February 22, 2019

Mountain Pursuit Grades 19 Hunting Industry Instagram Accounts From the Perspective of the Non-Hunter, Develops Social Media Image Guidelines

By Mountain Pursuit

A report completed this week by Mountain Pursuit analyzed and graded hunting industry Instagram accounts perspective of the non-hunter.

The report, "Grading Hunting Industry Instagram Posts From the Perspective of the Non-Hunter" categorized and graded 1,660 images total from fifteen hunting companies and four hunting nonprofits.

As part of the analysis, Mountain Pursuit developed six hunting image categories and corresponding scoring system which rewarded "hunting experience" and "hunting preparation" images and punished "blood" and "gore" images.  Below are the hunting image categories and associated scoring:

Image Category           Points
Hunt Experience             10
Hunt Preparation              8
Dead Animal                    4
Trophy Image                  3
Blood                              2
Gore                               1

Using these categories and scoring, the first 100 Instagram images/posts for 15 hunting brands, and the first 40 Instagram images/posts from 4 hunting nonprofits were categorized, and and the hunting brand/nonprofit's Instagram account given an overall "Poor," "Average" or "Good" score.

Below are the cumulative scores for the hunting brands and hunting nonprofits graded in this study:

Other key findings from the report:

 

  • Overall, hunting companies and nonprofits are doing a reasonable job of representing hunting to non-hunters. Of the 1,660 Instagram images rated and scored in this report, 48% were rated in the highest scoring "Hunting Experience" category, and just 7.7% were rated in the lowest scoring "Gore" category.
  • GoHunt, Hoyt Archery and MeatEaterTV scored "Poor" or lowest in this study amongst Hunting Companies. Sitka Gear, Mystery Ranch and Kuiu scored "Good" or highest.
  • The Mule Deer Foundation scored "Poor" or lowest amongst the hunting nonprofits evaluated. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers scored "Good" or highest.
  • Overall, both hunting companies and hunting nonprofits can improve the portrayal of big game hunting to non-hunters by eliminating all "Gore" images from their social media accounts, including color field dressing, skinned and bloody skulls, and bloody pieces of game meat. As well, by avoiding posting any images which show blood, and shifting away from the typical "trophy" shots where the hunter is positioned behind the harvested animal and looking directly at the camera, they will greatly improve their overall social media image score and improve the portrayal of hunting to non-hunters.

Based on the report and it's findings, Mountain Pursuit recommends the following guidelines for all hunting industry social media image posting:

(1) Post no "gore" images or videos. "Gore" imagery includes kill shots, gutting, field dressing, stacks or rows of dead animals, bloody knives and bullets, fresh skinned skulls, etc. If the image is obscured and has a "sensitive content" warning, it should be immediately removed.

(2) Avoid all imagery that shows blood.

(3) Minimize or eliminate typical "Trophy" shots. These images position the hunter behind the animal, and have him or her looking directly at the camera. "Trophy" images portray the hunter as only concerned with his or her accomplishment, and not respectful of the animal he or she has harvested. While a strong majority (87%) support hunting for food, only 37% believe trophy hunting is acceptable.

(4) Replace typical "trophy" shots with images of the hunter looking at and admiring the harvested animal.

(5) Encourage imagery displaying hunt preparation including archery and firearm marksmanship practice, field scouting, fitness preparation, and gear preparation.

(6) Encourage imagery displaying the non-killing experience of the the hunt, including glassing, hiking, camping, natural wonder, stalking, hunter camaraderie, and camping.

(7) Post and advertise imagery guidelines, and carefully pre-screen any images submitted by posting by social media followers using the above criteria.

"The rating and grading system deployed in this report sees big game hunting imagery through the eyes of non-hunters," explained Rob Shaul, Mountain Pursuit founder and one of the report's authors. "The aim is not to grade hunting imagery for its marketing effectiveness in selling products and services to current hunters, but rather to grade the imagery's affect in influencing non-hunters' perception of hunting."

"While support for subsistence-based hunting remains strong amongst the non-hunting public," Shaul continued, "the number of hunters nationwide is shrinking significantly, while anti-hunting groups are growing. The hunting industry needs to be sensitive to this political reality, and use common sense and good taste when posting hunting images to social media accounts. We hope the hunting image grading, social media account scoring system, and hunting image posting recommendations we've developed here will guide hunting brands and nonprofits when deciding how to portray big game hunting to non-hunters."

Fore more information, email rob@mtnpursuit.org.

 

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About Mountain Pursuit - Mountain Pursuit is a western states hunting advocacy nonprofit which champions ethical hunting, license preference for resident hunters, conservation and new hunter education and recruitment. More at https://www.mtnpursuit.org/.

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