Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a young hunter makes a successful, legal and ethical kill in Michigan, and anti-hunters come out of the woodwork to bully, threaten and harass the young hunter online.
It happened last year when a young lady successfully hunted a bear in the Upper Peninsula, and it just happened again this week when an 11-year old boy successfully hunted an albino buck. For the record, that is legal in Michigan. Has been since 2008.
According to the story in the Livingston Daily, sixth-grader Gavin Dingman connected on a 12-point albino buck with a crossbow, his second deer after getting a six-point last year. And, according to the story, he and his dad showed great ethics when his dad made sure he was confident he could make the shot before he took it.
“We don’t want to injure it,” his dad told him. Gavin didn’t. “I double-lunged it,” he said.
Gavin Dingman with his buck. Photo from Livingston Daily (family photo)
You’d hope this could be a great story about a good hunt, but that’s not the world we live in anymore. As is so often the case, the animal rights nuts come out of the woodwork (but not out of their parents’ basements) to make bullying, insulting, threatening and flatly inaccurate comments directed toward the young hunter – all from behind the safety of their computer screen, of course. (I’m also writing this from my computer screen, but my office is located at 2101 Wood Street in Lansing if any anti-hunters would like to discuss this in person).
On Mike Avery’s Facebook page, Mike shared a particularly vile threat made by a self-described “humorist” in New York, Peter Gerstenzang, who wrote on Twitter, “@AveryOutdoors Mike. Regarding Gavin Dingman. ____ You! Hey, guns are really nutritious. Put yours in your mouth. Pull trigger.” You can guess what was in the blank space, which Mike thoughtfully redacted.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. On comments at the end of different online news outlets which have carried this story, you can gems like this from D.Nascarela: “Why don’t they mount the father & sons head on the wall,” along with the usual assortment of “murderer,” and “sociopath.”
Michigan United Conservation Clubs passed a resolution this summer to try to combat this growing wave of cyber hunter harassment. Our members unanimously passed a resolution to strengthen cyber-bullying and hunter harassment laws so that future young hunters aren’t subjected to these threats and vitriol.
The fact of the matter is that a young hunter learned the cycle of life and death and the importance of taking ethical shots through the practice of hunting, which our species has been doing for 2 million years, before we even fully developed into modern homo sapiens.
Gavin is part of that 2 million year-old fraternity of hunters. I hope he is proud of that and is not discouraged by the internet trolls who think that meat comes shrink-wrapped from the grocery store. But he also learned that anti-hunters have no limit to their hatred for our timeless pursuit; this may be the new status quo, and we will have to fight to protect our rights to hunt, fish and trap.
Congratulations on a great buck, Gavin.