Nowadays with social media many of us find ourselves in somewhat of a bind. We’re proud and excited about our recent successful hunt so we want to share it with our friends and family. However, in those networks of followers and friends there are many folks that often don’t share our affinity for pictures of someone holding a dead animal. We’re the same people that will happily rant about how messed up this country or world is and how being politically correct has gone too far. Then, in the next post about a successful hunt we write something resembling, “I harvested this deer on opening day with my bow!”.
Most of us are guilty of this but after giving it some thought aren’t we just falling prey to the politically correct mindset? Saying you ‘harvested’ a deer seems a lot like a veiled apology for killing it. I’ve harvested a deer with my bow and I’ve killed one with my car and honestly the end result is pretty much the same, a dead deer. One got me pretty excited one made me rather mad and was pretty expensive but when it boils down to it there was me, a living deer, a point of impact and then a dead deer in both situations.
If we look at the word harvest and it’s actual definition most refer specifically the gathering, collecting or picking of crops. Aren’t we being a little hypocritical? We get frustrated with PETA members and animal rights groups using anthropomorphism to make people identify with animals but aren’t we doing the same thing by making our prey seem like a vegetable? Honestly using harvest to describe hunting makes it sound a lot easier than it really is. If only we could walk out into a field and gather up some deer.
So what’s wrong with killing? Well, most non-hunters have zero personal connection to the word it only reminds them of human death, tragedy or murder. In that sense it is definitely not how I feel about hunting. It’s not senseless or tragic it’s a means of procuring food. Most people are fine when they hear it used to describe nature. When watching a nature film no one cringes when they say, “the lion killed the gazelle” and they definitely don’t say, “the lion harvested the gazelle.”. For some reason when you add a human element people go nuts. Whenever I utter the phrase to someone, “I killed a deer”, I usually get a response like, “How can you just kill something?”. I’ll spare you that rant but for some reason most people see the ability to kill an animal as the ability to take life, any life, and that scares them. This where we as hunters need to educate rather than apologize.
We can use fancy words or long winded explanations but ultimately we are killers. We aren’t murderers or violent people and frankly I think most people would be surprised at how nonviolent hunting is. You can use whatever word to describe your successful hunts but I think I’m ok with just killing. Harvesting sounds boring anyway.