Turkey hunting today is plagued with opinionated self-righteous snobbery about what is right, what is ethical, and what is fun. But there is nothing objective to it. It is just a cauldron of bubbling highbrow tradition, group think, and mythology stirred together. On this episode I cut through the junk that is destroying our sport to help people break away from the judgmental constrictions of our culture.
There are legal boundaries that frame the sport of turkey hunting, established by experts who have the birds’ best interests in mind. That gives us a strong framework to guide our hunting. Furthermore, we have some ethics established to help minimize animal suffering, maximize hunter safety, and ensure fair chase. But many of things people claim to be ethics are not, they are just simple opinions based on what they like, how they prefer to hunt, and how they want other people to follow their own protocols to make things better for them.
Sometimes people are just plain selfish and try to pressure others to abide by regulations that limit them so the selfish hunter doesn’t have to work as hard, or they can hunt in ways that would normally not be effective. Sometimes people have just been doing something a certain way for so long, they don’t want to see change. Other times new innovations come along, like TSS ammunition and people resist the innovation and the new capabilities that come with it and try to malign early adopters. They don’t want to hunt with tungsten ammo so no one should. And all of this gets pass off as “what makes a real turkey hunter”, or what is ethical, or perhaps unfounded rumors are started to dissuade people from experimenting with other strategies.
No matter how it happens, many people are ostracized, especially on the internet, when they don’t conform to the snobbish cultural turkey hunting norms. This podcast episode tackles this nonsense head on. I cover topics like how far is it ethical to shoot a turkey? Is TSS ammo wounding birds? Is it wrong to get pellets in the breast meat of a turkey? Is long range shooting really not fun? And why people think 101 things should be outlawed when it comes to turkey hunting.
Some of these things are simply senseless fabrications, others have data we point to in order to find clarity, and some are just garden variety opinions that have no merit and not of importance to anyone else. We need to stop shaming turkey hunters for having fun and hunting in the way they find most fun.