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Another hunter gets in hot water over African safari photo

Another hunter gets in hot water over African safari photo

Well, it happened again: another mini-scandal has erupted due to some photos an American took during a hunt in Africa. However, this incident is noteworthy for two reasons.

First, though anti-hunters are certainly getting involved as well, some of the most intense criticism of the man in question is coming from fellow hunters. Second, the hunt took place in Namibia where the government is urging hunters to refrain from posting photographs of dead animals on social media.

It all began when Blake Fischer, a member of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, emailed photos from a recent hunt in Namibia to a number of his friends and colleagues. The message included a photo of Fischer with four baboons that he shot on safari with his recurve bow.

Image courtesy of Idaho Statesman

To be clear: nobody is accusing Fischer of doing anything illegal on his hunt.

None of the animals he hunted are endangered. On the contrary, baboons are so common and widespread that they are considered vermin in many areas.

Instead, most of the criticism of Fischer stems from the fact that he took a photo of himself with some dead baboons that some would call offensive or tasteless and then distributed it to a wide audience.

I only bring up the incident to illustrate that we as hunters must be mindful of how non-hunters perceive our actions. True, it’s not your fault if someone gets offended by a photo you took. However, even though you might not have done anything illegal, you still might face some consequences for that action further down the line.

That’s the situation we’re in right now. While most people in the United States don’t hunt, they aren’t opposed to hunting either.

Unfortunately, distributing photos of a smiling hunter posing with a family of dead baboons isn’t likely to win us any friends in that group of people. Photos like that are also great ammunition for anti-hunters to use in their fight to sway public opinion against hunting.

Before digital cameras, hunting trophy photos were much more difficult to distribute. For the most part, the only people that saw them were friends and family of hunters who understood all of the other aspects of hunting besides just the actual killing of the animal.

Things are much different now and it’s a lot easier for photos to reach an audience that doesn’t know the backstory of the hunt. As a result, they’re much more likely to get the wrong idea about hunting when they see photos like that.

For that reason, it’s important to be very careful about the trophy photos we take. Above all, treat the animal with dignity and respect both during and after the hunt.

Additionally, be cautious about where you post the photo and who you send it to. Some people just don’t want to see photos of the deer you shot this fall than that’s perfectly fine. Respect their wishes and don’t show it to them unsolicited.

Before distributing a photo or posting it on social media, try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know anything about hunting. If that photo would make you and the hunting community as a whole look bad, then you probably shouldn’t be distributing it.