I recently brought a full mount lynx home to adorn my basement. A room that is turning into a stereotypical ‘man cave’, if you will.
Now, depending on your point of view- this is either a room of indescribable memories, filled with adventure, laughs and stories that will be passed on for generations- and honestly, some that bare no repeating (never know who’s reading and how old they are) OR- a room of death, and despair.
I prefer the former. Let me explain.
Emotional management seems to be taking over the social media channels. Everywhere you look, there is a campaign to ‘Save the bears’ or ‘Save the wolves’ or ‘Save whichever fuzzy animal you choose’.
I completely understand the motivation behind it. Hunters and the ‘save the ______’ campaigns have so much in common.
Et tu Brute? Et tu?
Before anyone that knows me thinks I have given up my ‘knife’, I will delve into this a bit. Absolutely we do. We want sustainable use of the environment, we want to ensure that waterways and habitats are preserved in perpetuity, and we want to make sure there are ample wildlife populations for all to enjoy.
So, what is the crux of the argument? Emotion.
Hunters realize the importance of science and evidence-based management when it comes to wildlife.
Now, I am not saying that those on the fence about hunting or against it completely are anti-science, I am just stating that the lions share (Sorry Cecil) of the argument pushed on social media is the emotion sells.
Refer to that old adage- Sex, controversy, and violence sell!
What is better to raise attention for your cause? Well, a little controversy. A controversy we as hunters has not waded into very well. We scream for science but let emotion take the argument. We shoot ourselves in the foot before we even leave the starting blocks.
We are on the same team here. Instead of anger, use empathy. Really listen to their thoughts. I would bet that there is something you can connect on. Something that you can use to bridge a gap to understanding. Not necessarily acceptance, but an understanding.
Explain your point of view, and more importantly, listen to understand theirs- do not listen to respond.
We only have one world, and we are going to have to share it.
Back to the lynx mount. For those that have the first reaction of ‘how can you do that?’ or similar- understand that Lynx are in no way endangered, and part of sound wildlife management is to harvest all species. We saw well over 10 in the year I took this one and have seen countless in the years since.
We are a part of nature, and as such- we need to do our part to ensure healthy populations by managing.
Lynx are a species that requires a tag to be purchased, and within 30 days of the kill- you are required to fill out a form that the biologists use to further study and in turn, set seasons based on harvest rates.
Part of being a hunter is the desire to just be outside. It becomes spiritual and primal. Something comes alive as you settle into your call set, your hike, or your stand. Your senses tune in, and a connection that cannot be described, but must be felt is there. We sit and enjoy watching more animals than we take. I cannot tell you how many animals I have just watched without even the thought of raising a scope.
Those who know… know…those who do not- I hope one day you know that connection in the way a hunter does. Feel free to ask questions about hunting- or how I choose to get my food to feed my family. I am more than happy to discuss it.
Oh…and for those dying to ask- Yes, this one was delicious.