Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver, and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison (Genesis 27:3).
We all know someone who has been “attacked” by an anti-hunter on social media, or maybe it has even happened to you. The anti’s are generally rude, hateful, and at times down-right threatening. Now, imagine living with that person who despises everything you are about and live for; I did and I don’t think it had the effect on me that she had hoped.
“Living with the Enemy” is a new series on Lifetime, and it’s just as it sounds. You live with a person who has the exact opposite way of thinking as you do. In the episode I appear in, I am paired with a vegan/animal activist. I am an avid hunter and love the outdoors, my home is decorated with mounts, my refrigerator is full of food that comes from animals and wild game, and my wardrobe includes leather and down-filled coats. So, in other words everything about me and my home repulsed the vegan.
When I began this adventure I never had plans of making the vegan a hunter. I knew that she would be just as headstrong about her lifestyle as I am about mine. My goal was to tear down some of the stereotypes that are associated with hunters: uneducated, “rednecks”, dangerous, heartless, etc. I wanted to show the vegan and the viewers that hunters are responsible, caring individuals who work hard to keep this legacy alive for future generations. I also started this experiment with an open-mind, I wanted the vegan to be as comfortable in my home as any other guest and I really didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what she was going to be like and I hoped that we would have good, thought-provoking discussions and to be able to at least respect each other’s lifestyle.
The vegan was shocked the moment she walked in our home because our living room is full of mounts from the animals that my husband and I have killed. We continued to shock her throughout her visit in Arkansas. We completely immersed her into our life from the food we ate (which she never tasted), to the activities we partake in with our friends. By the time she was ready to return home, I feel that I at least had changed her views slightly on who hunters are and how we believe; I did not “fit” her ideas of a big, bad hunter.
When it was my turn to go live in the vegan’s world I was headed to New York City, but before I could leave there were threats to my life and bodily harm threatened, so my husband was able to travel with me. It really made me take this experiment in a more serious light and I realized that there was more to this than just changing stereotypes about hunters; it was important to show how much we do help the conservation for the animals we hunt. These people are out, daily, working to take away our rights as hunters and gun owners. They see the two going hand-in-hand, if it’s harder for us to acquire guns, then it’s harder for us to hunt. Some of the things I witnessed were absolutely astonishing to me; their way of thinking is questionable to say the least. I did meet a few vegans who understood the point I was trying to make: we can live these different lives without harassing or threatening one another, but most did not see it as that. We are murderers in their eyes and animals need to just run rampant and free on this earth. There were things that I actually agreed with on the vegan’s side, most pertaining to the treatment of animals in entertainment situations, but there were so many things that I just could not wrap my head around.
What did I learn? I can promise I will never be a vegan; their food is not appetizing to me in the least. The most important lesson learned through this experience is that we need to stand together as hunters. The hunting world is becoming such a money market these days, in my opinion, and it is tearing us apart. If we don’t work together to continue this wonderful legacy it will be taken from us, albeit slowly, it will be taken away and our future generations will not know the feeling of being able to provide wild game for their own families. We must show a united front and support each other instead of fighting over “right” and “wrong”, I am a meat hunter and the size of the antlers means little to me, but that doesn’t mean I’m unethical. As long as we are making the most of the animal, respecting the laws, and doing our part to conserve their habitats then we are doing what is right. I hope you are able to see the show which airs on August 6th on Lifetime at 10/9 central. I hope I represent the hunting industry in a respectable light and I make you proud.