August 01, 2013
Shoot Me Down: Spare Me the Heart-Shot Photo
By Dave Hurteau
Have you seen this? A buddy texts or emails you a photo from the field. But it’s not a picture of a handsome critter, posed to look as dignified as possible given that it’s dead. Rather, it’s a picture of the poor animal's bloody heart, sitting in the hunter’s bloody hand, with a hole blasted or a tunnel sliced through the middle of the bloody organ.
Now, you might accuse me of hitting too fat a pitch here; you might say that this sort of thing is so obviously tasteless that it needn’t be called out. And I might agree, but for the growing number of guys who seem to be doing it—even some that you’d expect would know better. On a hunt last fall, a colleague who is by all other accounts a model of good taste and decorum was seen rooting through a gut pile with camera in hand.
When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Uhhhh….” Apparently, the germ of this stupid trend had wiggled into this unfortunate guy’s cranium, like a brain-eating amoebae, and rendered him not only tasteless but also mute.
Sure, guys have been known to root through gut piles to judge the performance of a bullet, for example. But just because you can take a picture and share it instantaneously doesn’t mean you ought to. Besides, this isn’t what I’m seeing, but rather just the pierced organ, with no point to be made other than “I did this.” Sometimes it includes the caption: “Perfect shot.” And, sad to say, it seems like the culprits are usually my fellow archers, riding the gore-wallowing wave that seems to be rising in bowhunting culture.
As for the typical hero shot, you might admit there’s something a little weird about throwing your arm around a dead animal and posing like you’re on vacation together. I know a few guys who won’t sit for this photo. That said, it is certainly not always or necessarily tasteless. While there may be an element of bragging or a hint of conquest, with any hope those things are tempered or even overshadowed by a respectful pride and a desire to showcase the animal—to honor it.
But this hole-in-the-heart garbage takes the deer right out of the picture. It’s all about the hunter. It’s straight bragging. It’s “Look what I did.” And it’s nasty too. You might as well take a picture of a turd you're proud of. “Dude, you gotta see this.”
I’m not squeamish. I can handle blood and guts. But innards for your ego? No thanks.
There, that’s my two cents. I’m probably full of it, as usual, so shoot me down—or stand with me. Either way, the person who makes the best argument will be invited to sound off right here as a guest blogger.