Photo Credit: Becky Schweitzer
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hunting. Whether it was as a little boy with my Dad, Uncles, and siblings or with my own children in these later years; hunting has been a part of my life. I know it’s the same for many across North Dakota.
So, when I read a recent Letter to the Editor from a Moorhead, Minnesota resident criticizing The Forum for publishing an article that featured a successful young North Dakota elk hunter , I could do little more than shake my head.
While I don’t know the author’s background, I suppose I have to cut her some slack. It’s obvious from her own words that she’s not from the area. And after admitting as much, she said upon moving to the Fargo area it was “painfully obvious that a significant majority of citizens either hunt for sport or turn a blind eye to those who do”.
You’d think that with such a recognition on her part of the strong hunting tradition of the area, that she would expect articles featuring hunters in local newspapers. But apparently this defender against such an “abhorrent act” just doesn’t get it. In her words, “I am disgusted at having her story front and center in my newspaper. It belongs in a ‘Outdoorsmen’ magazine or a Scheels hunting ad.”
Newspaper content is much like anything else in a market environment– it’s driven by interest and demand. One would likely not expect such an article in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or a myriad of other places across the country. But this is North Dakota. We hunt here. And yes, we even like to read about it too– with accompanying pictures.
Yet, the fact that a young hunter’s successful elk hunt appeared in The Forum is admittedly secondary to this anti-hunter. In her closing paragraph, she writes; “My primary issues are twofold: killing animals in their own environment and the character of people who do so, and for sport, no less. Shame on you.”
With such a stance, there’s really no point in arguing with such a person. Making the case for the benefits of hunting would only fall on deaf ears. Even pointing out her mischaracterization of this young hunter as killing “for sport, no less” would be fruitless.
But there is one message I would pass on– if given the opportunity. That message is this… the great thing about America is that we not only have the right to voice our opinions (which she’s done), but we have the right to do business elsewhere too. If you just can’t stomach such articles in The Forum, then don’t read them. Find your news somewhere else. And if you truly can’t stomach living and working amongst the hunters who carry out these “abhorrent” acts, then you’re also free to find a home and employment somewhere more suitable to a person with your views. But when you’re following issues relating to North Dakota, expect us to be… well… North Dakotan– regardless of how “disgusted” and “appalled” you are by such things.
On a more positive note… congratulations from The Minuteman to Becky Schweitzer of Minot for successfully filling her once-in-a-lifetime North Dakota elk tag by harvesting a great 5×5 bull. Becky also bagged a 4×5 whitetail buck last fall. We welcome her story and pictures any time– regardless of how anti-hunting zealots feel about it.