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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a bad picture is worth 10,000.

Those of us who care about hunting can no longer afford to dismiss the fact that some of the images we share and post on social media are, at a minimum, having a negative effect on the public image of hunting, if not providing animal rights and anti-hunting groups ample cannon fodder with which to fire back at us.

Our hunting and our images used to be contained to our magazines, photo albums, camps and gatherings. Now they are on television and posted everywhere with no story and no context. Blaming the Internet for this misfortune is like blaming a fork for our expanding waistline.

We’re hunters. We get it. Animals die in hunting. But to a global audience of non-hunters who may gain access to our photos, hunting images have proven offensive. Then there are the anti-hunting trolls just looking for anything they can use to turn people against hunting.

The reality today is ethical hunting encompasses more; it now extends to what we do on social media. Another old saying applies here: Look before you leap.

Here are some helpful tips for not getting bloodied and personally attacked on social media from posting images and stories about your hunting adventures online:

  • Make sure your security settings are set so only the people you want to have access to your social media accounts have access. Read more about security settings at this link.
  • Avoid images showing blood and tongue; bullet entry or exit; arrows; standing or sitting on the animal; posing with your animal or birds as if they are a prop and you are the conquering hero; or hanging from the back of a truck or backhoe, etc.
  • Try to include images that tell the whole story of a memorable experience, not just the end result.

As hunters, we need never apologize for all that we do and what sportsmen have done for wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation. We do however have an obligation to demonstrate respect for the hunted and the sensitivity of others who also care about wildlife.