Donnie Vincent on Who We Are
As a follow up to yesterday’s post about the representation of hunters and hunting in media, I thought I’d share this shorter post today.
As hunters we are always trying to find more thoughtful and effective ways to articulate what we do, why we do it, and maybe most importantly, what it means to us. It’s a difficult task – words rarely do it justice, photos are sometimes misconstrued, public images can be manipulated and stereotyped.
I came across Donnie Vincent a number of months ago and have been following his films closely. He’s released two full length films, and I’ve watched them both multiple times. He’s also released a series of short films. This one does a wonderful job of showing the depth with which hunters think about and experience in the natural world and our place in it. Donnie poignantly explains to viewers the simultaneous simplicity and profundity in hunting. I think the mood portrayed through his films is the closest I’ve seen media come to accurately encapsulating how we see things in our own minds when we think about what we do.
This film was excellent… and then some fool goes and shoots a lion over bait… or, as in Idaho, hunters thinking of themselves and not the overall ecosystem vote to cull wolves mainly because hunters want to take more elk–and then in circular logic pat themselves on the back for controlling the elk population. And then a bunch of other yahoos, under the pretext of hunting, join the NRA and advocate for weapons that have no ethical place in hunting. Etcetera. Hunters themselves are their own worst PR nightmares. If all of us hunted the way this guy hunts, we wouldn’t have many people lined up against hunting. In any event, we look forward to watching Vincent’s full-length movies.
You’ve definitely hit on some important issues there, and I definitely plan to talk about some of them in future posts. The issue of predator management and opinion among hunters is something I think and talk about often. I think it’s important to manage predator populations, just as we manage populations of other species, but at the same time, we really need an ecosystem understanding of the role of predators. We should have learned by now the dangers in dismissing the role of predators on the landscape (whether wolves, cougars, bears, etc.). The issue of which types of firearms people use for hunting is a tough one, because like you mention, once the legalities are sorted out it really comes down to personal ethics, and that’s something that’s impossible to homogenize. I always encourage people to take a really scientific approach to decisions about guns in hunting: is there a ballistic advantage that appears to make it dangerous, is it a technological advantage that seems unfair to the animal? Could someone make an argument that one of these advantages (or others) in fact make them a more ethical hunter? For example, people might tell me that a fancy sight on my bow is an unfair advantage. I say that it allows me to dial that sight to the exact yardage that I find an animal from me, thus ensuring that my shot is placed as perfectly as possible, an important ethical principle of mine. But opinions differ, and I think it’s just important for us to honestly differentiate between opinion and fact, and react to each accordingly.
Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate the feedback. Definitely check out Donnie’s other films. They’re wonderful!