What is hunting? Certainly there are individuals far more qualified to answer this question than I. So rather than give a definitive description, I will offer only my insight and belief. I've heard hunting described as recreation, trophy hunting, outdoor activity, sport hunting, and blood sport just to name a few.
First off hunting is not a sport! While there are some parallels between hunting and sport, a clear distinction needs to be made, for in the label of sport lies an image of winner and looser. It's a socially demeaning image that leaves a non-hunting public questioning; why is this an accepted sport? After all a winning game ends in the death-in the non-hunters eye-of some poor unsuspecting animal. It's this labeling that puts a foul taste in the mouths of our non-hunting and inexperienced-in the ways of wood lore-peers. Such thoughtless labeling gives credit to such derogatory terms as blood sport, killing fields, and Bambi killers.
Unfortunately, much of what gets publicized today does little to label the modern hunter as anything less than a blood crazed lunatic out for horns and trophies. How many adds are out there that say, "use our product and you'll kill bigger bucks!" These ads are displayed in magazines gracing our newsstands and on television programs. They are often accompanied by endorsements of hunting's elite spokespersons giving credit to the way hunting is and should be practiced in America.
That follows with the question; is this the way hunting should be portrayed? Should it be televised blood sport? Should it be televised at all? These are thought provoking questions for those of us concerned with how the public views our leisure activity. And what's more, it raises concerns about hunting's future in America.
The future of hunting, in this hunter's mind lays simply in the definition of what hunting is. It is a time-honored chase of predator in prey. It's an inescapable truth of human nature, a predatory temperament developed over thousands of years. It is not a sport! It's a strong and vital activity that fosters self-reliance, an understanding of life and death, and a clannish almost tribal community of likeminded individuals. It's an activity that should remain for those with the love and desire to embrace their feral spirit. But it is an activity that should remain sacred and undisclosed.
In simple definition, hunting is simply what it is. It doesn't need media-maniacs redefining it through less than tasteful advertising and programs. Hunting is a way to express and understand our ecology and ourselves. It is a activity that should continue to be enjoyed and shared with family and friends for generations to come.