Although I think “Don’t read the comments” is good general life advice, we usually just can’t help ourselves. Social media in particular seems full of nothing but arguments these days, and few things get the keyboard warriors fired up more than a hunting photo—especially if the hunter is a woman. Before you know it, the comment section is filled with outrage, misinformation, slurs and death threats. You made one little comment correcting someone’s obvious lie about hunting and suddenly you’re embroiled in an argument. Now what?
You could continue to escalate and let the whole thing devolve into name-calling and lies, but what good does that do? Give into the fight and you’ve only sunk to the low-life’s level, and no one involved has any intention of changing their mind anyway. So you have two reasonable paths.
Option one: Walk away. Hit the “stop notifications for this post” button and never return, forgetting the whole thing. Maybe even delete your post so you can just forget about it. The urge to get the last word is strong, but if you can push through that and just leave the conversation, you’ll find this is the outcome that brings you the most peace.
Option two: Engage mindfully. Some people love to argue, and if that’s you, know that you will not change the mind of a rabid anti-hunter just like they won’t change yours. But the thing about the comment section is that you never know who else is reading and not commenting. Most people aren’t anti-hunting or pro-hunting—they’re just kind of neutral or never really give it much thought at all. Since plenty of those people will read anything you write, thoughtfully offering facts and gently correcting misconceptions can go a long way to spreading goodwill and presenting hunters as reasonable, responsible people. You won’t change an anti-hunter’s mind, but you just might sway a neutral party closer to our side, and you’ll never even know you did it.
You need facts, time and patience to pull this off. Don’t insult anyone, don’t give in to name calling, and stick to logic rather than emotions. Be exceedingly polite and professional, which is hard to do when no one else in the discussion seems to have any interest in logic or civility. Know when to walk away if the conversation is going in circles or you can’t stay polite anymore.
Also, although nearly all outraged commentors will keep things strictly online, there have been cases of individuals showing up at a huntress’s home or place of business to confront them about an online photo or argument that spilled over into real life. You want no part of this, so be aware of what your privacy settings are and back the heck out of any discussion that feels like it’s headed in a genuinely dangerous direction. This is the reason I always choose option one and decline to engage in these kinds of conversations online—and it’s just more peaceful that way. But if you choose to participate, take the advice in option two and stick to the facts and logic even if everyone else is slinging emotional nonsense. And know when it’s time to pull the plug!