Mackenthun: The role of social media is a hot topic | Local sports

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A recent family split within a prominent outdoor media conglomerate’s podcast on the topic of the role of social media in hunting has been a source of controversy ahead of the holiday season being discussed in some remote areas. of Internet hunting.

The podcast hosts touched on many topics during the heated discussion, including the overcrowding of hunting on public lands (and its link to social media), portraying the entirety of the hunting experience with or without editing (in mainstream and social media) and recruiting, retention and reactivation efforts and whether they are really needed nationwide or in localized locations.

However, the most polarizing discussion has revolved around the use of social media by hosts and others.

The lawsuit was the role of social media in the hunt, with one party vehemently and stubbornly convinced that social media was just problems. The other attempted to justify the redemptive value of social media, or at least to argue that it is a modern media format comparable in many ways to earlier versions.

My summary above fails to fully articulate the direction and facets of each argument in a nearly hour-long discussion, but gives you a little taste. As suggested in the podcast’s introduction, it probably made for a rough vacation in the Rinella House.

Lost in the whole discussion, I got the impression that a rational conversation about the motivations for hunting and angling, as one of the arguments presented was that social media feeds the motivation to mainly hunt. to boast and publish photos of harvested game, thus a distortion of hunting motivations traditions and a bad message to non-hunters.

The argument is that you have to kill in order to “get photos for (Instagram)”.

The area of ​​the human dimensions of fishing and wildlife is uniquely placed to answer questions about the motivations for hunting and angling. In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources occasionally partners with the University of Minnesota’s Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Unit to survey hunters and anglers on their behavior, preferences and preferences. motivations.

For about 20 years, various surveys have been carried out and information compiled by Drs. Sue Schroeder and / or David Fulton.

Previous polls that specifically ask questions about motivations are informative. In Schroeder’s 2014 study of the participation and activities of trout fishermen in Southeast Minnesota, respondents’ greatest motivation was to enjoy nature and the outdoors and then relax, to be in a calm and peaceful place, to get away from the crowds and to fish in a wild environment.

Of the 32 motivations listed, catching trout was 10th, catching a trophy trout was 24th, catching your trout limit was 30th and competing with friends who fish for trout was 31st.

In “Fishing in Minnesota: A Study of Anglers’ Participation and Activities in 2005,” Schroeder and Fulton find similar motivations nearly a decade earlier.

The main motivations, out of 28 possibilities, for fishing in Minnesota were to enjoy nature and the great outdoors, then relax, be in a quiet and peaceful place, do something with family, and relax. keep away from crowds.

Catching a trophy was 23rd, catching your limit 25th and competing with friends who fish was the 28th least cited motivation.

What about the hunting side? In Schroeder, Fulton, Lawrence and Cordts, “The 2005 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Season: A Study of the Views and Activities of Hunters,” 21 motivations were ranked.

Again, enjoying nature and the great outdoors was the most popular, followed by the good behavior of other waterfowl hunters, getting away from the crowds, hunting as a family and seeing lots of waterfowl.

Bagging ducks and geese was 17th and getting a limit was 20th.

Maybe it’s time to take a poll focused on social media and their role among hunters and anglers, especially as Gen Z or Centennials enter the outer space and social media grows. audience have been online for 10 to 15 years.

Social media use is unevenly stratified across generations, but I would be shocked if hunters or anglers listed social media likes and comments as a prominent reason for picking up the gun or fishing rod .

I think the discussion boils down to this: We all hunt and fish differently and for different reasons, which we need to recognize and respect.

But we must all be careful not to miss the multitude of many reasons for going out, which have been consistently identified as the main motivation for hunting or fishing for as long as man has been practicing these sports: to enjoy the time in nature, to enjoy time with family and friends, practicing our skills, feeding our families and nourishing our souls.

Social media may be the culmination of humanity, but bragging boards are nothing new. If social media becomes your only reason to go out, I pity you.

Some outliers may have bragging or posting on social media as the main motivation, but I don’t agree with the argument that the problem is common among the base of hunters and anglers. I suspect this will fall near the bottom of Motivations for most, an afterthought for the other major drivers.

As is the case with my personal social media – if tomorrow my accounts were out of likes, comments or shares, and all sort of following among family friends and complete strangers were gone, I would probably continue. to publish, if only for more than the convenience of multimedia hosting and the ability to revisit memories, not unlike the Polaroids of yore.

Without a doubt, there are downsides to social media, but there are plenty of positives to point out as well, a topic for a different date and time.

Scott Mackenthun has been writing about hunting and fishing since 2005. Email him at [email protected]


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