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Updated: Feb 9, 2022

I see that the topic of "tasteful" photography as it relates to hunting publications and social media is alive and well. It was a topic of discussion in the renaissance of hunting video production in the 90's; and today, is a big part of whether or not a social media post will be taken down.

The action of someone reporting a post that is considered distasteful will instantly illicit strong viewpoints about the sanitization of hunting, eating meat and ultimately our entire society. The online comments are predictable, and by now, really quite boring. I do, however, find it terribly interesting that we can consume tik tok videos of people talking unashamedly about their various bodily functions, but we cannot show blood that occurs when a hunt is successful.

On the other hand, I understand the cringe feeling of seeing graphic content. There's that part of me that worries what folks will think about that sort of thing. Will they become upset enough to report the post or the picture, will they be upset enough to contact their mla or policitcal representative? I imagine that the vast majority of those same people who become upset about such things, eat meat bought from a store, or wear leather, or somehow participate in the consumption of the byproducts of animals.

A friend recently commented that "we need to remember that something is on the receiving end of making food from animals". That statement was in the context of showing the field dressing of a mule deer in a video release. It is a very important remembrance.

An animal is always on the receiving end of making meat.

Folks purchasing their meat from a store, the tight and shiny parcel of pork ribs, have also participated in the gore and 'distasteful' process of removing the internal organs from an animal's body. They're far enough removed from the process though that the stink is not under their fingernails. So, it is alright to complain about a hunting photo posted. Having said all of this, perhaps it is ok too, if we don't show the rabbit with an arrow through it's head. Whose interest is that photo serving? I've performed that act many times over my life in the pursuit of rabbits with a bow. I don't need to see it again, nor do I feel that it is somehow such an important shot that it desperately needs to be displayed publicly. Except, if I wanted for some reason to extricate myself more quickly from the legality of hunting.

Here is my final take on the subject. As a hunter, being aware of an audience that perhaps needs to be brought gently into the topic of blood and guts, I typically refrain from the true reality of harvesting venison. Perhaps I'll post a picture of some blood, or the abstract shot of an antler or paw. I just can't seem to bring myself to show the truth of the situation. How weird is that?

The true value of showing the gore though, is that it can bring to focus the sombre feelings of taking an animal's life. Those feelings can, and do, increase the value and importance of venison and other game meat. It can make the action of trophy hunting seem silly and useless. It can bring us back to the grounded reality of death and harvesting meat for consumption. Perhaps there is a real value in creating awareness of the reality? We are indeed predators. Things need to die in order for us to live.

So, what do you think? Show the blood and guts or keep things on the down low? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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I've struggled a lot with the idea of this... whether to show the details of my hunts, including dead wild game. I was always inspired by Martin Picard in his restaurant, show, and book Au Pied de Cochon for how he unabashedly showed that what you're eating did in fact come from a live animal. Now that I'm in a situation where thousands of people are seeing my food, I ended up choosing a different direction. Many of the people who follow my page don't hunt and are uncomfortable with the thought of it. Will pictures of dead deer or piles of bloody geese entice them to try it out, or even lend a sympathetic ear? Probably not. Instead I…

John Schneider
John Schneider

It is indeed a complicated discussion. Thanks for sharing!

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