Utter ridiculousness…that’s what I call it. Unnecessary commercialism at the very least.
When a fellow outdoors communicator recently wrote the following piece it left me shaking my head. Not in disbelief, but rather, in disgust that seemingly everything to the outdoors has to be tied to some product these days. Here’s what I’m talking about:
“7 Upland Essentials for Female Hunters”
Honestly, there wasn’t one item in that list that was truly “essential” to being a hunter—whether male or female. Now, I get it when you can afford to hunt with nice equipment that is a luxury to be thoroughly enjoyed. Yet, when you create a laundry list of accessories and pawn them off as being critical equipment that is a completely different subject.
To be perfectly clear there is only one piece of equipment necessary to call yourself an uplands hunter and that would be a shotgun. And technically speaking, even that is not “critical” as many falconers will tell you.
The point is articles like this one, in my opinion, do a big disservice to hunting. It lists over $900 of equipment that some might perceive to be a barrier to taking up the sport. Honestly, if your perspective was someone coming into the sport and you read that laundry list it would not inspire you to take up a sport…quite the opposite, it would discourage you.
Hell, if you were taking up the sport of upland bird hunting you could buy all this gear and you would still need to invest in a gun. Hunting is not about equipment. Oh, sure, when you have nice equipment it can make it easier and perhaps even inspire confidence for some individuals, but the truth is very little equipment in hunting is necessary.
It is not shameful to hunt upland birds in blue jeans and tennis shoes. I’ve done it before. Is it always practical or even most comfortable…no, but that isn’t the point. A person should enjoy the sport of hunting not for the designer clothing they wear. Certainly that can come down the road when your pockets are deeper and a hunter has some maturity under their belt. Yet, to call out certain items as “essential” and promote them as such is just plain wrong.
Maybe I am hung up on the word “essential,” but that was the author’s word not mine. I think it carries with it a very strong connotation that needs to be carefully considered when describing the outdoors experience.
In summation, outdoors communicators need to choose their words more carefully. When I read articles like the one in question it conjures up one thing in my mind…and it’s not a very pleasant thing. What I see is promotionalism that simply doesn’t need to be there. Providing a list of specific clothing items speaks to me how the author is somehow indebted to those manufacturers and is trying to pay them back for a favor with a mention. That may or may not be the case in reality, but that is my perception.
I’m certainly not saying it is wrong to like specific clothes or gear and to mention them as having great utility value in an article. I have done that and will likely do it many more times to come in writing this blog. What is wrong, however, is framing the entire article in such a manner as to set a high standard that truly is not necessary and then calling it “essential.” Every hunter who takes to the fields or forest should feel good about what they are doing and not feel inadequate by what they perhaps can’t afford to wear during the experience.