Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TV tonight: Hunter lives with PETA family

How often do hunters and antis really talk to each other?

Probably not that often. Typically, we fight our battles in public forums, whether it's chat rooms, blogs or newspapers. But tonight, an episode of FX's "30 Days" reality show series shows what happens when a North Carolina deer hunter moves in with a Los Angeles PETA-activist family for a month.

I don't know quite what to expect from the show, but I know the antis are blogging about it a LOT. Could have something to do with the widely circulated photo of the hunter - George Snedeker of Pittsboro, N.C. - in a chicken suit at a PETA protest of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He apparently was quite a good sport about the whole thing.

Snedeker told the the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer (click here for article) there were some "heated debates" during the 30 days, and it appears both the hunter and the family learned a lot about each other's positions.

Could this be a model for future discussion, future efforts to find common ground? I'm not so sure. I mean, I'm positive individual hunters and individual antis could have tons of fascinating conversations that would dissipate each side's stereotypes of the other.

And we do, in fact, share some common ground. Dr. James A. Swan lays it out in his 1995 book, In Defense of Hunting:

For several years, George LaPointe of the Louisiana fish and Game Department has been trying to get animal rights activists and fish and game managers together as part of the Proactive Strategies Project. Using skilled facilitators, LaPointe consistently finds considerable areas of agreement between prohunting and antihunting groups, one of these being the desire to see that no species of game animal goes extinct. Another is the need to stop poaching. A third is to reduce or prevent unnecessary suffering of animals.

But the bottom line is this: Hunters want to hunt, and antis want to end hunting. Me convincing an anti that I'm not cruel, stupid and driven by bloodlust (the hunter stereotype of choice for antis) and an anti convincing me that he or she is a perfectly reasonable person won't change that bottom line.

I'll continue to believe that the most important conversations we have - whether in person or online - are the ones with the people in the middle. And that's why I can't wait to see what happens in this show tonight. Will the show perpetuate the stereotypes antis use against us, like this nasty little preview in the Detriot News? Or will all of TV-watching America get to see another side of a hunter?

The hourlong show appears on FX twice tonight: at 10 and 11 p.m.

© Holly A. Heyser 2008


Phillip said...

I think I'll skip this one, as I do most of these kinds of shows... but it is an interesting idea.

In the long run, most folks will see it as just entertainment and any larger messages will be lost in the mix as viewers go on to the next hour of brain-deadening stupidity.

Not that I have anything against TV or anything...

Blessed said...

I'm not holding out much hope for a positive portrayal of hunting - it would be nice, but I'm doubtful.

I think you are right though - our most important conversations are with the people in the middle.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I also think that our most important conversations are with the people on the fence.

I, along with Phillip, will skip this program, because tv just doesn't do much for me, but it is an interesting idea to say the least.

I just don't have any hope that they will portray us in any different fashion then has been going on for a number of years.

Terry Scoville said...

This topic gets me riled up about as much as does the anti logging topic. The fact that hunters dollars for license purchases, contribute to the management and protection of wildlife.Without such there would not be the opportunities that we have currently. Nor would the antis be able to enjoy seeing such wildlife. Lets just put our hackles down and try to respect and get along without polarizing each others position. Haven't we learned that this doesn't work? Yes, meet in the middle.

sierraclubbsistah said...

As an environmentalist, I know it's done me some good to hang out with you and Boyfriend.
Your concern for minimizing the suffering of animals is evident, and it's also clear that you intend to use the animals you bag as fully (and deliciously!) as possible.
Not everyone needs to live with a hunter or a PETA member, but we do need to work together on getting the next generation off the video games and into the great outdoors!