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NAT’L – HUNTING – The Future of Hunting in America

 

When I think about the future of hunting, I consider Cameron Hanes. You might think that strange, and if you don’t, you should. Hanes is a bowhunting junkie whose “Lift Run Shoot” lifestyle, as he summarizes it, has attracted a massive social media following. He crushes a couple of marathon-length runs a week. His mottos, “Keep Hammering” and “Nobody Cares, Work Harder,” appear on T-shirts gobbled up by his fans, who are mostly young men. His very manly persona has drawn many of these young men into bowhunting and all the self-improvement that comes from struggling to be a successful predator. The point is, if a person can become all that Hanes has in today’s surreal, social media, alternate-reality world while attracting legions of fans from Instagram—he has more than 800,000 followers there alone—then there is little doubt there is a future for hunting in America. It just might not be what we think it is. Hunters might become, dare I say it, hip. Nothing, after all, is more “green” than game meat naturally harvested from the wild. Nothing is more environmentally friendly than hunters managing game populations as they pay fees and taxes that fund conservation projects all over America. Imagine that, a few years after Cecil the lion and all the lies the mainstream media spun about that hunt-turned-public-relations nightmare (for anyone who earns their own meat), hunting could actually bust into the realm of popular culture and be what it hasn’t been since at least the 1950s—it could be cool! Right now, the trend Hanes is a part of is more counterculture or subculture than mainstream, as the hunter’s role in the natural cycle of things still isn’t popularly understood today. But the signs of change are here. The meteoric rise of the “Duck Commander,” which morphed into the popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty” a few years back, did reach the mainstream. Steven Rinella’s show on Netflix is also reaching non-hunters. So is the actor Chris Pratt, who announced a while back that he’d only eat meat he killed for an entire year (he did immediately carve out exceptions, like maybe a basket of spicy hot chicken wings now and then). Also, popular reality TV shows on the Discovery Channel and other networks, such as “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” often show people hunting to secure meat before the north’s long winters settle in. Even the Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” often shows its nude participants doing all they can to kill their own meat.  [full article]

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