First of all, I want to thank everyone who is watching, and enjoying, MacMillan River Adventures. It is because of you guys that the show is enjoying enormous ratings success. The large number of Shawn’s fans that have supported him in his new world of “Outdoor Television” has proved that his fan base is loyal, broad, passionate and open-minded! I have read hundreds of e-mails and tweets from Shawn Michaels’ fans, hunters and non-hunters alike, who have been supportive and willing to learn about something that may be new to them. The negative comments, and there have been darn few of those, have come from HUNTERS themselves.
Let me give you and example: Last Sunday, FOX News Channel ran a story on, “Shawn Michaels, MacMillan River Adventures” on their web site. It was very positive and received an enormous amount of, “main stream” hits! Shawn talked about his love for hunting and how he was proud that he and his family lived a hunting lifestyle, which included, “eating what they killed.” It was very pro-hunting to say the least. Shawn is recognized as being SO PRO-HUNTING that the dimwit organization, PETA, compared Shawn to serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.
Due to Shawn’s huge celebrity, he had been able to positively promote hunting to a huge mainstream audience. Other than Ted Nugent, no one in the outdoor industry could have possibly gotten such a positive pro-hunting message to so many people at one time. Shawn’s fans took exception to him being compared to a serial killer and bombarded the PETA web site, shutting is down temporally. Did I mention that Shawn’s fans were loyal and passionate?
So, other than PETA and other anti-hunting groups, who could be upset at that article? Well, shortly after the piece ran, I received a phone call from a guy, let’s call him “Dan” who hosts an outdoor hunting and travel show on some mid-western radio station. Dan said that he had received “over 300 e-mails” complaining that Shawn was a poor representative of hunting because he had made some “negative” comments about hunting in the FOX News article. First of all, I questioned that he had gotten “300” e-mails at all as the piece had just ran. Then I asked him what did Shawn say that was negative towards hunting. To which he answered that Shawn had said, “that there was more to hunting than just setting in a tree stand and waiting for a deer to come by.” I was taken back, and asked Dan if he read what came after that line and did he not understand that Shawn was pointing out that hunting is a lifestyle, a spiritual experience that is much bigger than the act of “hunting” or “killing”. Missing my point and the beautiful meaning of the article in total, Dan said that based on the article, Shawn was clearly opposed to tree stand hunting and that was offensive to tree stand hunters. He asked me how he was supposed to respond to those critics that felt Shawn had done a disservice to “hunting.”
So I told him that if it were up to me, I would photo copy a picture of my middle finger and send it to them! As that was not satisfactory to Dan I pointed out to Dan that I had personally witnessed Shawn hunt from a tree stand many times and that one of our top sponsors was the greatest tree stand manufacture on the planet, “Gorilla Tree Stands!” And I also forcefully pointed out that the picture accompanying the article shows Shawn hunting from, you guessed it, a tree stand! Undaunted, Dan said that from now on Shawn needed to be, “more careful how he portrayed hunting.”
Unfortunately, Dan is far too representative of the outdoor industry. I have often said that hunting and the other outdoor sports will not be destroyed by PETA, The Humane Society of the United States, or other anti-common sense and anti-hunting organizations. If we ever lose this perfect lifestyle, it will be because of in fighting amongst ourselves.
It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear gun hunters fighting with bow hunters. Compound bow hunters at odds with cross bow hunters. Black powder hunters fighting with rifle hunters. Traditional archers throwing stones at modern high tech compound bows. How about the squabbles over high fence hunting or baiting? All of it is ridiculous because every thing I just listed is “HUNTING” at one level or another. To me, if it is legal, and done ethically, I’m all for it and will support it even if it is not how I personally do it.
Also, instead of looking for the negative in what other hunters say or do, like Dan and his “300” e-mails, we should be supportive of each other at ALL times. To me, Charleston Heston said it perfectly when he said, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me!”
So, I think that there are some in the “traditional hunting community” that could learn from the fans of, “The ShowStopper” and be not only passionate but loyal. If we ALL stick together and send the aforementioned photo copies to PETA and all the other anti-hunters, our kids and grand kids will get to enjoy the perfect hunting lifestyle that we live and love.
I hope you keep watching as Shawn and I promise to keep the adventures coming!