Chad Love: Environmentalists On Hunters

I was flipping through a magazine in the doctor’s office waiting room recently when a story caught my eye. The magazine was National Geographic Adventure and the story was an interview with professional mogul Ted Turner.

Now I happen to like National Geographic Adventure very much. Like every publication produced by the National Geographic Society, it’s well-written and the photography is first-rate (It doesn’t have an Ellie for General Excellence, but they can’t all be perfect, right?)

However, as I read through the interview I came to the following question posed by writer Todd Wilkinson, which I believe is one of the stupider ones I’ve ever seen a professional journalist ask…

From the story:

_A: Has environmentalism diminished your passion for hunting?

TT: In summer I like to fish with a fly rod, and in winter I enjoy hunting quail with a shotgun. I don’t hunt large animals anymore, not because I don’t believe in it, but I’ve done enough. I prefer watching big game roam live. But let me tell you, we do have plenty of trophy bull elk at Vermejo_

The implied message in this question – that hunting and environmentalism are mutually exclusive activities – speaks volumes to how the “mainstream” environmental press views hunting. It’s a starkly myopic and binary point-of-view. Either you are an “environmentalist” or you are a “hunter.” There is apparently no middle ground there.

Either you care only about saving the planet or you care only for shooting the hell out of its inhabitants.

Here’s the question: whose fault is that? Ours, for not more forcefully and eloquently stating our case? For not putting aside our “tree-hugger” cliches and working toward common goals? Or theirs, for refusing to give up their own cliches and refusing to recognize our crucial role in conservation?