BY RICHARD T. CHEATHAM, DSC FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
You may have seen the news reports about a gentleman from North Texas, who recently purchased a markhor hunt in Pakistan, and harvested a great ram. The DSC Life Member did a nice job of explaining the hunt, and setting out the benefits that his hunt provided. Approximately 80 percent of the money he paid goes to the community where the animal was shot. The rest of it goes to protect and conserve markhors and other Pakistani wildlife in general.
Nothing about this story can be legitimately used (key word – legitimately) to controvert or dispute the conservation and community benefits that flow directly from an uncommon and highly-regulated markhor hunt.
One would think that a positive story such of this would be well received by the public. It is, after all, a window into a remarkable conservation success story, one in which DSC played a role.
In some areas, the reporting was arguably free of bias. Apparently, many outlets simply took a wire report, changed a few words and claimed it as their own work – there are too many consistently used phrases for there to be any other reasonable explanation. It doesn’t excuse the furtherance of the bias in the original work, but it helps to understand its apparent acceptance as truth.
The bigger story on this news coverage is the subtle, but clearly intentionally efforts to debase and demean international hunting – even in a story that simply cannot be interpreted any way other than as a perfect example of the value of international hunting.
For example, the headline of the story that ran in the Dallas Morning News reads, “Dallas banking executive paid $110,000 to hunt down rare mountain goat in Pakistan.”
Hunt down? Who describes a hunt for wildlife like that? Furthermore, that writer states that “hunting wild Astore markhors is illegal in Pakistan but the government allows trophy hunting for a fee.” If the government allows it, it isn’t illegal.
The Fox News version of the story dripped with judgment, claiming that “the high price of the hunting permit hides Pakistan’s way of preserving the rare species and promoting tourism.” How does the cost of a permit hide anything? Could it be that the media’s unfamiliarity with the system used in Pakistan (and Tajikistan and dozens of other countries) stems more from laziness, disinterest or an unwillingness to tell a story that might actually shed positive light on international hunting?
These versions of a positive hunting news remind us of what we are up against. We must hone, tell, refine and repeat our message. Then we must do it again and again and again. DSC and DSC Foundation understand the need for compelling, accurate and relevant messages that tell the story of the benefits of hunting. What’s more, we understand the urgency of that need.
Join us, add your thoughts, and support our efforts by donating to our campaign.
Go to www.dscf.org to see how you can contribute.