Social Media and Hunting Success

IMG_0035I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time and today seems like a great day to share some thoughts regarding how I view the taking of game as well as where my perspective leads me with regard to my decisions to post my kills on social media….or not.

Just to be clear I’m not talking about all parts of hunting here. Hunting to me is the heritage passed down from my dad and grandpa of how to be a steward of the land. Hunting is woodsmanship and appreciation for the outdoors. Hunting is all the archery practice and hard work we put in hanging stands and sharing that hunt with friends and family. These pieces of the adventure tell a magnificent story which I’m very comfortable sharing on Social Media. To me Hunting is everything I described that leads us to a moment of absolute certainty…..the taking of an animals life.

So what is the appropriate word? Is it a Trophy? Is it a Kill? Is it a Harvest? I believe subconsciously the term our minds gravitate toward leads us in a direction. For example, I view belt buckles and plaques I’ve won at archery shoots Trophies. Everyone feels good sharing a trophy and having someone like it or leave a congratulatory comment when they win something. I know I sure do and that’s why I post it. It’s an opportunity to express how blessed we are to get to do what we love and thank our sponsors and our support systems such as family and friends. I don’t think it’s boastful or proud if it’s done with the proper intent. Pretty cut and dried right??

The kill is a bit different. It’s something very very personal to me. It’s always a living creature that I took for my benefit. Initially, just like most of you Its an adrenaline rush before and after the shot. The feeling that comes next for me is always, without fail, a somber and emotional moment. I’m apologetic for the pain I caused, I’m regretful that the hunt is over, I’m reverent, and most of all I’m thankful. God  blessed me with this opportunity and a moment of thankfulness should never be overlooked. It’s something I share with no other person or thing at that moment. It’s been this way for me since I can remember.

From time to time my pride as a man drives me to dismiss these pieces of emotion but I don’t allow that to happen.  I believe God places those emotions in our heart and soul for a purpose.  We shouldn’t dismiss these emotions, we should process them.  They help us to be compassionate and forgiving and remorseful. My first deer kill felt the same to me as my most recent one.  I always go back to one simple non-negotiable truth….this experience and this animal is a gift, so make the most of it.

I guess the best way to frame it up is, the adventure of the hunting something I’m willing to share however, the kill is something I choose to keep personal.  As I get more and more into this blog I wonder if my perspective will change just a bit….time will tell.  The cool thing about this blog is I can tell the whole story.

Another thing to think about is friends and family that we may be sharing a hunt with. I remember last year when LaDonna took her first deer I was excited for her so I took a photo and started to share it on FB without even considering her experience and her wishes. Lesson learned on my part. I even mentioned it to her and it made her think about what she wanted from the experience. So when you are out there with your loved ones and your buddies let them make that decision for themselves or at least ask before you act.

The emotion of those moments make the memory clearer and more vibrant in my mind than any photo could ever be. That emotion and that memory are all I’ll have to hold on to when I’m no longer physically able to hunt or fish. In my final moments on this earth, my thoughts of my loved ones and my moments in the outdoors will be clear in my mind and not on a page that I won’t be able to go back to.

At the end of the day no one has the right to judge you for your decision to post or the content within said post. The good news is there are no wrong answers here. It’s about your individual viewpoint and the parts of your adventure that you choose to share and the parts you choose to keep private. Hopefully sharing my thoughts helps you make a decision for yourself.

RJ

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