Sharing Your Joy – Say, “Cheese”, But Not, “Cheesy”

August 23, 2016

People have been sharing pictures of their successful hunts since the earliest bloggers sketched stick figures on cave walls.  Hunting and art were both a little tougher back then.  Nowadays, you don’t even need basic skills with a burnt stick, since your telephone will take a digital photograph and post it to your virtual cave wall for the whole world to see…. and as best I can tell, all you have to do is say, “Phone, take a picture,” et, voila!  You’re practically Arny Freytag!

Of course, as you probably know, I certainly have no issue with posting success photos (hero shots, grip-n-grins, whatever you want to call them).  I’ve certainly posted enough of that kind of thing here on the Hog Blog, as well as on Facebook.  I share my own (when I have them), and I sometimes post photos from friends and readers.  I think it’s a great way to share your excitement and the joy of success with fellow hunters.


At risk of falling into the Cult of Inoffensiveness, I do want to suggest that folks take a critical look at the photos you’re about to share.  Think about the story it tells.  Consider that when someone else looks at your photographs, you’re not there to tell the tale yourself, so everything rests on the thousand words the viewer takes away from that image.

I’ve posted on this before (here), but with hunting seasons already underway, I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more pictures on our feeds over the coming weeks and months.  It also comes to mind in the light of the Josh Bowmar fiasco.

Haven’t heard of that one?  Bowmar was hunting bears up in Canada, and decided to kill his bear with a spear.  I don’t know the regs, but it appears to have been a completely legal option (although in light of the outcry, Alberta is considering a ban on spear hunting).  From an ethical perspective, while most people probably don’t have the skills to heave a spear accurately at game, Bowmar appears to have practiced a good bit, and his shot was good.  Beyond that, I can’t see where a razor sharp spear is any less lethal or humane than a broadhead.  From a technical perspective, it actually seems much more effective.

Not only did he want to kill the bear with the spear, but he wanted to get it all on video… and then share that video on the World Wide Web.  I think this is where he went wrong, at least in the eyes of the general public.  To begin with, he’s killing an animal with an extremely primitive-looking weapon.  Most non-hunters don’t understand how weapons kill, and to many, primitive means “ineffective”.  It seemed brutish and cruel.

But what I think really got to people was his reaction on hitting the bear with the spear.  It was, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty over-the-top.  Maybe he was genuinely, uncontrollably excited, or maybe he was hamming for the camera.  Either way, he came off looking like a total ass.  Let’s be clear here, I’m not saying he was a total ass, but that’s how he came across to many viewers.  And that’s my point.

Once the picture (or video) leaves your direct control, then you no longer have the ability to speak to it or to manage who sees it.  It’s a lot like firing a bullet.  Once you pull the trigger (or click Submit), it’s too late to call it back.

So, as we all go out this season with our cameras or phones or burnt sticks, keep a few things in mind.  Here are some general suggestions:

  • Keep it clean(ish).
    • Wipe up excess blood, and avoid sharing extremely gory images with the general public.
    • Put the animal’s tongue back in its mouth if it’s hanging out.
  • Show some respect.
    • You don’t have to be crying or praying over the animal, but there’s no need to share your victory dance with the world.
    • I would avoid the too-common “ride the pony” pose (sitting astride the recently deceased beast), and just kneel or sit beside the animal.
    • And for heaven’s sake, don’t pose the animal in sexual or demeaning ways.
  • Tag your animal.
    • Most states require immediately tagging a big game animal.  It’s easy to forget this step before jumping into photos, and while it probably doesn’t hurt anything in the moment, remember that viewers are only going to see an untagged animal.  It gives a bad impression, and can potentially lead to a visit from a game warden.

Most of us don’t have professional sponsorships to lose, and I realize that some folks will never be satisfied with any hunting photo, so you may be thinking, “what the hell difference does it make?”

Truthfully, it probably doesn’t make a huge difference for most of us.  But sometimes, it’s just the little things we do, and people we don’t even know take notice.  It’s not that hard to take good, quality, respectful photos and video.  Why not just do it?

And hey, if you want to be “funny” for your buds, go ahead.  Just don’t share those private moments with the world.







5 Responses to “Sharing Your Joy – Say, “Cheese”, But Not, “Cheesy””

  1. Sharing Your Joy – Say, “Cheese”, But Not, “Cheesy” | on August 23rd, 2016 19:58

    […] Sharing Your Joy – Say, “Cheese”, But Not, “Cheesy” […]

  2. JAC on August 24th, 2016 20:20

    It’s impossible to argue with you when you’re right. These are points which should be taken to heart.

  3. Al Quackenbush on August 30th, 2016 11:12

    We have been having this discussion out here and came to the same conclusion. Almost exactly. Great write up, Phillip.

  4. Robb on October 2nd, 2016 19:35

    I too saw that vid,,,, once. You put it very tactfully.

    One thing I’ve been doing with carcass hero shots is sending them via blind CC on email. On facebook I just have shots of packing out or the butchering when it reaches the kitchen sink phase and meat looks like what you get at the store. I like the grip and grins, it’s a time of great joy, I’m positive not all my friends see it similarly.

  5. Phillip on October 17th, 2016 14:38

    Robb, I think that’s a good idea, generally… especially on Facebook where you’ve got a mixed audience. I can’t say I’ve completely changed my own behavior, although I do find that I dispense with the hero shots more often than not these days. I still tend to the strongly unapologetic in regards to what I post, but I do try to be sensible and a little sensitive.