to have a real conversation about them. Those topics tend to be things people feel very passionately about — religion, politics, college football teams … and hunting.

Hunters know one thing about anti-hunters: They don’t want us to hunt any animals, ever. We love hunting, and we can’t stand the thought of someone taking away our opportunity to do it. On the other hand, anti-hunters know one thing about hunters: Hunters kill animals, and they don’t want that to happen — ever.

Now, why anti-hunters don’t want any animals to die, ever, is a much more complex story. It’s pretty safe to say that most of them don’t understand the natural world the way devoted hunters do. Anti-hunters probably haven’t seen the violent way predators like coyotes, bobcats, and wolves bring down their prey. In fact, it is safe to say that anti-hunters rely on some timeworn myths when they react so negatively to hunters.

1. Hunters have an unfair advantage, and animals are defenseless.

Modern rifles do allow hunters to kill animals quickly and humanely at hundreds of yards. However, in the whole world of hunting, most hunters must get much closer. And, while humans are out hunting game animals for three or four months of the year, other predators hunt their prey every day. So, prey animals have gotten very good at detecting and avoiding predators. These animals use very keen eyesight, hearing, and smell to avoid predators, and they can detect them at unbelievable distances.

African hunting dogs have the highest success rate in the entire world for catching their prey. They are successful 80% of the time. Compare that to one of their cousins, the wolf, which is another effective predator. Their success rate is somewhere around 10%. Almost all large ground predators — from bobcats to lions — will have a success rate of 5-30%.

Now, most people would assume — anti-hunters and hunters alike — that humans with modern technology would be much more successful hunters than animals. But, they would all be wrong. A recent study in Indiana showed a 20-22% “harvest per effort” rate in state parks for firearm hunters. That rate falls to 8-10% for bowhunters. Over the course of an entire white-tail hunting season, success rates will vary by state and region, with between 50-80% of hunters harvesting a deer, according to the Quality Deer Management Association.

But, those are statistics for an entire hunting season; wild predators would starve if they were only taking one prey animal over the course of months. Clearly, wild animals can successfully avoid human hunters most of the time.

2. Hunters don’t like animals.

It does seem strange, if you’re unfamiliar with us, to think that hunters could both love animals, yet shoot them and eat them. Hundreds of years ago, feeling affection for animals was probably a luxury that most people couldn’t afford. People were too busy hunting and gathering to think about or subscribe feelings and emotions to animals. They just saw their next source of a meal.

However, as we developed farming and ranching practices that could provide more than enough food for our families and society in general, free time allowed our minds to wander. People began to hunt animals for more than just food; it was an adventure, a return to our roots and nature, and for some, a competition for bragging rights. Somewhere in there, a few people began to think maybe hunting wasn’t right.

But most hunters today still have a deep love for the beauty and just plain awesomeness of animals. In Europe, a tradition began of giving harvested animals a “last bite” to show respect and thankfulness to the animal. Native Americans were particularly reverent about hunting, and their practice of thanking and asking forgiveness of the animal in prayer has carried on with many American hunters today.

At the very least, all hunters understand that we cannot hunt without animals, so that is why we devise so many laws, ethical guidelines and conservation rules to preserve them for the rest of our existence.

3. Hunting is about violence and is a product of a sick mind.somedays (1)

This is one myth that hunters might have helped create recently. We have not been careful about the way we portray ourselves. We have advertising and marketing that talks about “rage” and “weapons” and “attacking.” We have TV shows that show wild, loud celebrations when an animal is killed. That’s not the way any hunter I know approaches hunting, it’s just misguided marketing. The hunters I know seek to limit violence and pain, and their motivation is not the moment of killing, but all the challenges before and rewards after.

Every hunter I know has a brief moment of remorse when they are successful. Taking the life of an animal is serious. It is necessary, and it can bring happiness, but it is never flippant and is not adversarial. Sometimes we should look at ourselves while standing in a non-hunter’s shoes. Are we being respectful of life? Are we using words that should be applied to hunting … or to battle? Hunting is not a battle against animals. It’s not a game. It’s a means to feed ourselves. It’s a natural extension of our predatory instincts and motivations.

4. Hunters and poachers are the same people.

This is the most misguided myth. This is the one about which hunters can be really upset. As hunters, we spend our entire lives learning about hunting ethics and then passing them along to future generations. We intentionally make hunting success more difficult for ourselves. But poachers aren’t hunters … they’re criminals. Because of poachers, anti-hunters want to eliminate legitimate hunting, for example, where elephants are overcrowding. These anti-hunters seem to be blinded by the fact that poachers kill hundreds of thousands of elephants, often when legitimate hunters and safari operators are not allowed to act as police. These anti-hunters don’t seem to equate the amazing conservation successes of true hunters for the past 100+ years with the potential to eliminate poaching.

Just like in the misguided marketing mentioned above, there are always bad apples among our ranks who spoil the whole bunch of us in anti-hunters’ eyes — even if those hunters aren’t poachers: the guys who shoot more than they should, leave their trash in the field, and hunt illegally across fence lines. Anti-hunters don’t know we’re more ashamed of them than they are.

5. Hunting has something to do with misguided masculinity or conquering.

About 25% of U.S. hunters are women, and female participation in hunting is growing faster than men’s. Anti-hunters don’t know that, evidently (and when they find out, they tend to make sexist attacks on them). There is absolutely no difference in the ability of women to hunt when compared to men, and women have historically participated in traditional hunter/gatherer tribes around the world. Bigger, stronger men don’t have an advantage shooting a scoped rifle compared to women, children, or smaller guys. Maybe they can pull a stronger compound bow, but strength doesn’t help them aim straight.

Hunting can be challenging, and many of us like it that way. However, our joy in overcoming the challenges to be successful is not in “conquering” an animal, rather it’s enjoying our ability to be self-sufficient, to provide food, and to put our minds to work at accomplishing a simple, yet hard, task.

Think about why you hunt and why your friends and family do, too. You may never have the chance to convince an anti-hunter that what you do is really OK. But then again, maybe you will. If you get that chance, maybe this blog post will help you. As always, we would love for you to tell us in the comments other myths you’ve heard and how you would respond if you had the chance.

4 rules

As hunting season approaches, it’s a good time to brush up on your fundamentals—and if you’re teaching a new hunter, this is extra important!

Every hunter should know four simple rules to keep themselves and their hunting partners safe. Remember, these are RULES, not recommendations.

 

 

rule 11–Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

Whenever you handle a firearm—even if you’re pretty sure it’s unloaded!—open the action immediately and visually check the chamber, receiver, and magazine to be certain there is no ammunition inside. Never assume that a firearm is unloaded. A firearm should only be loaded when you are in the field or on the target range or shooting area.

 

 

rule 2

2–Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. 

Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot, particularly other hunters. A “safe direction” means no one is in or remotely near the line of fire; don’t forget about the possibility of a ricochet or that bullets may take an unexpected path. If you make it a habit to always know where your muzzle is pointing, you’ll have taken a critical safety step in preventing injuries.

 

 

rule 3

3–Be sure of your target and aware of what is beyond it.

Remember: a .22 bullet can travel more than 1¼ miles, and .270 ammunition can move as far as 3½ miles. Before every shot, you should know exactly where the bullet will strike and feel confident that you won’t injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Also remember that in some cases, your target won’t completely stop the bullet. In the case of a pass-through, the bullet may carry enough energy to travel well beyond your target, so be absolutely sure there’s nothing beyond your target, especially other animals.

 

rule 4

4–Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

A responsible hunter won’t touch the trigger on a firearm until he or she actually intends to shoot. Don’t trust your “safety” to protect you! Safeties are a mechanical device that can and will fail or slip from time to time. Keep the safety on until you are ready to fire, and only then put your finger on the trigger.

These four rules are sometimes remembered with the acronym T.A.B. + K.

“Everyone who handles a firearm needs to know the four rules of firearm safety, and particularly the first—always treat a firearm as if it is loaded. If you do this, you greatly prevent any chance of an accident or incident occurring,” said Mark Cousins, hunter education instructor and police firearms instructor for 20 years.

If you remember these four simple rules, you’ll be set up to have a great season.

Want to go over more hunting basics or get certified for your state? Find the right course for you at www.hunter-ed.com.

 

Which rule do you consider most important?

4 Rules Graphic

 

huntcontest1_blog

You can win a $100 gift card from Bass Pro Shops just by showing us your hunter education card!

Follow these simple steps to enter.

  1. Log into Twitter and to go Hunter Ed’s page: http://www.twitter.com/hunter_ed
  2. Click “Tweet to Hunter Ed”
  3. Upload an image of yourself with your hunter education card or certificate and include the hashtag: #HunterEdReward
  4. Click “Tweet,” and you’re done!

We will notify the winner via Twitter direct message once the contest has concluded.

Wait, you haven’t taken your hunter education course yet?! Get a move on! Go to www.hunter-ed.com, pick your state, and you’ll be done in no time.

Official Rules

Eligibility:

The Rewarding Safety Photo Contest (“Contest”), sponsored by Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc. (“Sponsor”), is only open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 years of age or older at the time of entry.

Employees, officers, and directors of the Sponsor and the Sponsor’s affiliated companies, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and any and all other entities directly associated with this Contest, as well as the immediate family members and members of the same household of any of the above are not eligible to participate.

Upon entering this Contest, entrants agree to waive any rights their state of residence may provide in regard to contests. Void where prohibited by law.

Entry:

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. The Contest is open to individuals 13 years of age or older who live in and are legal residents of the United States. Multiple entries will be accepted.

By submitting an entry, you agree to the terms defined within the official rules. By providing your entry, you give full and unlimited rights to the Sponsor to use, edit, broadcast, and reproduce your picture as the Sponsor sees fit.

Entries will only be accepted on the Hunter Ed blog.

Timing:

The Contest begins on September 15, 2014, at 7:00 a.m. (CST) and ends on September 26, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (CST).

Winner Selection:

Prize winner will be selected by the Sponsor and announced via social media on September 30, 2014. Only one winner will be selected. The winner will be selected upon verification by the Sponsor that all Contest requirements have been met. Odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received.

Contest entrants agree to abide by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final on all matters pertaining to the Contest. The Contest is governed by the laws of the United States. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. All taxes, fees, and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.

Prizes:

The winner will receive one (1) Bass Pro Shops gift card valued at $100. No substitution or transfer of prizes is permitted.

General:

This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Entrants agree to completely release Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram of any responsibility related to this Contest. Entrants agree to providing information to the Sponsor and not to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

By entering this Contest, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Entrants further agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects. The Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website; to be acting in violation of the Official Rules; or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person.

Limitations of Liability:

The Sponsor is not responsible for and may disqualify entries that are lost, late, incomplete, invalid, illegible, misdirected, failed transmissions, or partial or garbled transmissions, whether the result of human, mechanical, or electronic error or whether in the transmission, submission, or processing of the entries or otherwise. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft, destruction, authorized or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. The Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of email or entries on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or combination thereof, including injury or damage to participants or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this Contest. If, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc. reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest.

The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entry of an entrant who is found tampering with the entry process or with the conduct or operation of any Contest or in violation of these Official Contest Rules.

Each prize is awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either expresses or implied, outside of manufacturer’s limited warranty. No transfer, assignment, or substitution of a prize permitted, except Sponsor reserves the right to substitute for prize an item of equal or greater value in is the event an advertised prize is unavailable. All federal, state, provincial, and local laws and regulations apply.

Winners may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and, where legally permissible, a Publicity Release within 7 days following the date of first attempted notification. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. Winner hereby further agrees that he/she will sign any documents necessary to transfer copyright of the entry to Sponsor within 7 days following the date of first attempted notification.

Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor and its agencies to use winner’s name and/or likeness, biographical material, and/or entry (including an altered form of the entry) for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. By accepting prize, winner agrees to hold Sponsor, and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representative agents, successors, assigns, officers, directors and employees harmless for any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused by participation in the Promotion or acceptance or use of the prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any printing, typographical, mechanical, or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Promotion or in the announcement of the prize.

Here’s the scenario: You just passed your hunter education course and posted your success to Twitter, Facebook and — let’s not forget — Instagram. You’re finally done, but what’s next? You’re not about to just stroll out to your lease or public land with a rifle or shotgun, are you? No way, man! Now you need to do the second-best thing about hunting, which is the first-best thing besides actually hunting — collecting the right gear! After all, Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops will be a long way away if you find yourself out in the field unprepared.

There are some basic items you should just have, like a first aid kit, a GPS device or cellphone, and plenty of blaze orange for public land hunts. However, walking into an outdoor retail store can be a bit overwhelming because you’re going to see more choices of camo, boots, knives, tree stands, and every other piece of hunting equipment than you ever imagined. So, we asked a few friends — highly-qualified and experienced friends — to recommend gear that they thought new hunters should pick up.

1. KUIU GearKUIU

Recommended by Will at “The Will to Hunt”

What he says: “Buy the best clothing and boots you can afford. I use KUIU, but there are several great companies out there. You can kill an animal with a budget weapon, bow or gun, but you can’t kill them if you’re not out there. Being comfortable is the best thing you can do to help your odds of being successful. The more comfortable you are the longer you can stay out, and thus you’re more likely to be there when the opportunity arises!”

Check out other gear recommended by Will.

2. LaCrosse Boots

Recommended by Mitch Strobl of Kalkomey

What he says: “GOOD BOOTS! Don’t skimp on boots. If your feet aren’t comfy, then your hunt simply won’t be as enjoyable as it should be. There’s nothing worse than cold and/or wet feet! Consider your environment and get good boots that fit not only your feet, but the conditions in which you are hunting. I’ve worn the LaCrosse Hunt Pac Extreme boots for some time now and have been very happy with them.

“I’d also recommend a great backpack.

It’s amazing how much gear you will accrue over the years. Get a good backpack that’s waterproof, quiet, and comfortable. There are many brands to choose from, but Tenzing is the first one that comes to mind. As with any hunting gear, it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on something that is durable and comfortable. The type of pack you buy will depend greatly on the type of game you pursue.”

3. Zeiss Sports Optics

Recommended by Mia Anstine

What she says: “Gear is an important part of the hunt. A reliable firearm is important, but the quality of the optics on top is more important. Don’t skimp on your scope. Remember to take care of your scope. Practice acquiring your target at the range, and remember to look at the target in and out of the ocular. This will help you to see what is around and beyond your target when you are on the hunt. Good luck and happy hunting!” Mia’s favorite gun accessory is the Zeiss Conquest variable scope.

 

And something a bit extra…

4. SlideBelts Survival Belts

Recommended by Gear Junkie

“Why poke holes in a perfectly good piece of leather?”

We didn’t have a great answer for that question, but we stumbled upon this gear item on Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s a platform where businesses and individuals can raise funds and build awareness for their products or ideas. SlideBelts has been around since 2007, but this year they’ve unveiled plans to add a new line of survival belts.

There are three types of belts: original, wild side, and survival – each equipped with a different level of features. We won’t lie – we have our eyes on the hunter and explorer belts.  Just think how convenient it would be to have a GPS within your belt buckle. Watch the video for more ways the belt can be used.