Bullies have been around as long as humans have roamed this earth. It is a result of an insecurity married with a lack of ability to reason with another individual that forces the bully to feel they have to show a false sense of greater power in order to get their point across. It has become one of the key words over the last few years in the political universe as well.
In decades past kids whom were bullied were told to fight back. Once the bully knew it was no longer an easy win, they would back down and find another to try to express their perceived power over. Of course, with the change in times and social climate, those people no longer have that direction to take. Even a small retaliatory reaction after months or years of abuse can cause the bullied to be in even more trouble than the bully.
The school yard has historically been the home of bullies, with the lunch money swiping big guy towering over the small shaky boy taking everything including homework and pride. There is a class of work place bully that fits into the newly focuses political arena also. Without the ability to manage others, the work place bully forces desired results with intimidation and threats rather than encouragement and guidance.
Sports also had an unseen bully factor until recently. The Miami Dolphins brought much of that to light with the Incognito/Martin incident. Bullying was also present on the fields; it is just hard for the fan to notice from the nosebleed seats above. During the 80’s and 90’s Gary Payton, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were infamous for their trash talking and belittling of other players. Fans appreciated them for their success and skills, but other players were often left with their feelings hurt and heads hanging in defeat both mentally and physically.
But we have experienced bullying techniques in the outdoors world as much as any. There is a constant battle between the haves and the have-nots. There is a constant bashing of those that approve of a different style and technique with those that approve of only one type of hunting. There is a constant clash between outdoorsmen and self-proclaimed conservationists.
I witnessed several months ago a very public battle on social media between two heavy weights in the outdoors world. Off handed comments, low hitting insults, and possible false accusations were thrown out like candy on Halloween. Venomous talk between the two damaged my perception of both. These two respected hunters and outdoorsmen lost my all of my respect. Was it because one had more sponsorships, more fans, or more viewers? I do not know for sure, but it caused a rift that divided fans and outdoorsmen, and brought in questions as to the real focus of various television shows as related to hunting.
It does not stop there. I even catch myself in disagreements over some things. For instance, some hunters only believe a hunt is a hunt if it one person, self-guided, with one particular style of weapon or technique. I primarily bowhunt, and have made comments in private that the reason I like to bowhunt is because to me, sitting in a boxed stand from hundreds of yards away waiting for Mr. Big to show is not hunting. I am wrong. It is hunting. It is just a different style.
A guided hunt does not make one any less of a hunter than one that self-guides. A different skill set maybe, but not less of a hunter.
Yes, some hunts are easier, with a higher potential for success. But it is no reason to attack and bash another.
The battles between PETA, and other factions and organizations against outdoorsmen are too numerous to account for. They are rarely conservation groups. Conservation and preservation are different entirely. If you were to look up conservation in a Google search, there are definitions that merge the two words. However, those definitions are wrong. Preservation prevents the hunting of wildlife and the use of the habitat. Conservation controls the habitat and wildlife in a manner to sustain it for the future. Of course, this can go on to another essay altogether, and probably should. But bullying tactics from both sides are used in order to get the upper hand in the argument.
We, as individuals, need to understand the consequences of not only our actions, but our reactions as well. We need to know that sometimes a push from our power can gain what we want, but it is a false gain, as those affected are driven further away from whatever our cause may be. And as hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen in general, we need the respect and support of the majority in order to teach and experience those things we enjoy with our future generations.