The use of embedded cameras, called GoPro, has become popular in almost all sports, including outdoor. Undoubtedly hunting has not escaped this trend and the debate rages between the advocates of the use of these cameras and those who see there a risk in terms of hunting safety.
Beyond the security aspects, there is a fundamental question:
is hunting a sport like any other?
Historically, hunting, like fishing and gathering, are so-called predation activities. In other words, activities for the acquisition, harvesting of elements of flora or fauna aimed at satisfying primitive food needs. Considered in public opinion as activities of “nature”, the ministry of sports attributes, however, a sporting
character to the activities of predation. Some also argue that we are facing sporting activities as they present social and cultural issues that are accompanied by conflicts of use involving sports users of nature. A new image of hunting takes shape, that of a leisure practiced as a sport codified by the fair play towards the animal.
Different motivations according to the sociological profile of the hunter
If we place ourselves on the side of the practitioners it is interesting to confront the visions of each one as to the sportive nature or not the activities of predation.
A study was also conducted by Julien FUCHS and Frédérick GUYON in 2013 (Saying sporting in predation practices in France) to practitioners of predation activities. In particular, it revealed that 40% spontaneously define their practice of predation as sporting.
As far as hunting is concerned, this study reveals two different profiles of hunters:
The non-sporting hunter
It is an urban hunter, from an average socio-professional category. His hunting experience is often recent (less than 15 years). For him hunting is above all a physical expense and he is anxious to preserve natural resources.
The sports fighter
This hunter there is a rural hunter. His hunting experience is much more important (at least 15 years). According to him, the hunter is above all a consumer predator in search of a certain authenticity, even able to go as far as the use of the primitive symbolism that manages to survive in nature.
More urban hunters (who are also commonly referred to as “neo-rural”), who often represent new hunters, would therefore tend not to be animated by this sporting aspect of hunting as opposed to rural hunters. The sporting character of the hunting will reveal itself in particular through the attitudes and the gestures of the hunter (technical skills, sophisticated equipment). The quest for performance is also at the heart of the hunters’ convictions, such as hunting trophies.
We can, however, qualify these conclusions. In our view, older hunters will clearly distinguish between hunting and sport. Young people, on the other hand, will tend to view hunting as a sport in order to distinguish themselves from hunting practices that are far from their own perceptions: hunting, or bourgeois hunting.
Sports hunting, an attempt to justify the activity?
Apart from these notable sociological differences among hunters, the creation of an image of the sporting hunter could express the necessities of adaptation to the new conditions of the practice. The restriction of Sunday hunting, for example, allows hunters to practice only in the morning and to book their afternoon to their families. If one goes in this direction, the hunt becomes the “leisure of Sunday morning”. As another example, it is clear that the knowledge of the spaces is less thorough in the hunters of today. The wood, the plain tend to become the equivalent of a sports field, simple support of an activity.
Although formerly hunting was the peasant hobby par excellence, it is now part of a complementary or competing set of activities.
We are thus witnessing an attempt to justify the activity: an activity within a natural framework, with respect to other outdoor practices, and above all a good way to keep fit.
The elaboration of a new discourse on the justification of hunting and the constitution of a new representation of the practice which makes the hunter a sportsman respectful of the natural environments and concerned with fair play with his fellow hunters and its “prey” may also appear as a response to criticism of traditional, often stigmatized, traditional hunting.
So hunting, sporting or not? Everything depends on what the hunter is looking for, what he finds there and his own evolution. Often hunting will be considered as “sporting leisure”.
In a logic of legitimation of the practice, the approach sports assumed is not it an interesting way to dig?