What is the public image of hunters?

The Importance of the Public Image of Hunters

No matter what the terms, celebrities and their publicists are pleased when sta­rs make the magazines and tabloids. Any news that draws attention can make box office sales a little more lucrative. After all, all publicity is good publicity, right? ­Well, here in the real world, it's not always so easy.

­As a rule, most publicity that highlights hunting tends to be negative. If hunters want to protect their sport and pastime, an image overhaul might not be such a bad idea. A mere 5 percent of Americans hunt, making hunters a small minority. With such a small demographic, pro-hunting groups will be sorely outnumbered when the fight of hunters vs. lobbyists picks up.

Anti-hunting organizations are growing not only in number, but in funding as well. In 2004, these activist groups raised about $290 million [source: Swan]. They have many available resources and time to put together anti-hunting campaigns that hunters may not be able to counter. Don't count hunting advocates out though, as there are hunting/conservation groups working daily to defend and regulate their sport.

While the jury's still out across the nation regarding the ethics of hunting, it's clear there are practices that will continue to haunt hunters. The activities of hunters who participate in poaching, Internet hunting or heavy drinking while hunting bring negative attention to the already controversial sport. And anti-hunting organizations aren't going to let the actions of these less-than-angelic hunters go unnoticed.

PETA is probably the most widely known animal rights organization in action today. On the next page, find out how hunters face off against one of their biggest adversaries.