Every cause has its advocates, and more than 500 causes have awareness ribbons. They range from pink for breast cancer to black for those lost in the September 11th attacks. And now we have an orange camouflage awareness ribbon for hunting.
Before you respond that the idea is trivial, think about this. If hunting’s opponents succeed at ending hunting, wildlife would face enormous tragedy. Hunting is the chief mechanism for wildlife conservation in North America and hunters are wildlife’s chief benefactors, but few people know the truth about hunting. In our increasingly urbanized society, people need to become aware of the positive benefits of hunting.
Hunting not only diminishes animal suffering, without hunting wildlife would far less abundant and accessible than it is today. Regulated hunting has never harmed a species. In fact, all the evidence is that we would have less wildlife in North America without hunting.
That means people who fight against hunting are actually fighting against the most successful wildlife management policies ever created. So John Annoni came up with a hunting awareness ribbon in order to draw more attention to the truth about hunting. Annoni is no stereotypical hunter. He’s a black man teaching school in the inner city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and founded Camp Compass Academy in 1994 (www.CampCompass.org) to introduce his students to the value and meaning of hunting.
Annoni can teach his kids the truth about hunting, but everyone needs to know because what people often read and hear in the media is untrue. So I asked Annoni a few questions to find out what’s behind this whole idea of an awareness ribbon for hunting.
Why does hunting need an awareness ribbon?
“Hunting needs help right now—and no one is going to help but hunters. Our numbers are diminishing and society’s views of hunting play a part in the decrease. Hunters are often depicted in the media as blood thirsty, but hunters care—beyond the trigger squeeze—for other people, animals and land. The ribbon is a way to display unity and change opinions. Our mission is to increase accessibility for hunting education, to improve the image of hunting, and to grow and unify its diverse participants.”
What are some reactions you’ve received because of the hunting awareness ribbon?
“This is a grassroots push, but we have already aligned with hunting businesses and individuals who want to ignite this message of unity in areas we as a charity don’t have the capital to reach. It enables businesses and supporters across the country to visually show who really cares.”
Have you received any negative feedback from the hunting awareness ribbon campaign?
“The few who have been negative are simply misinformed and don’t take the time to collect facts before judgment. Oddly, we have even been called an anti-hunting campaign in disguise—where that comes from is beyond me! We invite ALL that have any stake in hunting to participate.”
Has the hunting awareness ribbon caused any unexpected responses?
“It has opened up many unexpected dialogues about hunting, even in non-hunting areas. It allows hunters to be viewed in a positive light like never before. I was recently stopped by a Philadelphia policeman for a small infraction—and he asked about the ribbon.”
What other comments do you want to make about the hunting awareness ribbon?
“We at Camp Compass are excited to have you interested in this awareness effort. This call-to-action campaign asks everyone to come to the table to join other hunters, hunting organizations and hunting businesses in wearing an orange camouflage ribbon.”
A hunting awareness ribbon is a small way do something big. Proceeds fund youth services through the Camp Compass Academy, and offer individuals, clubs, companies, or other organizations the opportunity to fund America’s future expansion of our youth hunting and shooting activities across the United States. Purchase up to 50 ribbons for $5 each, and more than 50 for $2.50 each. The discount is a great way to raise money for your own hunting programs and tie them to the Hunting Awareness campaign. Go to www.HuntingAwareness.com for more information and to get on board now!
When “The Everyday Hunter” isn’t hunting, he’s thinking about hunting, writing about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, or wishing he were hunting. Contact him at EverydayHunter@gmail.com, and read more of his thoughts about hunting at www.jamestowngazette.com.