October 20, 2010
Hurteau: The American Whitetail Authority Competition is Tofu
By Dave Hurteau
You cannot take the killing out of hunting any more than you can take meat out of a hamburger. When you try, you get tofu.
The American Whitetail Authority World Championship competition is not hunting—or even as a recent New York Times headline puts it “A Kind of Hunt (That Even Deer Can Get Behind).” Rather, it is a group of competitors using $1,200 DigitalHunter scopes atop blank-firing training shotguns to take 10-second video clips of their “shots” to be evaluated and scored by judges. The final will be held in Mississippi this month and aired on the Outdoor Channel early next year.
In other words, it’s tofu.
There’s nothing wrong with tofu. Just don’t tell me it’s hamburger.
And there’s nothing wrong with a photo contest. Just whatever you do, don’t tell, don’t even hint to folks that it is hunting—because folks get easily confused on this topic. On one hand, to his credit, AWA founder Greg Koch says explicitly that the competition is not meant to replace hunting, and he is quick to place the focus on education and conservation. But on the other, he tells the Times that its main goal is to reward hunters who consistently take clean shots on mature deer—when of course the “hunters” are not hunters and the “shots” are not shots, which is—well—a little confusing.