Gorillas in the Myths
By Bob Humphrey
If you’re a regular reader, forgive me if my blogs seem a bit like rants, but isn’t that what a blog is for? Look at it this way: all the mundane how to, where to go and what to buy stuff gets sold to magazines and internet outlets. I save the real meat (stuff editors are too meek to publish) for you, my blogees. So without further ado, this week’s rant…
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a preponderance of short internet articles with titles like: Top 5 (or 10) Myths About (some aspect of hunting)? In general, I like these type articles, and have been guilty of penning a few myself. Being a scientist I enjoy dispelling misinformation, misunderstanding and mis-perception (which according to my spell checker is not actually a word). But much of what I’ve seen recently is…. reaching.
One definition of the word myth, according to Wikipedia is: “a widely held but false belief or idea.” In the past, authors would identify, some of the more common misconceptions, then dispel them with facts. That’s not how it’s done anymore. The so-called myths cited in recent efforts are hardly what one might consider widely held. Most I’ve never even heard of.
Instead, it seems as though the author started with five or 10 interesting facts that the average blue collar hunter might not know (but are common knowledge to most experienced deer hunters and all wildlife biologists), then fabricated myths that they could easily dispel with these facts. I can’t give you any specific examples without potentially offending one or more of my peers but if you Google “deer hunting myths” and look at anything published in the last couple years you’ll probably see what I’m talking about.
They’re easy to spot because the authors use words like only, never and always, as in: wounded deer never run up hill and always go to water, or rattling only works in Texas, or on small bucks, or in the morning. I think most deer hunters are smart enough to know that deer never always do anything. And the only certainty is their unpredictability. So please, stop it!
It may seem harmless to some and a petty point to others. After all, it is disseminating facts. And the facts used to dispel these non-existent myths are, for the most part, true and potentially beneficial to sportsmen, sportswomen and anything in between. But in this day and age when mainstream media have become largely a propaganda machine for one end or the other of the political spectrum, journalistic integrity is paramount. Creating previously non-existent myths just to make a point smacks of insincerity and misdirection – smoke and mirrors if you will. As outdoor writers we need to clean up our own ranks. Let’s first acknowledge, then get rid of the gorilla (or elephant, if you prefer) in the room.
To quote the folks at ESPN: “C’mon, Man!” Writers and editors: lots of the information presented is useful and beneficial. There’s no need to pour it into a bottle of Dr. Feelgood’s Magic Cure-all. Or as the character “Fletcher” said in The Outlaw Josey Wales, “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”