Can’t We Just Enjoy Hunting Without Further Commercializing It?

I’m sorry…call me old fashioned, I guess, but what the hell do we need a Fantasy Hunting League for?   I say…stop living vicariously through others and GET OUTSIDE TO ENJOY THE HUNT FOR YOURSELF!   The fact that a website has identified 50 so-called celebrity “professional” hunters and is running a contest based on their field success is…well, in my opinion, very suspect at best.

Seriously folks, it is contests like this that takes us several steps further away from the true spirit of hunting.   Yeah, I get it that fishing has had professional tournaments dating back quite some time.   I also get it that people like to idolize and follow their favorite fisherman as to how they perform on the professional circuits.   Furthermore, I also get it that a big push behind these sort of fan-oriented efforts is all motivated by $$$ and sponsorship.   All that being said, it doesn’t make any of it right.

In my estimation the true heroes of our sport are not the celebrity husband and wife team obsessed with collecting large antlers who happen to be quite photogenic in front of the camera.   It’s not the celebrity who lends his name and face to help market every product that hits the store shelves, either.

Nope, the true heroes of our sport are the guy who over the years has taken each of his kids along fishing or hunting as they were growing up…and now he is doing the same by taking the neighbor kids.   The true heroes of our sport are the guys who devote countless hours of their time teaching others safe gun handling skills or the like…without the expectation for any form of recognition whatsoever for the effort.

I could go on, and on…but suffice it to say when you create contests of any kind involving hunting and fishing I feel it cheapens our beloved sport.   In particular, when the contest involves wagering on how others might perform in the activity.

It’s bad enough we can’t get young sportsmen away from their video games…and now if we get them away from the TV’s only to move them to the computer where they can set their fantasy fishing or hunting teams up…what have we accomplished?   It’s plain sad to see…if not downright disgusting to even contemplate.

There used to be a time when sportsmen would gather at the local coffee shop and discuss how ‘ol Pete just nailed a big buck last night or how that crazy Sam on the weekend landed a big walleye he subsequently released back.   THIS was the sort of information that motivated hunters and fishermen to get outdoors after work or on the weekends to live the hunting experience for themselves.

Perhaps a new generation of hunters have just too many options or distractions these days.   Is is possible that younger hunters today can “scratch their itch,” so to speak, for hunting by letting someone else do the grunt work and they will just take the glory for guessing who is most likely to succeed?   To some extent it appears so.

I have to believe there are not many 50 or 60 year olds who flock to the Fantasy Hunting League website with hopes of winning it all.   For that matter, there may not be many 30 or 40 year olds doing so, either.

I’m just a bit concerned how the newest generation of sportsmen—particularly hunters—gets out and participates in our sport.   I’m convinced you need to live the outdoor experience first-hand in order to truly develop the life-long interest in the activity.   Sure, it’s okay to follow the success of other hunters and to use that as a motivation for your own outdoor experiences, but let’s do so within certain limits and while keeping some proper perspective.

Bottom line is…if a hunter has extra time on their hands to follow dozens of famous hunters on their escapades into the outdoors…then it’s time that hunter takes a serious look into the mirror.   I contend what will be revealed is a hunter who is not maximizing his/her time wisely by fully developing their own dreams in the out-of-doors.   Think about it.

©2011 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.